Hawks' Marcus Trufant to be tagged franchise player
As a cornerback, Marcus Trufant is a member of the Seahawks secondary, but he was a primary focus for Seattle's free-agent preparations...
Seattle Times staff reporter
As a cornerback, Marcus Trufant is a member of the Seahawks secondary, but he was a primary focus for Seattle's free-agent preparations.
Trufant is expected to be designated the team's franchise player today, the deadline for NFL teams to apply the tag. The move comes after the two sides have thus far failed to reach agreement on a long-term contract, but negotiations for that can continue until July 15.
The transaction was not among the league's official transactions Wednesday, but the team notified Trufant. The designation is expected to become official today.
Making Trufant the franchise player comes at a significant short-term cost. The Seahawks must offer Trufant a one-year tender of nearly $9.5 million, which will take up a good chunk of Seattle's available salary-cap space. The move also means kicker Josh Brown — the Seahawks' franchise player last year — is headed toward unrestricted free agency when the signing period begins Feb. 29. Tackle Sean Locklear and wide receiver D.J. Hackett, still unsigned, are, too.
Trufant is coming off a Pro Bowl season in which he led the Seahawks with seven interceptions. There are two tiers of franchise tags. The most common makes the player a restricted free agent, eligible to sign an offer sheet with another team. The Seahawks would then have the choice of matching that offer or receiving two first-round picks as compensation from the team that signed Trufant. An exclusive-rights franchise player gets a higher one-year tender, but cannot negotiate with other teams.
As a franchise player, Trufant must be tendered an offer that is at least the average salary of the five highest-paid cornerbacks in the league. For this year, that will be $9.5 million, second-highest of any position behind only quarterbacks.
Each NFL team has the option to designate one player on its roster as either a franchise player or transition player, thereby putting restrictions on a player headed toward free agency. The Seahawks used their franchise tag three successive years on Walter Jones beginning in 2002, then on Shaun Alexander in 2005 and Brown last season. The team used the transition tag on guard Steve Hutchinson in 2006 only to see him sign a contract with Minnesota that made it impractical for the Seahawks to match.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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