Julio Jones snagged a deep throw from Matt Ryan just past a Patriots defender’s reach, dragging his feet inbounds. He set the Falcons up inside the Patriots’ 25-yard line, put them in position to clinch their first-ever Super Bowl win with less than five minutes left in regulation … and put himself in contention for the greatest catch in NFL history, on the biggest stage and in the brightest spotlight.
It wasn’t even the greatest catch of the fourth quarter.
Non-exclusive tags are most commonly used. It means a team will pay the tagged player no less than the average of the five highest salaries at the player’s position, or 120 percent of the player’s cap number from the previous season, whichever is greater. The player is allowed to negotiate with other teams, but his current team can match any offer sheet. If a player’s current team declines to match another team’s offer, it will be awarded two first-round draft picks as compensation.
Exclusive tags are more rare. Only Broncos linebacker Von Miller (2016) and Saints quarterback Drew Brees (2012) have received the exclusive tag since 2012. The salary is calculated the same for players issued non-exclusive tags. The only difference is that the tagged player cannot negotiate with other teams.
Transition tags pay a player the average of the 10 highest-paid players at his position. A tagged player is allowed to negotiate with other teams. The player’s current team can match any offer given to a transition-tagged player, but the team will not be given compensation if it decides not to match.
Teams have until July 15 to reach a long-term contract with a tagged player. If no agreement can be reached by then, the player will play on a one-year contract.