The deadline for players who have been designated as the franchise tag to sign longterm deals is coming on Monday at 4 p.m. ET. If the franchise-tagged players do not sign longterm deals by Monday afternoon, they must play out the season under the one-year deal.
Twenty one franchise tags were issued earlier this offseason. Six of those players have not signed their tender nor a longterm deal; six more have signed their franchise tender, guaranteeing them a contract in 2012, but have not inked longterm contracts; nine more were issued the franchise tag, but have already signed longterm deals.
Franchise Tender Has Not Been Signed And There Is No Longterm Deal
Cliff Avril, Detroit Lions: A deal between Avril and the Lions seems unlikely at this point. Avril, who has yet to sign his $10.6 million franchise tender, has been optimistic this season but that hasn't been reciprocated by the Lions, who have been silent most of the summer. At this point, a deal seems unlikely, which brings up the question of what Avril will do next: sign the tender and play -- or continue holding out into training camp?
Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs: No deal to this point and it's highly unlikely one is struck before the end of the day. The two sides don't appear to be close at all. Bowe has been productive in four of his five NFL seasons, so he can command some serious coin. For now, the Chiefs appear content on paying the one-year deal. Bowe confirmed to SB Nation's Arrowhead Pride earlier this offseason that he will report to training camp. Bowe and the Chiefs will be in the same position next year as they were this year.
Matt Forte, Chicago Bears: This one will come down to the wire. The latest reports say the two sides are getting closer to an extension, and with the deadline coming at 4 p.m. ET on Monday, it's reasonable to think a deal could be struck. Forte is seeking a deal that pays him top running back money, around $9 million per year. The Bears do have some leverage here after signing Michael Bush in free agency, but Forte, injuries or not, is arguably the most important player on the team.
Dashon Goldson, San Francisco 49ers: Goldson's looking for Eric Weddle money, around $40 million over five years. It seems unlikely the 49ers will go that high, perhaps preferring a deal that averages $7 million per season like Michael Griffin's. As of now, we'll put this under the not-expected-to-happen category, but it's not unreasonable to think they could lock something down before Monday's deadline.
Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens: Arguably the most important player in the Ravens offense, Rice has not signed his franchise tender and does not have a longterm deal. Rice is valuable enough that the Ravens stepping up and signing him before Monday's deadline is possible, but it seems unlikely at this point. Rice is likely in the $9-million-per-year category if and when he eventually gets his deal.
Related: Ray Rice 'Optimistic' Deal Gets Done
Josh Scobee, Jacksonville Jaguars: After reports that the two sides hadn't talked in months, it appears the communication has stepped up in the last week. There are no indications that something is imminent, but with the Jaguars offense, they sure could use a top tier kicker.
Franchise Tag Has Been Signed, But No Longterm Deal
Wes Welker, New England Patriots: This is a big one considering Welker has led the NFL in receptions in three of the last four years. Unfortunately for Patriots fans, we're not looking for a deal to get done. Welker has signed his tender, so he's in the fold for 2012, but the two sides are not close to a deal. Welker will likely play out the season under the franchise tender, and then -- as crazy as this sounds -- it's possible he hits the market in 2013.
Fred Davis, Washington Redskins: A four-year veteran, Davis signed his $5.4 million franchise tender. The Redskins would like to lock him to a longterm deal, but negotiations haven't produced anything yet. The latest reports suggest a longterm deal won't be coming before Monday's deadline. Davis, just 26 years old, may be better off playing out the year under the one-year franchise tender and taking a shot at the open market next year, assuming he can build on his 796 yard season he had in 2011.
Phil Dawson, Cleveland Browns: A kicker who has received the franchise tag two years in a row, Dawson is due $3.81 million in 2012. That's a 20 percent pay raise from last season. The two sides are not expected to reach a longterm deal before Monday's deadline, which means Dawson will likely play under the franchise tag once again. There was speculation before Dawson was tagged that he'd retire, so this season may be his last with the Browns.
Brent Grimes, Atlanta Falcons: He signed his one-year franchise tender months ago, but there appears to be little progress in the way of a longterm deal. The Falcons already have Dunta Robinson and traded for Asante Samuel, which makes you wonder if Grimes will even get a longterm deal. One reason we won't rule this one out is the fact that the Falcons have a little less than $3 million in salary cap space and a longterm deal with Grimes could create some more space for them.
Mike Nugent, Cincinnati Bengals: Yet another franchised kicker. Nugent has signed his tender, which means he's guaranteed $2.654 million this season. He's really turned his career around after some early career struggles, so the Bengals are interested in locking him up. There are no indications anything is imminent, but keep an eye on this one.
Anthony Spencer, Dallas Cowboys: He's signed his tender, and the Cowboys have already indicated they're unlikely to give him a longterm deal. For his part, Spencer's on board and expects to play out the year under the franchise tender. A good but not great player, Spencer hasn't lived up to expectations in his time in Dallas.
Franchise Tagged Players Who Have Signed A Longterm Deal
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: Brees and the Saints were chippy at times this offseason, but the two sides agreed to a deal last Friday, and it's a big one -- $100 million over five years with a $40 million year one pay out. So, yeah, that's a lot of money. The Brees deal was somewhat unexpected in that many people thought it wouldn't happen before Monday, but it still got done. This is your sign of hope for those franchise-tagged players who have been deemed unlikely to get a deal done.
Related: Brees' Bounty Is $100 Million
Calais Campbell, Arizona Cardinals: Some negotiations need deadlines to come to a conclusion. Others, like Campbell, need no such deadlines. Campbell and the Cardinals agreed to a five-year, $55 million deal way back in May, so he's been wrapped up for some time. Campbell's situation is the ideal use for the franchise tag -- buying some time to secure a longterm deal.
Tyvon Branch, Oakland Raiders: An example of the franchise tag working for both sides. Branch signed his tender back in May and just inked a longterm deal with the Raiders last weekend. He's signed, sealed and delivered for the 2012 season. The deal will pay him a reported $26.6 million over four years. Branch is only 25 years old, so he'll see another longterm deal before he hits 30.
Connor Barth, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Issuing the franchise tag to a kicker wasn't such an unusual thing this year. Five kickers and one punter received the franchise tag, and that includes Barth. He and the Bucs have already kissed and made up via a four-year, $13.2 million contract. Not bad money if you can get it.
Michael Griffin, Tennessee Titans: This is a done deal. Griffin was tagged but inked a five-year, $35 million deal, which helps set the market for other safeties like Dashon Goldson.
DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles: Despite rumors they could entertain trades for him, the Eagles signed Jackson to a five-year, $47 million deal, which is the going rate for receivers of his ability. He's safe in Philly for at least two seasons when his $15 million guaranteed is all paid out.
Steve Weatherford, New York Giants: The franchise tag isn't just for kickers -- it's for punters, too. Weatherford and the Super Bowl champion Giants have already struck a five-year, $12.75 million deal.