Like an NFL Franchise Tag, an NFL Transition Tag may be used on one player per team each year. Also, the tag may be used on either a restricted or unrestricted free agent.
In the last year of each Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team may choose to place a Transition Tag on 2 players (in addition to using a Franchise Tag).
So where does the Transition Tag differ from the Franchise Tag?
A Transition Tag allows the former team to match the highest offer presented by another interested team. This is considered the “Rights of First Refusal.” Our example of Steve Hutchinson was labeled with a Transition Tag, but also was involved with the Poison Pill technique.
If a player is labeled as a Transition player, he must receive a one-year deal worth the average of the 10 top paid players in his position for the previous year or a one-year deal valued at 120% of his previous year’s salary (whichever option accrues more money). With the use of a Franchise Tag, a player receives the average of the top 5 players in such a position. This makes it evident that using a Transition Tag may create less of a burden on a team’s salary cap.