- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is a priority free agent, and it sounds like he wants to stay in Pittsburgh. An option to keep him around is the franchise tag.
For those who don’t know, the franchise tag is a designation a team may apply to a player scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. It’s a one-year deal that essentially gives teams more time to negotiate a long-term contract with the player they feel will be vital for their franchise’s future.
I can’t speak for general manager Kevin Colbert and company, but as good as Smith-Schuster is, he’s: 1) Not elite and 2) Expendable.
But since JuJu’s fate in Pittsburgh is a hot topic of debate, let’s take a quick look at what it would cost the Steelers if they did tag him.
The final salary-cap figure determines tenders per position. Since that number is still unknown, tag values below are estimated on a $180 million cap.
Courtesy of OverTheCap.com
The figure to place the franchise tag on Smith-Schuster is $16.43 — slightly higher than Spotrac’s predicted annual valuation of $16.1 million.
The transition tag is a bit more complicated and not as common of a designation. Here’s the gist of it, as explained by Kevin Patra from Around the NFL.
The transition designation is a one-year tender offer for the average of the top 10 salaries at the position — as opposed to top five for the franchise tag. It guarantees the original club the right of first refusal to match any offer the player might receive from another club. The tagging team is awarded no compensation if it chooses not to match a deal. The transition tag is generally a placeholder giving the club the ability to match any contract the player negotiations with another team.
It’s more than likely that Smith-Schuster will be wearing another team’s uniform in 2021, as the Steelers haven’t once tagged a wide receiver since it became a thing in 1994. Pittsburgh also rarely offers second contracts to receivers (and they would’ve done so by now).
The window to use this designation closes in a week, on March 9.