For the National Football League, the franchise tag is a tool for teams that don't want to lose out on their top expiring contract if the two sides are unable to strike a deal. On Tuesday, the exclusive window for teams to use the franchise tag in 2016 is now open.
And for the Buffalo Bills, left tackle Cordy Glenn is the main candidate for them to use that resource this offseason.
If the Bills were to use the franchise tag on Glenn, an upcoming unrestricted free agent as of March 9 at 4 pm, that would give the Bills, at the very least, the right of first refusal if another team tried to sign the left tackle to an offer sheet. By using the tag, they would have to declare it with one of three options:
- Exclusive rights, which gives the player a one-year guaranteed contract that is the average of the top five salaries of players at his position group. It is normally a higher number, but ensures that the player cannot speak with any other franchises and gives the original team exclusive negotiating rights until the following year.
- Non-exclusive rights, which gives the player a one-year guaranteed contract that is the average of the top five cap hits of players at his position group. It's a lower number than the exclusive franchise tag, but allows other teams to negotiate with the player and to sign him to an offer sheet, to which the original team can match. If the original team declines that option, they would receive two first-round draft picks as compensation.
- Transition tag, which gives the player a one-year guaranteed contract that is the average of the top 10 salaries of players at his position group. It's a lower number than the normal franchise tag, and gives the player's original team the right of first refusal if the player is signed to an offer sheet. If the player's original team does not match the offer sheet, they receive no compensation for losing the player.
Glenn, 26, is one of the most intriguing left tackles available on the free agent market this year and could draw som considerable interest from other teams if the Bills cannot re-sign him to a long-term extension. Since entering the league in 2012, Glenn has started 61 of 64 possible games for the Bills. He even started all 16 games in 2014, after having his kidney removed in that offseason before training camp.
If the Bills did use the franchise tag on him, Glenn would have a projected guaranteed one-year contract of over $13 million, according to Joel Corry of CBSSports.com.
The Bills have exactly two weeks to decide to use the franchise tag on Glenn, as the window closes at the end of the business day on Tuesday, March 1. If the Bills elect to not use it by that day, Glenn will be an unrestricted free agent on March 9 if no contract extension is agreed upon.