2017 NFL franchise tag
What is to come of the players who have not signed their 2017 NFL franchise tag contract? (Jason Bridge/USA TODAY Sports)

This has been a quiet 2017 NFL offseason so far. However, with OTA’s in the review mirror and training camp on the horizon, we can expect a noisier June and July.

A few months ago, seven players were franchised tagged by their respective teams. Below is the player’s name, team name, and how much their one-year tendered contract was worth.

Kirk Cousins (QB) – Washington Redskins – $23,940,000
Jason Pierre-Paul (DE) – New York Giants – $16,934,000
Trumaine Johnson (CB) – Los Angeles Rams – $16,742,000
Chandler Jones (DE) – Arizona Cardinals – $14,550,000
Melvin Ingram (OLB) – Los Angeles Chargers – $14,550,000
Kawann Short (DT) – Carolina Panthers – $13,378,000
Le’Veon Bell (RB) – Pittsburgh Steelers – $12,120,000

Since receiving the tag, four of the seven players have signed lucrative, multiple year deals. Those players are:

Chandler Jones – 5 year/$83,000,000 ($53,000,000 guaranteed)
Kawann Short – 5 year/$80,500,000 ($45,000,000 guaranteed)
Melvin Ingram – 4 year/$66,000,000 ($42,000,000 guaranteed)
Jason Pierre-Paul – 4 year/$62,000,000 ($40,000,000 guaranteed)

However, not every player has been able to negotiate a long-term deal. What can we expect each of these players that have “been left out in the cold”?

Kirk Cousins

NFL franchise tag
Kirk Cousins and the Redskins appear to be nowhere close to a finalized, long-term deal  (James Lang/USA TODAY Sports)

Outside of the 2017 NFL draft, the Washington Redskins have shown complete and utter dysfunction as a franchise so far this offseason. Back in mid-March, Chick Hernandez of CSNMidAtlantic.com reported,

Franchised quarterback Kirk Cousins will not negotiate a long-term deal with the team as long as Bruce Allen is the team president.

Later in May, Kirk Cousins told reporters,

“As one person has told me, deadlines do deals. That’s just kind of a rule in negotiating, so why would something happen way before a deadline? It just doesn’t make sense. I’m not in a hurry, they’re not in a hurry, so we’ll just see how things go. I’m being patient. I feel like when it comes to the contract, I have gotten reps now. I am getting used to answering questions and going through this now the second time through so I am not a rookie anymore when it comes to this stuff.”

Cousins went on to say,

“It is a similar deal here too. It has been very positive. I have had really positive conversations with everybody involved throughout the process this offseason. I feel like everybody is on the same page and I really have nothing further to add to what has already been said. So I feel good about where I am at, where this team is at, where my teammates are at. And so it is just a matter of trying to move forward and we will see what happens come July 15. It will be a telling date as it was last summer.”

Over the last two seasons, Cousins has made $43,890,000. This is a gamble on the Washington Redskins. It does not appear as though Cousins has any intentions of holding out. However, neither does a long-term contract. If Cousins can piece together a great 2017 campaign, he will demand a high price tag this offseason, and it appears that offer will not come from the Washington Redskins.

Trumaine Johnson

NFL franchise tag
There have been discussions within the Rams organization about possible franchise tagging Trumaine Johnson again in 2018 (Jeff Haynes/AP Photo)

Apparently, before the Los Angeles Rams placed a franchise tag on their most consistent defensive back, they tried to trade him. Welcome to the business that is the National Football League. Like Cousins, this is Johnson’s second consecutive year of the franchise tag. Last season, his one-year contract was worth close to $14,000,000. In just two seasons, Johnson will have earned $30,742,000.

Back in January, when asked about what direction he desires he replied,

“I don’t know what the future holds. We’ll see, man. We’ll see.”

It appears that Johnson does not have much confidence that his organization will get a long-term deal done before the deadline. In the same breath, he seems to be fine with his current situation. After all, he will be the second highest paid cornerback this season behind Josh Norman of the Washington Redskins who is set to make $24,000,000 (including salary and bonuses).

At this stage, it is evident that Trumaine Johnson will once again play with a one-year tendered contract.

Le’Veon Bell

NFL franchise tag
Le’Veon Bell may hold out of training camp until he gets the extension he thinks he deserves (Al Tielemans for Sports Illustrated/The MMQB)

Why the Steelers have not negotiated an extension to one of their “core” guys is beyond me. With little question, Le’Veon Bell is one of the best running backs in the National Football League. Surprisingly to some, his one-year tendered contract was the lowest of the seven players that received a franchise tag (this is because running back is one of the lowest paid positions in the NFL).

Le’Veon Bell is the only player, of the seven, that has yet to sign his franchise tag agreement, which means he is unable to participate in “team activity”. This caused him to skip OTA’s and may cause him to miss training camp.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Ben Roethlisberger told reporters,

“I’m not worried about the chemistry, but I wish he’d be here just because he’s one of the pieces to our puzzle. I know he can’t participate because I don’t think he’s 100 percent healthy, but it would be nice to see him here just in terms of the chemistry and learning and being a part of this process. But obviously, it’s up to him.”

The only leverage Le’Veon Bell has at this point is holding out until the Steelers and his party arrive in agreeance on contractual terms. Bell has been atop of his game since he entered the league a few seasons ago:

Both sides have until July 15 to negotiate and work out a long-term deal. Kirk Cousins and Trumaine Johnson have until then to reach an agreement, and if they do not, they will suit up for the 2017 season under the one-year tendered contract. Le’Veon Bell’s situation is different because he did not sign his franchise tag contract.

Unlike Cousins and Johnson, it appears that Bell will continue to hold out until a multiple-year extension agreement is reached. Le’Veon Bell has piled up solid numbers over the last four seasons. Will his bank account follow suit?

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