UPDATED: NFL Franchise Tag Deadline Looming…Deals Abound or Down?

By Ha Kung Wong

Twitter: @FBGarbageTime

With Wednesday, July 15 at 4 PM ET fast approaching, the deadline for signing players designated by an NFL franchise tag to a long term deal is looming large.  And with regard to two of the higher profile wide receivers in this position, Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas, there’s also this mess to deal with:

And of course, at least the Broncos deny it:

But that’s a whole other conversation, and in all honesty, looks to have been more of a bargaining chip for getting a long term contract on the table (Update: Though the similarity of contracts that Dez and Demaryius received is a little suspicious).  So let’s now take a quick look at some of the more notable franchise tags that have yet to be signed.

Dez Bryant

As Cowboy fans around the country are aware, after losing Demarco Murray, there will have to be either (1) an incredible renaissance with Darren McFadden or (2) a lot more Dez Bryant for the Cowboys to be successful on offense.  And the Cowboys were also aware of that and franchised Dez Bryant to the tune of $12.8 million.  But that’s not enough for Dez, as he wants a long term deal.  In fact, he wants “Calvin Johnson money” (aka about $16 million per year).  Perhaps he’s worth it, in light of the lack of weapons remaining in Dallas.  But even though beat reporter and Cowboy’s insider Mike Fisher reports that there isn’t any friction between Dez Bryant and the Cowboys…

https://twitter.com/FBGarbageTime/status/617343137183342592

…So far there’s been little movement on the Cowboy’s side.  So now Dez is threatening to hold out:

The Cowboys have at least come up to offer over $12.8 million a year:

But apparently that’s still not enough for Dez.  Holding out really does nothing for Dez as he can’t sign a long term contract after the deadline passes and the season starts anyway.  And I can’t imagine he really wants to risk the $12 million that he would get under the franchise tag.

But then again, this is Dez Bryant we’re talking about, so weirder things have happened.

UPDATE (July 15 – 2:47 PM ET): Dez Bryant has signed a long term deal with the Dallas Cowboys worth $70 million over 5 years.  His $45 million guaranteed dollars is more than Calvin Johnson’s $43.75 million guaranteed dollars.

Demaryius Thomas

Demaryius Thomas was also tagged and is also critical to the Broncos in light of the Julius Thomas departure.  And Thomas ALSO wants “Calvin Johnson money”.  I think from now on, I’m not going to say that I want to be “independently wealthy”, I’m going to start saying I want to be “Calvin Johnson rich”.  By the way, did you know that Thomas’ Net Worth is $9.5 million?  Heck, I guess I’d be happy to be just “Demaryius Thomas rich”.  At any rate, the Broncos apparently offered Thomas a long term deal somewhere north of $12 million a year, but that wasn’t enough for Thomas.

Looks like Thomas may be playing for a big payday during the next free agency, which may make sense with Peyton Manning likely to wrap up his career after the 2015 season.

Update (July 15 – 3:35 PM ET): Demaryius Thomas has signed a long term deal with the Denver Broncos worth $70 million over 5 years, but “only” $43.5 million is guaranteed.

Justin Houston

So Justin Houston can’t want “Calvin Johnson money”, can he?  No, being a defensive player, he probably wants “J.J. Watt money”.  But he can’t dance like J.J. Watt, so maybe they can get him at a discount?

Anyway, there wasn’t much movement for quite some time, but it looks like there’s some signs that progress will be made in advance of the deadline.

So talk’s have resumed, but whether it’ll be completed in time is yet to be determined.  Houston had a breakout 2014 with 22 sacks, but whether he can keep up the pace is yet to be seen, so the Chiefs may be gun-shy about a long term deal.  If nothing else, it appears that Ian Rapoport is most optimistic about Houston getting a deal done.  And we all know he has a sixth sense for these things:

UPDATE (July 15 – 11:57 AM ET):  Justin Houston has signed a long term deal with the Kansas City Chiefs worth $101 million over 6 years.  That’s the second richest deal in NFL history behind Ndamukong Suh.

Jason Pierre-Paul

We’ve probably all had about enough of the entire JPP vs. Fireworks saga, so let’s just say that we’re looking at a “rock and hard place” scenario.  The Giants once had a $60 million deal on the table, but rescinded it in light of JPP’s accident.  So now JPP is stuck with signing the tag, which he won’t do until he’s healthy enough to play so he doesn’t risk being put on the Non-Football Injury list.  What happens next is anyone’s guess.  Maybe he’ll be the next Ronnie Lott.  Then again, I doubt the Giants want to count on that as they couldn’t even count on JPP keeping all his fingers in the off season.

UPDATE (July 15 – 4:08 PM): Jason Pierre-Paul doesn’t get a long term deal and signs his franchise tender.

We’ll keep an eye out, so keep checking back for updates as the deadline approaches!

UPDATE (JULY 15 – 2:23 PM): And for those of you who were concerned, kicker Stephen Gostkowski signs a 4 year deal worth $17.2 million in advance of the franchise tag deadline.

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