Jones, Pace know the drill
Last year eight players were labeled as such, which is exactly the same number as the year before. How many will get tagged this time around? It's unclear at this point because teams still have time to negotiate long-term deals before free agency starts, but there will be a handful of talent that won't be able to agree to terms on time.
And that could have a big effect on the teams that choose to use the tag. Though the transaction all but guarantees that the chosen one won't test the free-agent market, it also takes a big chunk out of a team's salary-cap space. Instead of signing a multi-year deal that has a low first-year cap hit, a one-year franchise deal counts entirely against the 2004 cap.