Today marks the first day that NFL teams can officially apply a franchise or transition tag to players they would like to keep around without awarding them a new contract. The Seahawks are rumored to be working on contracts for Marshawn Lynch, Red Bryant, John Carlson, and a smattering of their other free agents, including Leroy Hill, Michael Robinson, Paul McQuistan, and David Hawthorne, but as of today, these two options come into play.
It's unlikely the team will tag anyone today - they'll more likely use the time they have until March 5th to try and work out deals with the above-mentioned players to keep them around at a better rate. But, if they're unable to do so, applying these tags is an option the league affords them.
The most likely scenario for the team would be to franchise tag Marshawn Lynch. He's a large part of their offensive identity and their workhorse running back. That said, he had a career year and may be seeking a longer-term, expensive contract, and if the team balks at his demands, they may retain him for the 2012 season with a franchise tag designation.
ESPN's Mike Sando provides an excellent recap of what exactly flies when it comes to the franchise tag:
-One at a time: Teams can name only one franchise player at a time.
-Who qualifies: Players eligible for the franchise tag include those scheduled to become restricted or unrestricted free agents.
-Compensation: Teams must offer franchise players one-year deals worth what top players at their positions have commanded. The prices vary by position and which type of tag a team applies. New methods for calculation have produced lower franchise tag prices under the new labor agreement.
-Two tag types: Non-exclusive franchise tags allow players to negotiate with other teams. Exclusive tags prevent players from negotiating with other teams. Teams naming non-exclusive franchise players retain the right to match outside offers or receive two first-round picks from the signing team should they decide against matching. Teams favor non-exclusive tags.
Read the rest of the stipulations here.