In what is the first significant date of the NFL off-season involving personnel, teams can begin placing a franchise or transition tag on players beginning Tuesday.

The period runs through March 6 and could help alter free agency by taking some top players out of the market while also changing what some teams have available.

To briefly recap the rule, teams can place the tags on pending free agents. An exclusive franchise tag binds the player to the team for one year while giving the player a salary that is the average of the top five at his position or a 120 percent raise from the previous year, whichever is higher. There is also a non-exclusive franchise tag in which the salary is the same but a player can negotiate with other teams and if he gets an offer the original team can either match or get two first-round picks as compensation.

The transition tag gives a player the average of the top 10 salaries at his position but with the ability to still negotiate with other teams. His original team can match the offer but if it does not, it gets nothing in compensation if the player leaves.

Teams can continue to negotiate with tagged players, and in fact the tag is often just viewed as a precursor to getting a longer-term deal done. The deadline for getting a longer deal done is July 16 after which the player must sign the one-year tag contract.

The Seahawks haven’t used any tag since 2010 when it placed a franchise tag on kicker Olindo Mare.

But as the tag period approaches there is increasing speculation that the Seahawks could use it on defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.