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Mr. Perfect took time out of watching football once to explain to me what putting a franchise tag on a player meant. Honestly, I don’t remember the WHOLE explanation, but I came away with a few key facts (or maybe I made up a few, but let’s play along, shall we?): If a player is going to become an urestricted free agent (who is probably fed up and ready to leave the team he’s on) and the team really wants to keep him (but really doesn’t want to pay him what they know he could get elsewhere, or can’t afford to–whatever), they can place a franchise tag on him, which basically binds him to the team for another year. They don’t have to play him or utilize him any further (I don’t think); they have, however, successfully kept him from going somewhere else. They could possibly be stealing away one of few precious productive years from him.

Of course, this happens to a lot of us in relationships. How many men and women are walking around with a franchise tag on them? Someone isn’t ready to let them go, but they aren’t in the game, either. Someone is just keeping them around in case the star gets injured and you need them, or to keep them from going elsewhere.

It’s not hard to do, either. If you’re girlfriend is getting frustrated with her empty left finger after years of being a wife to you in word and deed if not in actuality, buy an engagement ring–franchise tag. You can possibly buy yourself years of time getting all the benefits of marriage without having to make the ultimate commitment. When you’re man is getting tired of playing games with you, plan a special night or vacation where you cater to him and let him see how good it is when things are good–franchise tag. Men are always professing to be simple creatures, and if you can cater to their creature comforts just enough to keep them on the hook, they’ll complain and debate leaving, but they’ll be too comfortable to do anything about it.

Friends behind the “in case I don’t get anyone else” glass of your heart, long term mates you have no intention of going any further with, people you use for sex, money, and/or status, people who really love you and you just string along because you never know–franchise tag. It’s not your fault that they accepted it–unlike the NFL, they aren’t obligated to adhere to it–but you should never place any claims on anyone you don’t intend to be in a relationship with that is pleasing and acceptable to both parties.

That’s my two cents, anyway. Leave yours in the comments section.