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Tag time: Deadline nears


JACKSONVILLE – As of 4 p.m., it's tag time.

Or maybe it's not.

We'll find out one way or the other Tuesday, a key day on the NFL's offseason calendar and one that will bring a bit more clarity on the future of Jaguars wide receiver Allen Robinson.

Robinson, a four-year veteran and 2015 Pro Bowl selection, is one of 11 Jaguars players scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on the March 14 start of the 2018 NFL League Year. He also was the team's most likely target for the NFL's franchise tag.

The Jaguars informed Robinson late Tuesday morning that they would not be using the tag on him.

The franchise tag is a mechanism by which teams can limit players' ability to sign elsewhere as free agents. Teams have two weeks each offseason to apply tags to players, with this year's tag window set to close Tuesday at 4 p.m.

A tagged player may sign a one-year offer to play for the tagging team for a one-year salary based on the average of the league's top-paid players at his position. The player also can choose to not sign the tag and therefore not play that season.

Teams can apply one tag per offseason and have their choice of two franchise tags:

*The exclusive franchise tag, under which the player may not negotiate with another team. This is the most expensive and least-used tag. Under this tag, a team extends the player a one-year tender offer at the average of the league's top five salaries at the position the previous year or 120 percent of the player's previous year's salary – whichever is greater.

*The non-exclusive franchise tag, under which the player may negotiate with another team. Under this tag, the player receives a one-year tender at the average of the top five salaries at the position over the past five seasons or 120 percent of the player's previous salary – whichever is greater.

If the player receives an offer from another team, the original team may match that offer and retain the player; if the original team opts not to retain the player, the original team will receive two first-round draft selections from the approaching team.

Teams also may use the transition tag – a one-year offer at the average of the Top 10 salaries at the position. This offer guarantees the original team the chance to match the offer and retain the player, but the original team receives no compensation if it chooses not to retain the player.

Robinson, who sustained a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament on the first offensive series of 2017, seemed a candidate for the tag because the tag is most often used on a free agent the team wants to retain but with whom it can't agree to a long-term deal.

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