Deadlines spur action, unless it’s with franchise-tagged NFL players in 2017.
Monday is the final day for teams to sign franchise-tagged players to long-term extensions. Once the 4 p.m. Eastern deadline passes, players must play this season on the one-year tag.
Most years, that deadline day comes with a few huge moves as teams and agents finally cut out all the posturing. Not this year.
None of the three remaining franchise-tagged players without an extension – Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell and Los Angeles Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson – are expected to sign Monday before the deadline, though there’s always a chance at a last-minute deal.
Tagged players did sign deals this year, just well ahead of the deadline. This wasn’t a year for league-wide procrastination. Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short, Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler Jones, San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram and New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul all signed huge extensions well before the deadline.
As Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson has reported, the Redskins and Cousins are far apart on a deal. Nothing is expected to happen Monday either, though there’s always a tiny chance at the two sides furiously agreeing to something. Robinson reported last week that Johnson, who played under the franchise tag last season, will play under the tag again. Multiple reports have said Bell and the Steelers aren’t expected to come to an agreement either before the deadline passes.
For that trio of players, it does set up an interesting 2018 offseason if there’s no extension at the final minute. Cousins’ franchise tag in 2018, because it would be his third, would cost about $35 million for one year. That is enormous and might cause the Redskins to let him hit free agency (where you’d guess that the San Francisco 49ers, long rumored to want Cousins, would be waiting with open arms and a blank check). Johnson will almost assuredly hit free agency because a third tag would be way too expensive for the Rams, and the market for him should be competitive. Bell, perhaps the league’s best running back, could just get tagged again in 2018 if a last-minute deal isn’t reached Monday, though he probably would not be happy with that.
Usually franchise-tag deadline day has at least one big signing. There will still be interesting stories as the deadline passes this year, but we’ll likely be talking about the trio of players who didn’t sign and what happens next.
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