There is only one possibility: receiver Terrelle Pryor Sr. If the Browns don’t re-sign him before free agency, they would have $105 million in cap room to decide if they want to keep him with a franchise tag cost expected to be more than $15 million for one year. It’s not the preferred way to go, but the Browns would at least have the option.
The franchise tag pays a player close to market value for one year, but provides no future guarantees. The tag becomes an advantage if a player remains healthy and valuable enough that the team feels compelled to use it multiple times. The second tag is slotted at 120 percent of the first, and the third at 144 percent of the second.
How rarely do teams use the tag on the same player in consecutive years? It could come in the form of Eddie Lacy, who is headed toward free agency. The Packers are open to re-signing him for the right price, which is in the $2.5 million to $3 million range plus possibly incentives. But there’s always the chance someone will offer him a much bigger contract and lure him away.
It happens more often than you might think: 13 times since 1997, including twice since 2011 (Cleveland Browns place-kicker Phil Dawson and Dallas Cowboys linebacker Anthony Spencer).
It is much less common for skill players, however, and Cousins would be the first quarterback ever franchised in consecutive years. There have been only three skill players who have been tagged twice at any point in their careers: quarterbacks Drew Brees (2005, 2012) and Peyton Manning (2004, 2011) and receiver Rob Moore (1995, 1999).
Are some positions more susceptible to the franchise tag than others?