NFL Franchise Tags May Become Another Contentious Labor Issue
With the first date on which NFL clubs can place a franchise tag on a player now just nine days away, the question of whether teams can tag players for next season if no new CBA is in place could fuel a new fire in the ongoing labor battle between the league and players union. Teams typically can place a franchise tag on a player starting 22 days before the start of the league year. Drawing back from March 4, which would be the start of the new league year and when free agency typically begins, that would make Feb. 10 the date on which teams could start applying tags.
March 4 of this year, however, would also be the first day for the league and players without a CBA if the two sides cannot reach agreement on a new deal. The NFLPA has taken the position, sources said, that the NFL cannot tag players because the tag is a term and condition for employment under the next CBA, which has not yet been negotiated. NFL officials, in a press conference with reporters late last month, indicated that clubs will still be able to use the franchise tag on top players.