NFL extends franchise tag designation date


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Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree -- MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

With the NFLPA announcing Monday that it needed more time to garner all of the votes on a potential new CBA from Thursday to Saturday, it threw a wrench into the works for the NFL's upcoming start of the new league year.

The NFL has adjusted accordingly, shifting the date of the deadline for teams to use the franchise or transition tags from Thursday at 4 p.m. to 11:59 a.m. Monday.

The move was necessitated due to the uncertainty surrounding the voting on the new CBA. If a new CBA is approved, it would go into effect for the 2020 season. If it is not, the league will go into the final year of its current CBA, approved in 2011, with a different set of salary cap rules.

As of now, the new league year start date remains set as Wednesday, March 18.

If the new CBA is not approved, teams will be permitted to use both the franchise and transition tags in 2020. They also cannot sign a player to a contract that adjusts a player's salary by more than 30 percent from one year to the next.

In addition, a player's salary cannot be lower than the prorated portion of his signing bonus. So, if a player signs a 4-year deal that includes $20 million in signing bonuses, his salary cannot be below $5 million in any year of the contract.

The Steelers are expected to be one of the teams that use the franchise tag, with linebacker Bud Dupree getting that designation. If a new CBA is not approved, they also could place the transition tag on nose tackle Javon Hargrave, though that is unlikely.

The Steelers will need to act quickly once they find out whether the new CBA is approved or not. The team has just under $1.5 million in estimated cap space based on the league's announcement the 2020 salary cap will be around $200 million.

If a new CBA is approved, the cap is expected to rise at least an additional $5 million or so per team.

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