A franchise player in football is usually the best player on a team and one that the front office is content building their roster around.
In most cases, an NFL team’s franchise player is going to be their quarterback but there can be other positions that earn the franchise player moniker as well.
The franchise player will usually receive the most exposure by the team. When an NFL team zeros in on their franchise player they will usually be the subject of advertisements, promotions and team apparel.
Oftentimes a franchise player will be referred to as the face of the franchise. This is because they are going to be the player that first pops into mind when you think of the team.
It is important to note that franchise players are not the same thing as being franchise tagged. A franchise tag is a one-year contract that a team can impose on a player to stop them from becoming a free agent.
These tags can be used on players of any position, but in most cases are not used on franchise players.
Franchise players have a knack for playing on a single team for the majority of their careers. It is not very often that teams find their franchise player walking away without signing a contract.
What Positions Are Franchise Players
Now that you understand what a franchise player is in football you may be wondering what these players look like on the field.
To get a better understanding we are going to go over which positions are most likely to be considered franchise players.
Far and away the most common position for a franchise player in football is quarterback. It is so common that another common term franchise quarterback is often used in place of franchise player.
The reason these players tend to be franchise players is that they have the biggest impact on the game.
Aside from the center the quarterback is the only player that gets to touch the ball each and every play.
This allows them to have a much larger impact on the game. When a quarterback is playing well a franchise is usually doing well. For this reason, a team’s most valued and recognized player is often going to be the quarterback.
The position that is often considered the next most likely to be considered a franchise player is running back.
Nowadays NFL offenses are less reliant on rushing which has made the position less valuable. Despite this many teams have succeeded with their RB being considered their most important player.
When a team primarily moves the ball by carrying the football the fans tend to take notice of the running back.
Additionally, when the running back leads the offense he will be the one in the endzone scoring the touchdown. This puts a lot of limelight on the running back position when they are playing well.
For this reason, these players can be considered a franchise player despite the position itself not being so valuable in today’s NFL.
Defensive backs are another position group that may be given the title of franchise player. This is quite rare but does happen from time to time when a team has a generational player in the defensive backfield.
In most cases, a db will only be considered a franchise player if the team is led by the defense. If the defense is what is winning the team games then that is usually where the franchise player will reside.
In these cases the player that leads and makes the defense successful can often be considered a franchise player.
If a defensive back is able to make tons of exciting plays such as sacks, interceptions, or fumble recoveries they can become quite impactful for the team.
Players like Troy Polamalu or Deion Sanders would be great examples of franchise players that were defensive backs.