It specifically refers to the NFL, which has a rule allowing teams to 'tag' a player as a franchise player so they don't lose him to free agency. So when a really good player's contract is over, a team can label that player as a franchise player and the player cannot be signed by another team. However the current team must offer that player (I believe) the average salary of the top 5 players at that players position. (I.e. the avg salary for the top five QB's, RB's, etc.). I'm not sure about the numbers but that's the idea. Hope that helps.