The Deadline has Passed | July 20, 2012
Monday the 16th of July was the time to sign franchised players to long term deal ended with a flurry, as general managers, players and agents alike became desperate to get them sorted so their attention could move on to training camp.
The Franchise Tag
For those of you new to the NFL, or who are just a bit confused as to what the franchise tag actually is, here is a quick rundown of how it works.
What is it?
Teams can apply the franchise tags to players who are due to enter free agency (either restricted or non-restricted) in order to prevent them from being able to negotiate with other teams. The tag can only be applied to one player per team per year and lasts for the whole season. The tag gives teams more time in which to try and sign the player to a long term deal rather than them entering free agency where they have to compete with other teams. This allows the less-competitive teams in smaller markets the chance to keep hold of their franchise player as well as allowing the more competitive teams the ability to hold a top player for one more year in which they may feel they could compete for the Superbowl.
The franchise tag is financially rewarding for players with them earning whichever is the greater value of either 120% of their previous year’s salary or the average of the top 5 paid players at their position. Despite getting paid well for the tag the players are not always happy to be franchised as they may feel they deserve a long term deal or wanted the chance to move to a different team via free agency. If a player is not happy over being franchised he has the option to not sign the tender and hold out, for potentially the whole season, and try and put the pressure on their teams to sign them to a long term contract.
This offseason a total of 21 players were franchised which is a record in the NFL. Of them 12 signed long term deals leaving 9 players potentially playing under the tag this season and becoming free agents next season.
Long term deals
The following players signed long term deals with their teams; Connor Barth K TB, Tyvon Branch S Oakland, Drew Brees QB NO, Calais Campbell DE Arizona, Matt Forté RB Chicago, Michael Griffin S Tennessee, DeSean Jackson WR Philadelphia, Robert Mathis DE Indianapolis, Matt Prater K Denver, Ray Rice RB Baltimore, Josh Scobee K Jaguars and Steve Weatherford P Giants.
Monday saw three players sign long term deals ensuring they will be in camp in the coming weeks and giving them every opportunity to be at their very best come the start of the season. Of the three players Ray Rice and Matt Forté are the two most crucial to their team because last season the offence rolled through them with Ray Rice leading the team in rushes and receptions and Forté’s worth being proved by how much the team struggled when he got injured.
Drew Brees’ finally got paid and it was a massive pay day with him getting $40million in the first year alone and $100million overall but after the off season that the Saints have had this year his positive influence and leadership will be worth every penny.
Signed Franchise Tenders
These 6 players have signed their franchise tenders and teams will expect to see them in training camp; Fred Davis TE Washington, Phil Dawson K Cleveland, Brent Grimes CB Atlanta, Mike Nugent K Cincinnati, Anthony Spencer Dallas and Wes Welker WR New England.
Wes Welker is the biggest name here and has every right to feel a little annoyed having seen Rob Gronkowski (who still had a year on his contract) getting paid the big money while still he was not getting what he felt he deserved. Talk has begun that this could be Welker’s final year in New England but it’s hard to see Tom Brady letting his favourite target walk out the door without at least doing all he can to persuade the two sides to come together but the New England way is hard to change.
Potential Hold Outs
The final three players have yet to sign their franchise tender for the 2012 season meaning they could miss some, or all, of training camp; Cliff Avril DE Detroit, Dwayne Bowe WR Kansas City and Dashon Goldson S San Francisco.
All three of these players were huge parts of their team last season with Dwayne Bowe being potentially the most critical to his team of the three due to his great ability to go up and get the ball. The Chiefs will miss him greatly if he holds out because after him there is not a great amount of ability at wideout with second year receiver Baldwin having great potential but also the bonehead factor, as shown by his rookie preseason antics.
Cliff Avril is a massive part of the young aggressive defensive line that Jim Schwartz has been building up in Detroit. He provides the outside rush which allows the interior linemen, Suh and Fairley, the opportunity to only have to compete 1 on 1 with the offensive linemen and leads to a lot of the success they have had from that position so he will be a huge loss if things do not get sorted.
The San Francisco defence was absolutely stunning last year and their secondary capitalised on the fantastic work that their linemen and line backers did in creating pressure on the Quarterback so for them to keep a virtually identical set of defenders back there is fantastic and should hopefully allow them to dominate the game and keep them in contention even if their offence is not firing on all cylinders
Let’s hope that all the players that haven’t currently signed the tender go into camp and work hard to prove to their teams that they deserve the long term contract that they are looking for because it would be a shame for fans to be deprived the opportunity to see three great players doing what they do best.