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Eagles Can Now Designate Franchise Player

The Eagles can now take an important step in their offseason development with the ability to tag one soon-to-be free agent as either a franchise or transition player.

Here are the other Eagles are set to become free agents: defensive end Victor Abiamiri, running back Ronnie Brown, defensive tackle Antonio Dixon (restricted), offensive tackle King Dunlap, wide receiver DeSean Jackson, defensive tackle Derek Landri, defensive tackle Trevor Laws, guard Evan Mathis, defensive end Juqua Parker, fullback Owen Schmitt, wide receiver Steve Smith and quarterback Vince Young.

Under the terms of the franchise tag under the previous CBA, a player was tendered a one-year contract valued at the average of the top five highest-paid players at the player's respective position based on the previous year's salaries.  Now, the value is determined by a formula that incorporates the previous franchise tag tenders at a given position and the salary cap. provides a list of the franchise tag figures. There are two versions of the franchise tag - the non-exclusive and the exclusive.

There two main differences. One is compensation for the player. Under the exclusive franchise tag, a player is tendered a one-year contract valued at the average of the top five highest-paid players at a position for the upcoming 2012 season, which will increase with free agency in March. The final value of the exclusive franchise tag will not be determined until April. The second difference is a player cannot negotiate with another team under the exclusive franchise tag. A player can negotiate with other teams under the non-exclusive franchise tag as long as he doesn't sign the one-year tender. If the player signs with another team and the original team doesn't match, the original team gets two first-round picks to essentially scare off other teams.

The transition tag, meanwhile, offers the player a one-year contract with a value determined by a similar formula to the franchise tag. The amount is not as high and the franchise tag. The original team gets a chance to match any offer made by another team, but does not receive draft picks as compensation.

Even if a player is tendered, he does not have to sign the contract. The franchise or transition tender can also serve as a stop-gap as the player and the team hammer out a long-term extension. That exact scenario happened last year with Michael Vick, who was set to play under the franchise tag but signed a six-year deal prior to the start of the season.

Before Vick, the Eagles utilized the franchise tag under Andy Reid three times. Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter and defensive tackle Corey Simon were given the franchise tag, but neither signed it. The Eagles removed it both times and allowed each player to leave as an unrestricted free agent. In 2008, tight end L.J. Smith played under the franchise tag.

The Eagles have until March 5 to determine whether they will apply either the franchise or transition tag. Free agency begins March 13 at 4 PM.

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