The month of July is mostly dead until training camp gets started, but there is one particularly important date. When a team places the franchise tag on a player, the two sides have until July 15 to work out a contract extension. If they do not agree to an extension, the player either plays on the franchise tender or sits out the season. The next time the two sides can work on an extension is the following league year.
One of the most notable franchised players is Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller. The two sides have had a lot of problems figuring out a deal this offseason. There were reports they had a framework for years and total dollars, but they are reportedly far apart on the amount of guaranteed money. And in the NFL, guaranteed money is really all that matters. Things broke down from there, and the two sides reportedly had not spoken for a few weeks.
Adam Schefter is now reporting there has been some contact. He reported on Tuesday that Broncos general manager John Elway called Miller over the holiday weekend, “to express his desire to work out a long-term deal.” Apparently Elway wanted Miller to know the team still wanted him, and this served as a sort of ice-breaker, letting Miller know Elway would be in touch with his agents.
There are seven players, including Miller, who are on track to play this season under the franchise tag. The rest of the group includes Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry, Los Angeles Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson, New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, and Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins. Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Cordy Glenn and Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman were each franchised as well, but they got their contract situations resolved.
Odds are pretty good the notable names on this list will not get a deal done by July 15. If they don’t, a second franchise would result in a salary at 120 percent of this years, or the franchise tender if it would be higher. I doubt all these players hit the open market next spring, but there could be some serious talent available.