There is a short time remaining for long-term contracts.
The deadline for franchise-tagged players to work out long-term deals is now less than a week away as Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET draws near. That is the deadline for any club that designated a franchise player to sign said player to a multi-year contract. Following Wednesday, a tagged player cannot sign an extension until after the final game of the upcoming regular season.
Thus far, of the 14 players tagged, 10 have signed their tenders and none have agreed to long-term contracts.
With the "economic uncertainty" due to the unpredictable future amid the COVID-19 pandemic, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday that it appears as if several will be playing on their one-year deals, including Tampa Bay edge Shaq Barrett, Washington guard Brandon Scherff and Jacksonville pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue.
Those who are remaining to sign their tags are Ngakoue, Denver safety Justin Simmons, Cincinnati wide receiver A.J. Green and Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones.
Players Who Signed Franchise Tender
Projected 2020 Salary
DAL QB Dak Prescott $31.4M
TEN RB Derrick Henry $10.3M
LAC TE Hunter Henry $10.6M
NE G Joe Thuney $14.8M
WAS G Brandon Scherff $15.0M
NYG DT Leonard Williams $16.1M
BAL LB Matthew Judon $16.8M
PIT LB Bud Dupree $15.8M
MIN S Anthony Harris $11.4M
Of the franchised 14, each of them has their own story, but, as a whole, few seem destined for long-term signings, many seem to have some contention with the tag and at least two are filing grievances regarding the positions they were designed at.
Barrett signed his tender on Friday, but likewise filed a grievance as he believes he should be designated as a defensive end rather than a linebacker. Steelers standout Bud Dupree inked his tender back on April 23, but followed Barrett's lead in a grievance as he looks for a defensive end's share as compared to a linebacker's. Linebackers' projected 2020 salary stands at $15.8 million, while defensive ends command $17.8 million. It's a situation Baltimore's Matthew Judon navigated with the Ravens, making a contractual compromise at $16.8 million, per Rapoport.
The most high-profile are Dallas' QB1 – Dak Prescott – and Tennessee's freight train in the backfield – Derrick Henry.
As of a week prior to the deadline, nothing had changed for Prescott, who was looking for less years than Dallas was offering.
Henry's coach, Mike Vrabel, most recently spoke of his running back's importance to the team -- which was never more evident than the Titans' march to the AFC Championship Game last season in which Henry racked up yards and knocked down would-be tacklers – and that, in his experience, patience usually paid dividends.
Players Who Have Not Signed Franchise Tender
Projected 2020 Salary
CIN WR A.J. Green $17.9M
KC DT Chris Jones $16.1M
JAX DE Yannick Ngakoue $17.8M
TB LB Shaquil Barrett $15.8M
DEN S Justin Simmons $11.4M
Los Angeles tight end Hunter Henry doesn't seem to expect an extension and is simply "not worried about it."
At one point in the offseason, though a franchise tag was expected, it seemed as if a long-term pact between Simmons and the Broncos was impending, but nothing has come to fruition as the deadline draws near.
Green is coming off a season in which an injured ankle never allowed him to put his foot on the field. He previously spoke of his dismay at the prospect of being tagged and, as aforementioned, has yet to put pen to tender.
Where it gets particularly curious is on the defensive line with Jones and the Super Bowl champions and Ngakoue and the rebuilding Jaguars. Ngakoue has done little to mince his words when it comes to letting it be known he'd like his days in Duval to be done. As for Jones, he'd like to be paid among the very elite at his position "or I won't play."
With Jones, Ngakoue, Green and Simmons, the worry about a holdout remains until the tenders are signed, thoughts of Le'Veon Bell and lost seasons no doubt dancing through their general managers' minds.
Temperatures are rising and the deadline for long-term deals is getting closer. Indeed, things could well be heating up as Wednesday approaches.