The National Football League released their figures for franchise and transition player tenders on Monday. Let's take a look at those and how they apply to the Minnesota Vikings, even though our favorite football team will not be using either tag on any of their pending free agents. The franchise number is the average salary of the top five players at a given position, while the transition number is the average salary of the top ten players at that position.
|Position||Franchise Number||Transition Number|
|Quarterback||$18.51 million||$16.12 million|
|Running Back||$10.93 million||$9.02 million|
|Wide Receiver||$12.80 milion||$10.95 million|
|Tight End||$8.33 million||$7.057 million|
|Offensive Lineman||$12.92 million||$11.08 million|
|Defensive Tackle||$11.17 million||$9.30 million|
|Defensive End||$14.78 million||$11.94 million|
|Linebacker||$13.17 million||$11.04 million|
|Cornerback||$13.05 million||$11.06 million|
|Safety||$9.60 million||$8.25 million|
|Kicker/Punter||$4.12 million||$3.71 million|
The reason this is being presented is that the "Transition" figure also serves as the amount of the fifth-year option for the Top 10 picks in the 2012 NFL Draft. Offensive tackle Matt Kalil is one of those players, and the Vikings are going to have a pretty expensive decision to make on him in the very near future.
The Vikings have until 3 May. . .the day after the 2015 NFL Draft. . .to decide whether they want to pick up the fifth-year options on Kalil and safety Harrison Smith. I don't know what the figure on Smith's contract is going to look like (contracts for picks 11-32 in the first round are an average of the 4th through 25th-highest paid players at the position), but I'm going to go waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out on a limb and assume that the Vikings are going to pick that one up regardless of the number on it.
The Kalil situation, on the other hand, is a little trickier. He declined in 2013 and was flat-out awful for the better part of 2014, though he did come on towards the end of the season. If the Vikings pick up his option, they will owe him $11.08 million for 2016. The important thing to remember, however, is that the fifth-year option is only guaranteed in the case of injury. That means that, if the Vikings picked up the option on Kalil, they could still cut him without any sort of dead money hit unless he suffered such a serious injury in 2015 that he couldn't play in 2016, which is something that seems fairly unlikely.
I really don't have a read on it one way or the other, but if I had to venture a guess, I think the Vikings will go ahead and pick up Kalil's option when they pick up Smith's. If he gets himself back into form in 2015, they have him under contract for 2016 and can negotiate something long-term. If he continues to regress, then the team can still cut him without any issues. The fifth-year option basically gives the team all of the control, and in a case like Kalil's. . .where he's shown the potential to be very good but has had some struggles. . .there's the potential for things to go either way.