The eight NFL teams who used the franchise tag this offseason have until 4 p.m. ET on Monday, July 15 to reach multi-year agreements with their franchised players. Otherwise, those players who received the tag would have to play out the season under their one-year tender and would not allowed to reach agreement on a multi-year contract until after his team's final regular season game.
Deadlines spur action in contract negotiations. That was certainly the case with franchised players during the 2012 offseason. An NFL-record 21 players received the tag last year and, of that group, 12 would be signed to multi-year extensions. Five of those 12 extensions were not reached until July 16, 2012, last year's deadline for the two sides to reach agreement on a multi-year deal.
Based on reports, Monday's deadline is not expected to be as busy as it was last offseason. On Sunday night, the Denver Broncos and left tackle Ryan Clady reached agreement on a five-year, $52.5 million contract that includes $33 million in guaranteed money and up to $5 million in All-Pro escalators. Clady might be the only franchise player to receive an extension.
Here's a look at where things stand with the other seven players who received the franchise tag this offseason
Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd - The 2009 second-round pick out of Oregon has 18 interceptions, two sacks and two Pro Bowl appearances during his four seasons in the NFL. Byrd's one-year tender is worth $6.916 million and remains unsigned as reports have his camp seeking a deal similar to the five-year, $40 million contract that San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle earned in 2011. No talks are scheduled to take place on Monday and ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the situation could drag into the preseason, "if not longer". The Bills, who have a new defensive coordinator (Mike Pettine) this season, have a bit of leverage in that they are currently $18.665 million under the cap and do not necessarily need an extension with Byrd to free up space.
Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton - A 2009 fourth-round pick out of Texas who missed his rookie with an ankle injury, Melton entered the Bears' starting lineup in 2011 and has emerged as a disruptive force over the last two seasons. Melton has 13 sacks during that span and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2012. The Bears used the $8.45 million franchise tag on Melton, which was signed on March 12, the first day of the 2013 league year. There has been some "chatter" between the Bears and Melton's side, but no deal is imminent. The Bears could use a deal that reduces Melton's cap number as they enter Monday with just $1.638 million in salary cap space.
Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson - The 6-foot-7, 270-pound Johnson, a third-round pick out of Georgia Tech in 2009, is coming off a season where he posted a career-high 11.5 sacks. Johnson's ability to get to opposing quarterbacks prompted the Bengals to place the $11.175 million tender on Johnson, who signed the tender on March 15. The Bengals have nearly $22 million in cap space and are not expected to reach a multi-year deal with Johnson.
Dallas Cowboys defensive end Anthony Spencer - Spencer played out the 2012 season under the franchise tag and will likely do so again in 2013. Spencer had a career season in 2012, posting 95 tackles and finished second on the Cowboys with 11 sacks. Dallas is moving to a 4-3 and Spencer will move from linebacker to defensive end. The change in overall scheme and a position shift for Spencer likely impacted negotiations and Jordan Woy, Spencer's agent, recently said that both sides are content with the one-year deal, which is worth $10,627,200.
Indianapolis Colts punter/kickoff specialist Pat McAfee - The 2009 seventh-round pick out of West Virginia set career-highs with a 40.3-yard net punting average and 26 punts placed inside the opponents' 20-yard line during the 2012 season. McAfee also had 45 touchbacks on kickoffs and his overall value on special teams prompted the Colts to use the $2.977 million franchise tag this offseason. On Sunday, Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star reported that McAfee would likely play out the 2013 season on the franchise tag and that it was not known if discussions about a long-term extension even took place.
Kansas City Chiefs left tackle Branden Albert - Before the Chiefs used the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft on Western Michigan left tackle prospect Eric Fisher, they used the $9.828 million franchise tag on Albert, who signed the tender on March 21. The Chiefs were interested in trading Albert to the Miami Dolphins, but those talks fizzled shortly after the 2013 draft. Albert and the Chiefs have talked contract, but the team has not presented a formal offer and a multi-year deal at this point appears unlikely.
Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Randy Starks - Originally selected by the Tennessee Titans in the third-round of the 2004 NFL draft, Starks went to two Pro Bowls during the five-year, $20.05 million contract he signed with the Dolphins as an unrestricted free agent in 2008. To keep Starks off the free agent market this offseason, the Dolphins used the $8.45 million franchise tag in February and the tender was signed by Starks on March 20. Reports earlier this month were that the Dolphins and Starks were not involved in contract talks, so a deal on Monday is not expected to happen.