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Designation tags are risky business for teams

Updated: March 18, 2003, 12:17 PM ET
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

Two years ago, the concept of the franchise and transition designations in the NFL appeared to be outdated.

"Tagging" a player was one of the few rights given to a team in adjusting to free agency. It gave a general manager one chance a year to prevent his best free agent from leaving.

The concept was simple. You place the franchise tag on a player and he couldn't leave unless the raiding team surrendered two first-round draft choices. The less restrictive transition designation gave ...

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