A day away from the deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign extensions, the NFL finally saw a player from this year’s group do so. The Chiefs’ Chris Jones extension represents the outlier move thus far. Discounting Jones’ deal, how many more tagged players will sign by the 3pm CT deadline Wednesday?
The 14 remaining tagged players reside in limbo for various reasons — from uncertainties about their career trajectories to the pandemic clouding the NFL’s financial future. There could be plenty of players going through the 2020 season on guaranteed one-year deals, which would both table key negotiations for several months and add to the 2021 free agent market.
Here is how everything looks with the tagged group as of Tuesday afternoon:
Already Signed Tag
- LB Shaquil Barrett, Buccaneers: Sides are not believed to be close on terms (7/10)
- RB Kenyan Drake*, Cardinals: Engaged in talks with organization (4/15)
- LB Bud Dupree, Steelers: Sides are not close on terms; Dupree filed grievance (7/10)
- S Anthony Harris, Vikings: No reports, will let agent and Vikings do the work (5/17)
- RB Derrick Henry, Titans: Expected to play season on tag (7/14)
- TE Hunter Henry, Chargers: Sides “were close” to extension (4/29); now not so much (7/11)
- LB Matt Judon, Ravens: Content playing on franchise tag (6/16)
- QB Dak Prescott, Cowboys: After disagreement on deal length, no talks scheduled (7/13)
- OG Brandon Scherff, Washington: No longer expected to sign extension (7/14)
- S Justin Simmons, Broncos: Talks unlikely to produce extension (7/14)
- OG Joe Thuney, Patriots: Engaged in talks with organization (3/17)
- DT Leonard Williams, Giants: Will play 2020 season on franchise tag (7/13)
*Received transition tag (vs. franchise tag)
Hasn’t Signed Tag, Won’t Hold Out
Hasn’t Signed Tag, Threatening Holdout
More players were tagged this year than in 2018 and ’19 combined. This represents the largest contingent of tagged performers since 2012, when 19 were tagged. That also came in an era when of salary cap stagnancy. After steady cap growth since 2014, the league’s best hope may be for the 2021 cap to plateau. The coronavirus has threatened to keep fans out of stadiums, with limited capacity being the likely best-case scenario. That will cost the league upwards of $3 billion, and the NFL-NFLPA talks about how to manage this have transpired for several weeks without a resolution.
But deadlines, per the cliche, incite action. Will this year be the exception? Are teams willing to carry big tag salaries on their books? Or will they prefer that to signing off on long-term extensions before the cap reality clears up? Vote in PFR’s latest poll (link for app users) and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.