You may remember the Transition Tag from such NFL mishaps as Steve Hutchinson and Nate Burleson.
The days of the “poison pill” are gone, but the Transition Tag still exists and the Minnesota Vikings could use it on Case Keenum.
For those who don’t recall the Vikings stealing Hutchinson from Seattle, the Transition Tag allows a team to match any offer.
The advantage for the Vikings using the transition tag would be saving cap space. If there are no offers to be matched, Keenum’s price on the transition tag would be a one-year contract equal to the average salary of the top ten players in the league at the player’s position, or a twenty percent salary increase, whichever is greater. The franchise tag is the average of the top five players’ salaries at the position.
CBS Sports’ Jason La Confora recently made the argument for the Vikings to use the transition tag on Keenum. He wrote:
“This is the quintessential use of a transition tag. Keenum is an anomaly, having a breakout season so late in his career. And he just lost his offensive coordinator/play caller, and the Vikings have no QB under contract who has thrown an NFL pass. No way I am getting to March 6 without still being tethered to an NFL passer, and no way am I considering Minnesota’s other options (Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater) for the spot. Save a few million bucks with the lower transition tag and rent Keenum for another year at $21 million (a touch more than what guys like Brock Osweiler and Mike Glennon earned last season) and see if the market speaks. Give Keenum, after such a career year, the chance to talk to other teams and see what else is out there; if someone offers something nuts, he walks. And if they don’t, it may help facilitate a 2-3 year bridge contract by July 15 that offers some stability. It’s too risky, to me, to wait til mid March and enter the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes – and with this defense and potential run game, a $30M quarterback might not be what Mike Zimmer needs, anyway.”
The Vikings are definitely considering Bridgewater, especially if they can bring him back by tolling his contract. Otherwise they may work out a short-term deal The transition tag could allow them a few extra dollars to work with to keep Bridgewater if his contract does not carry over to next season.