Here is a quick look at important upcoming dates on the NFL calendar:
March 2: Prior to 3 p.m. (CST) deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players .
March 7-10: Clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2014 contracts at 3:00 p.m. (CST) on March 10. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 3:00 p.m. (CST) on March 10.
March 10: Prior to 3 p.m. (CST), clubs must exercise options for 2015 on all players who have option clauses in their 2014 contracts.
March 10: Prior to 3 p.m. (CST), clubs must submit qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts and to whom they desire to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation.
March 10: Prior to 3 p.m. (CST), clubs must submit a Minimum Salary Tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2014 contracts and who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit.
March 10: All clubs must be under the 2015 salary cap prior to 3 p.m. (CST).
March 10: All 2014 player contracts expire at 3 p.m. (CST).
March 10: The 2015 league year and free agency period begins at 3 p.m. (CST). The first day of the 2015 league year will end at 10:59:59 p.m. (CST) on March 10. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the period between 3 p.m. (CST) and 10:59:59 p.m. (CST) on March 10.
March 10: Trading period for 2015 begins at 3 p.m. (CST) after expiration of all 2014 contracts.
Regarding Today's Deadline for the Franchise Tag...
Players are typically opposed to the use of the franchise tag, as it limits them to a one-year deal without future guarantees. The only time the Texans used the tag was in 2009 for CB Dunta Robinson. He reacted by sitting out through training camp before finally agreeing to the one-year tender of $9.957 million. When he took the field in Houston for the first regular season game against the visiting New York Jets, Robinson had "Pay Me, Rick" on the back of his game shoes. He was later fined $25,000 by the league for the uniform violation. The following season, he signed with the Atlanta Falcons, agreeing to a 6-year deal worth $54 million, including $22.5 million guaranteed.
Kareem Jackson is likely the only player who might be targeted for the franchise tag by the Texans, but it would cost the team $13.05 million for 2015. That's not an attractive cost for a Houston club that will have about $10 million under the cap (notwithstanding other roster or contract adjustments), so the team would be better off working a new contract for Jackson or letting him explore free agency.
There are 15 players who are potential free agents that the tag could be used on by the Texans by close of business today:
|PLAYER||Free Agent Status||POSITON||EST. TAG
|Tim Jamison||Unrestricted||Defensive End||$14.78|
|Derek Newton||Unrestricted||Offensive Lineman||$12.92|
|Ryan Pickett||Unrestricted||Defensive Tackle||$11.17|
|Damaris Johnson||Restricted||Wide Receiver||$12.80|
|Jerrell Powe||Restricted||Defensive Tackle||$11.17|
|Cody White||Restricted||Offensive Lineman||$12.92|
This NFL.com article provided a good explanation of the tags:
The exclusive franchise tag is a one-year tender offer to a player for an amount no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player's position, or 120 percent of the player's previous salary, whichever is greater. The player's team has all negotiating rights to the player.
The non-exclusive franchise tag is a one-year tender offer to a player for an amount no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player's position, or 120 percent of the player's previous salary, whichever is greater. The player can negotiate with other teams. The player's current team has the right to match any offer, or receive two first-round picks as compensation.
The transition tag is a one-year tender offer to a player for an amount that is the average of the top 10 salaries at the position. It guarantees the original club the right of first refusal to match any offer the player may receive from another team. The transition tag can only be used if the franchise tag is not used by a team in that year. Transition tags can be rescinded, but teams that rescind a transition tag cannot use it again until next season.
Only four teams used the tag in 2014: TE - Jimmy Graham (New Orleans), DE - Greg Hardy (Carolina), LB - Brian Orakpo (Washington), and K - Nick Folk (N.Y. Jets). Eight tags were applied in 2013 after a record of 21 players tagged in 2012.
Are there any Texans' players that you feel Houston should use the franchise tag on before the deadline today?