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Franchise tag window opens, Vikings again unlikely to use it

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It could be way too rich for Minnesota

Miami Dolphins v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the window opened for NFL teams to use the Franchise and Transition Player tags on any pending free agent they might like to retain. For the Minnesota Vikings, there are a couple of players that could, potentially, be candidates for the tag, but it would be a surprise if they used it for just the third time in franchise history.

The Vikings could opt to use the tag on either linebacker Anthony Barr or defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, but the value for a potential one-year deal for either of those two players would be a significant hit. . .likely significantly more than a potential long-term deal

To refresh everyone’s memory, here’s how each tag works:

  • The franchise tag is for the value of the top five contracts at that player’s position. If a team uses the exclusive franchise tag on a player, they can’t negotiate with other teams. If a team uses the non-exclusive franchise tag, that player can negotiate an offer sheet with another team. Should that player sign an offer sheet with another team, his former team has seven days to match it, and if they don’t match they receive two first-round picks in exchange. Of course, teams can work out a “sign and trade” agreement with another team for a lower price than the two #1 picks.
  • The transition tag is for the value of the top ten contracts at a player’s position. Players are allowed to negotiate and sign offer sheets from other teams. If an offer sheet is signed, the original team again has seven days to match, but if they choose not to match they receive no compensation.

For Barr, the value of the franchise tag would be $15,777,000, while the transition tag would be $13,267,000. Whether Barr re-signs with the Vikings or not, he’s not going to get anything approaching either of those figures on the open market.

For Richardson, the numbers are only slightly lower. . .$15,571,000 for the franchise tag and $12,287,000 for the transition tag. He likely wouldn’t see that sort of money on the open market, either.

The Vikings could sign tag either one of them in the hopes of negotiating a longer deal, but as soon as they signed the tender, the Vikings would, potentially, be on the hook for $15 million+ if they couldn’t work anything out with either player.

From everything I’ve been seeing, it sounds like Barr would be the more likely candidate for the tag if the Vikings were to use it. Perhaps the Vikings think it’s more likely that they can work a long-term deal with Richardson, who would be looking for his fourth team in four seasons if he left Minnesota. Richardson would probably cost a bit less than Barr, too.

The Vikings (and the 31 NFL teams that don’t matter as much) have until 5 March to decide whether or not they use the tag. Honestly, I’d be pretty surprised if it happened, but we’ll have to wait and see how things work out.