Only three players that received franchise tag signed new, multi-year contracts with their NFL teams. It is interesting that the players and the franchises reached the agreement just hours before the deadline to sign players who are under franchise tag.
Von Miller was not pleased with the lack of multi-year contract. Super Bowl 50 MVP has repeatedly said that he does not want to play the season under franchise tag, and that will not be on the field until he gets the money he deserves. After Peyton Manning retired and several players left the team, Denver Broncos could not allow to let Von Miller skipped a single game. He is now the face of the franchise and the most important player on the team. Negotiations had many ups and downs, but in the end an agreement was reached to the satisfaction of both sides. Von Miller signed a six-year contract worth 114.5 million dollars, 70 million are guaranteed. He thus became the highest paid player who does not play quarterback.
It is rare case that teams utilize franchise tag on kicker. However, Justin Tucker is very important to Baltimore Ravens and they did not want to risk losing him. During his NFL career, Tucker has proven to be very reliable kicker. The award came in the form of a new four-year contract, worth 16.8 million dollars, with 10.8 million of guaranteed money. This is a big plus for the Baltimore Ravens, as they ensured that one of the best young kickers will remain part of the franchise.
Muhammad Wilkerson and New York Jets were very far from reaching a new deal. However, only a few minutes before the deadline came the news that Mo has signed a multi-year contract with the Gang Green. Wilkerson wanted to earn more than JJ Watt and Jets made that possible. Muhammad Wilkerson is set to earn 86 million dollars in the next five seasons, with 53 million guaranteed. Many will say that the New York Jets threw their money away, but this is a very good contract. First, the Jets keep the player that yet has to hit his prime. Mo is a very important game for the Green Gang and a key figure in the defensive line. In addition, the contract salary cap friendly in the first two seasons, so the Jets can continue negotiations with Ryan Fitzpatrick.
When Brandon Marshall got traded to the New York Jets, all believed that Alshon Jeffrey will become number one receiver for the Chicago Bears. During the preseason Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett left the Windy City, and Jay Cutler is left with only one reliable player in the offense. However, Chicago Bears decided not to offer Jeffrey big contract that will keep him in the team. Instead, Alshon will play next season under the tag and earn 14.6 million dollars. Next season he will become a free agent, and there is a possibility that he will leave Chicago then. This is a big gamble for a team that does not have the many options in offense.
Eric Berry and Kansas City Chiefs failed to reach an agreement on the extension, so that one of the best safeties will play under a franchise tag. From the start it seemed it will be very difficult for two sides to reach a deal, as neither side wanted to step down from their demands. Apparently, the biggest problem has been Chiefs insisting from Berry to sign disability policy that named the club as beneficiary. Eric had big problems with injuries, and in 2014 he won the battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Chiefs organization and fans love Barry and they want him to stay, but in this league it is always business first.
Kirk Cousins is one of the few players who did not have problem with playing under the franchise tag. From the beginning there was a little hope that Kirk and Washington Redskins will reach a deal. Franchise from the Capital is not sure that they saw enough of Kirk and does not feel good offering him big money. Captain Kirk is aware of that and has all of the next season to prove his worth.