If you've studied your franchise tag rules, you know that Peyton Manning will make more money in 2011 than Michael Vick. ESPN.com's John "The Professor" Clayton, a national treasure, hit on this topic in his most recent mailbag column:
Question for The Professor from Josh in Washington D.C.: Can you please explain the difference in franchise tag salaries between Peyton Manning ($23 million) and Michael Vick ($16 million). How/why can the top-five average salaries benefit Manning more than Vick?
The Professor himself: Very simple. Under the franchise tag, a player gets 120 percent of his previous season cap number or the average of the top-five cap numbers from the previous year, whichever is greater. Manning had a cap number in the $19 million range. The 120 percent increase took him to $23 million. Vick got the top-five average, which was $16 million.