Getty Images

The franchise and transition tag deadline came and went on Tuesday without the New York Giants using either. They elected not to use the franchise tag on running back Saquon Barkley for what would have been the second consecutive year; and despite rumors that they would, they also decided not to use the transition tag on safety Xavier McKinney

According to CBS Sports Lead NFL Insider Jonathan Jones, the Giants did not tag McKinney because of the way the safety market has developed. The Patriots used their transition tag on safety Kyle Dugger, and New York felt that Dugger coming off the open market would open rival teams up to offering McKinney a deal that the Giants wouldn't match, resulting in them getting no compensation for McKinney if he leaves for a new team.

This is an interesting reason not to use the tag and still give yourself the right of first refusal to match any contract McKinney receives in free agency, which is what the transition tag affords the team that uses it. (It could just as easily apply to the Patriots and Dugger if the Giants had used the tag on McKinney, for example.) Players who are transition-tagged, though, no longer count in the compensatory pick formula, so the Giants wouldn't receive a future additional draft pick if McKinney signed a deal elsewhere that they weren't willing to match.

However, the Giants have so many holes on their roster at the moment that they almost have to be active participants in free agency next week, so it's possible they wouldn't have received a compensatory pick for McKinney anyway. In other words, not using the transition tag on McKinney makes it more likely that the Giants get compensation if he leaves -- but only if they don't spend to bring in roster reinforcements and offset his departure in the compensatory formula.