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Von Miller, Kirk Cousins headline $134 million day at the NFL franchise tag deadline

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Ten players received some version of the franchise or transition tag before Tuesday's deadline.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The deadline for NFL teams to assign their franchise and transition tags came and went Tuesday afternoon. Several franchises elected to apply their tags, effectively taking Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller, rising star Kirk Cousins and a cavalcade of other valuable players off the open market for the foreseeable future.

This year's list of tagged players contained few surprises. Most around the NFL expected Miller and Cousins to be tagged, as well as disruptive defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson and All-Pro safety Eric Berry. The only eye-raising moment was the decision by the Carolina Panthers to use the non-exclusive form of the franchise tag on shutdown corner Josh Norman. The non-exclusive tag allows players to negotiate with other teams and sign an offer sheet that would also give his original team two first-round picks if it doesn't match the offer.

Many of those who received a tag this offseason still expect to sign a long-term deal rather than play under the stipulations of a one-year tender. If a player fails to come to terms on a new contract with his team, he will enter the 2016 season without the security of a multi-year agreement.

Eric Berry, S, Kansas City Chiefs

Tag designation: Franchise
Tag amount: $10.806 million

In 2014, Eric Berry had to walk away from football to deal with a cancer diagnosis. One year later, he not only returned to the field, but he earned first-team All-Pro honors for the second time in his career. Berry led a secondary that developed into one of the NFL's best over the course of the season, giving the defense a stabilizing force during the prolonged absence of edge rusher Justin Houston.

Only 27 years old and playing one of the thinnest positions across the league, Berry possesses plenty of leverage for his negotiations with the Kansas City Chiefs. Both sides have incentive to continue their relationship, making a long-term deal seem likely.

Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington

Tag designation: Franchise
Tag amount: $19.953 million

Perhaps no player in a contract year did more to boost his stock than Washington's Kirk Cousins. The former fourth-round pick took over for Robert Griffin III during the preseason and, after some early struggles, produced some of the best passing numbers by any quarterback in 2015.

With Washington winning its first division title since 2012, the team seemed happy to push its chips in on Cousins and pursue a long-term deal. When no agreement materialized, it had little choice but to slap him with the franchise tag. Cousins hasn't done enough thus far to validate a nearly $20 million salary, and the team surely worries that his production resulted in part from a weak schedule and a small sample size. Still, unless Washington cares to try its luck in the draft, it has no better option than to continue working towards a new contract for Cousins.

Cordy Glenn, OT, Buffalo Bills

Tag designation: Franchise
Tag amount: $13.706 million

Blindside protectors come at a premium in the NFL, and teams that have one rarely let them walk away. For all the areas the Buffalo Bills need to improve, left tackle isn't one of them. Cordy Glenn has quietly established himself as one of the premiere players at his position, allowing minimal pressure and making every start over the past three seasons. Head coach Rex Ryan wants to run a smash-mouth offense, so securing his best offensive lineman ranked atop his offseason wish list.

Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears

Tag designation: Franchise
Tag amount: $14.599 million

The top receiver in this year's free agent class, Alshon Jeffery would have found plenty of interest on the open market this offseason. He possesses an attractive set of physical tools -- big body, long speed and short-area burst -- to fit into nearly any offense.

Jeffery does come with some concerns, however. He has missed 13 games during his four-year career and played hobbled through many others. Though still effective when battling through injury, he displayed a noticeable drop off in effectiveness. Jeffery also has had some issues tracking the ball on deep throws and has more drops than expected for a player with his catching ability. The Bears likely don't need to fear another team signing him to an offer sheet, but they should have some reservations about giving the wideout a megadeal.

Trumaine Johnson, CB, Los Angeles Rams

Tag designation: Franchise
Tag amount: $13.952 million

The Los Angeles Rams had two cornerbacks to consider when making their franchise tag decision. Instead of designating Trumaine Johnson, the team could have placed the tag on Janoris Jenkins, the talented-but-undersized cover man who just finished the final year of his rookie deal. In the end, Johnson's size (6'2, 205 pounds) and superior ball skills (seven interceptions in 2015 and 15 over his last four seasons) made him the more attractive option.

Johnson's name may not be familiar to the casual fan, but teams around the league understand his impact on the Rams defense. Los Angeles probably made the right decision not to let him escape.

Von Miller, LB, Denver Broncos

Tag designation: Franchise (exclusive)
Tag amount: $14.129 million

After a phenomenal regular season that included 11 sacks and four forced fumbles, Von Miller went on a playoff tear that helped propel the Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl victory. Though part of a talent-rich defense, no player mattered more to the unit than Miller, who regularly beat double teams while moving around the field to make plays.

Understanding his value on the open market, Broncos general manager John Elway wisely elected to use the exclusive form of the franchise tag. Though more expensive, it ensures that no other team can even attempt to lure Miller away from Denver. Given the linebacker's age (27 on Mar. 26) and history of production (60 sacks in five seasons), Elway doesn't appear likely to regret his decision.

Josh Norman, CB, Carolina Panthers

Tag designation: Franchise
Tag amount: $13.952 million

One of the breakout stars of 2015, Carolina's Josh Norman successfully defended some of the top receivers in the league this past season. His high-profile matchup with the New York Giants' Odell Beckham Jr. produced some memorable highlights and regrettable errors. Still, the game showcased Norman's ability to take residence in the minds of his opponents, a trait shared by most of the great corners in NFL history.

Though many believed the Panthers would assign the franchise tag to Norman, few expected they would use the non-exclusive designation. Though costly, another team could swoop in and sign Norman to an unmatchable offer sheet and steal him away from Carolina. While the Panthers would receive two first-round picks in that scenario, they likely prefer to hold onto their top cover man instead.

Justin Tucker, PK, Baltimore Ravens

Tag designation: Franchise
Tag amount: $4.572 million

It always seems strange when a specialist receives the franchise tag, but elite kickers have garnered the designation on more than a few occasions. In this case, the Baltimore Ravens need to work out a long-term deal in order to reduce the 2016 cap number for Justin Tucker due to the team's rather suffocating salary-cap situation.

While Tucker ranks among the league's best kickers, no team would consider surrendering two first-round picks for the chance to lure him away. Accordingly, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome felt no need to use the exclusive form of the tag.

Olivier Vernon, DE, Miami Dolphins

Tag designation: Transition
Tag amount: $12.734 million

Unlike the other players tagged before Tuesday's deadline, Olivier Vernon received the less-restrictive transition tag. Other than committing less money to the defensive end, the Miami Dolphins also receive nothing in return should another team lure him away. The tag only guarantees the Dolphins the right of first refusal if/when Vernon signs an offer sheet.

Miami had little choice given its cap situation. The team currently needs to shed roughly $3.5 million in order to comply, leaving little room to negotiate with prospective free agents. The transition tag allows Miami to carry a smaller cap hold for Vernon while it finds ways to carve out cap space.

Muhammad Wilkerson, DL, New York Jets

Tag designation: Franchise
Tag amount: $15.701 million

After several laudable seasons, Muhammad Wilkerson put together his finest campaign in 2015. The former first-round pick registered a career-best 12 sacks and seven pass deflections. Wilkerson helped guide the New York Jets to a top-10 finish in points allowed (19.3) and a top-five ranking in Football Outsiders' DVOA metric.

At the same time, a debate exists regarding whether the Jets should move on from Wilkerson to save up resources for Sheldon Richardson and other soon-to-be free agents. The team also invested its last first-round pick in defensive lineman Leonard Williams, giving it additional options should Wilkerson depart. Wilkerson's gruesome leg injury in the season finale could also affect how general manager Mike Maccagnan views his value.