The July 15 deadline for a club to extend a franchise-tagged player came and went accompanied by a typical flurry of activity, and now that the dust has settled, we would like for you to weigh in on the biggest surprise of deadline day. However, given that the whole football world was taken aback by the Muhammad Wilkerson extension, we’ll make it a little harder on you and take that development off the table for this discussion.
As of July 14, the franchise-tagged club looked like this (of course, the extension that Cordy Glenn signed with the Bills and the Panthers’ decision to rescind Josh Norman‘s tag removed two players from this group):
Franchise players (exclusive):
- Von Miller, LB (Broncos): $14.26MM
Franchise players (non-exclusive):
- Eric Berry, S (Chiefs): $10.806MM
- Kirk Cousins, QB (Redskins): $19.953MM
- Alshon Jeffery, WR (Bears): $14.599MM
- Trumaine Johnson, CB (Rams): $13.952MM
- Muhammad Wilkerson, DE (Jets): $15.701MM
- Justin Tucker, K (Ravens): $4.572MM
At one point, it seemed likely that Berry and the Chiefs would put pen to paper on a long-term deal, but while both sides remain optimistic that Berry will be manning the defensive backfield in Kansas City for the foreseeable future, they could not come together on a multi-year contract and will have to revisit those talks after the season.
And while it had been reported for some time that Cousins would likely play out the 2016 campaign under the franchise tag, did anyone think Wilkerson was more likely than Washington’s quarterback to score a massive extension? After all, both the Redskins and Cousins are taking major gambles here. If Cousins’ 2016 season looks anything like his 2015 campaign, the Redskins will have cost themselves a great deal of money–although it’s hard to imagine they would be complaining too much–but if Cousins should struggle, he might have cost himself any semblance of long-term security. Plus, although neither Rich Tandler nor Tarik El-Bashier of CSNWashington.com believe Cousins will feel added pressure in 2016 as a result of the fact that he does not have a multi-year deal under his belt, it is hard to imagine it will not at least cross his mind.
And then we have the sheer numbers of Miller’s contract, which are beyond staggering. Although both sides did a fair amount of predictable posturing over the course of their negotiations, it was hard to imagine that Miller would sit out the 2016 season, or that the Broncos would trade their superstar pass rusher. But did even those who predicted that the two sides would strike a deal think the deal would be quite as lucrative as it is?
So have at it. What was the biggest surprise of deadline day (non-Wilkerson division)? The Miller deal, the Cousins or Berry non-deal, or something else entirely? And if you want to weigh in with your thoughts about the Wilkerson extension, feel free to do so.