What is the franchise tag? Each NFL team can use a franchise tag on its best player between February 15th and March 1st every year.
Don’t have a clue what that means? Here are your franchise tag basics: Each team can "tag" 1 player with an expiring contract--that means they force him to stay for 1 additional year. He’s paid the greater of 120% of his previous salary or the average of the top 5 salaries for his position.
Why don't players want to stay? Players don’t like getting tagged because it keeps them from raking in all the $$$ they would get in free agency. Plus, they prefer the security of long-term deals. Fortunately, the tag only goes into effect after July 15, so there is still a chance that these players can get their teams to commit to longer-term contracts in the meantime.