New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees traded his franchise tag for franchise money, signing a five-year, $100 million contract after passing the team physical Sunday.
But several players saddled with the franchise tag remain, well, disenfranchised. Though the tags offer a lucrative one-year windfall by guaranteeing a salary of at least the average of the top five players in the NFL at their respective positions, players typically prefer longer-term contracts that offer more guaranteed money upfront.
Under the collective bargaining agreement signed in 2011, players with the franchise tag must work out multiple-year contracts with their teams by today at 4 p.m. ET or lose the ability to sign a long-term deal until 2013. They can still sign the one-year franchise tender offer after the deadline.
Here's where things stand with the six tagged players who had yet to sign their tenders. These players can skip training camp workouts without incurring fines from their teams:
Detroit Lions defensive end Cliff Avril (11 sacks in 2011, $10.6 million tag): Avril had been hopeful a deal would be reached but told the Detroit Free Press during the weekend that he was not "getting a good vibe." He led Detroit in sacks a year ago but has stayed away from offseason workouts.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (2,321 receiving yards, 20 touchdown catches since 2010, $9.5 million tag): Another offseason no-show, Bowe might have more work cut out for him. He had an up-and-down relationship with ex-coach Todd Haley, and the team drafted Jonathan Baldwin in the first round, giving it a prospective Bowe replacement.
Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (103.6 yards a game from scrimmage in his four-year career, $7.7 million tag): He has been stumping for a deal since last season, and his performance seems to warrant it with teammates singing his praises. New general manager Phil Emery shelled out additional money for linebacker Lance Briggs this offseason, and Forte seems to be next up. Either way, expectations are that Forte won't skip training camp even if the tag sticks.
San Francisco 49ers safety Dashon Goldson (11 interceptions since 2009, $6.2 million tag): He is coming off his first Pro Bowl season and is adept at creating turnovers. He helped the 49ers limit teams to 14.3 points a game last year, second in the league.
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice (NFL-high 2,068 yards from scrimmage in 2011, $7.7 million tag): Baltimore's offensive engine is clearly ready to be rewarded, especially after watching Arian Foster and LeSean McCoy sign monstrous deals this year. GM Ozzie Newsome has a long history of taking care of his core players, but running backs don't often have a long shelf life. Rice, 25, has carried a heavy workload the last three seasons and is slightly undersized at 212 pounds.
Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee (23-for-25 on field goal attempts in 2011, 93 points, $2.9 million tag): The needle won't move much whether or not he gets more money. But the four-year, $13 million contract the Denver Broncos used to untag Matt Prater at least provides a marker for Scobee's camp.
Oakland Raiders safety Tyvon Branch, who signed his one-year tender in May, reached a four-year agreement with the team Saturday.
Of the record 21 players who were tagged this offseason, six others are awaiting more enticing options but have at least signed their one-year tenders: Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis, Cleveland Browns kicker Phil Dawson, Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes, Cincinnati Bengals kicker Mike Nugent, Dallas Cowboys linebacker Anthony Spencer and New England Patriots wideout Wes Welker.
The other eight have secured long-term security: Brees, Prater, Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Connor Barth, Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell, Tennessee Titans free safety Michael Griffin, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, Indianapolis Colts defensive end Robert Mathis and New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford.
Most Popular Stories
- Prize hope in the can!
- The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, Va., Rob Hedelt column
- The Santa Fe New Mexican Chris Quintana column
- 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' creation chronicled in breezy 'Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted' (review)
- Fall TV news, and 'Arrested Development' returns: TV Talk this week
- Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Texas, William Kerns column
- Arts & Music Festival attracts hundreds to CSUSB [San Bernardino County Sun (CA)]
- RLJ Entertainment Introduces YouTube Paid Channels
- Cinedigm's Docurama Introduces New YouTube Channel
- Cannes 2013: For 'Blue Ruin' helmer, a new path to career-building