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Who Will Sign Their Franchise Tag Before the Deadline?

Yannick Ngakoue

The players who received a franchise tag have one week to sign it before they can no longer sign a long term extension until the last regular-season game of the 2020 season. Also after the deadline, their team exclusively holds their rights regardless if they sign or not.

In the past, there have been NFL players who have held out for new contracts. Le’Veon Bell sat out the entire 2018-19 season and left the Pittsburgh Steelers to sign with the New York Jets. This past offseason Melvin Gordon received the franchise tag from the Los Angeles Chargers and sat out four regular-season games. Gordon ended up signing with the Denver Broncos this offseason for less money than what the Chargers originally offered him.

Ten players have already signed their franchise tenders with their teams. Those include Kenyan Drake (transition tag), Bud Dupree, Anthony Harris, Derrick Henry, Hunter Henry, Matthew Judon, Brandon Scherff, Joe Thuney, Leonard Williams and most recently Dak Prescott.

However, there are five remaining players on tags who have not signed with their teams yet. Here are the five players who have not signed and whether or not they will sign their tag.

Shaquil Barrett

Shaq Barrett may be the first player in NFL History who is excited to receive the franchise tag.

Shaq Barrett emerged as one of the best pass rushers in the league last season leading the league with 19.5 sacks during his first year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers have made plenty of headlines this offseason, but a little talked about one is what will the future hold for pass rusher Shaq Barrett.

The Buccaneers signed Barrett as a linebacker rather than a defensive end which earns him $15.8 million in 2020. If Barrett can repeat or closely replicate his production from last season that got him to his first Pro Bowl and Second-Team All-Pro he will definitely be worth a lot more than that.

However, in an interview with NFL Networks Andrew Siciliano, Barrett claimed to be happy to receive the franchise tag rather than being disappointed like most other players. Barrett said his reasoning is that “it is a step in the right direction it just gives more time to get a deal done and if not it is still more money than I have ever made in my life even though I want to have a longer security but if I play the way I expect myself to play I’ll be good”.

With this in mind it would be a surprise to see Barrett not sign the franchise tag and hold out from team activities. Barrett is happy for the money he is about to receive but still wants a long term deal.

Prediction: Barrett signs franchise tender with Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers will try to find a way to keep Barrett for the long term future.

A.J. Green

aj green
AJ Green likely wants to do everything in his power to get off the Cincinnati Bengals, but he does not have much leverage. (Photo Credit: CBS Sports)

Once considered one of the best wide receivers in football, A.J. Green’s health has failed him the past couple of seasons. He missed seven games in 2018 and missed the entirety of last season due to complications from an ankle injury. Instead of letting him hit free agency though the Bengals played it safe and franchise-tagged Green for $17.9 million.

Green made the Pro Bowl in each of the first seven seasons of his career and was named a Second-Team All-Pro three times. He is also second in team history in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. But since the Cincinnati Bengals are trying to get younger they are hesitant to bring Green back on a long term deal. The team even decided to draft Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins with the first pick of the second round in this past draft. Higgins pro player comparison to many was Green.

There may not be much of a long term future for Green in Cincinnati, but the Bengals are excited about pairing up Green with first overall pick Joe Burrow for at least one season. After his recent injury history. Green will likely cave and sign the franchise tag.

Prediction: A.J. Green will sign his franchise tag with the Cincinnati Bengals. If the season gets off to a rough start the Bengals will float Green’s name in trade talks with contending teams much like what the Denver Broncos did with Emmanuel Sanders last season. 

Chris Jones

Chris Jones
Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones has already threatened to sit out if the does not receive the extension he feels he deserves.

Fresh off their Super Bowl victory the Kansas City Chiefs had to choose between keeping one of their two defensive stars Chris Jones or Kendall Fuller. The team chose to franchise tag Jones for $16.1 million and let Fuller walk to the Washington Redskins. However, the Chiefs still have not solved the problem at hand.

Jones is unhappy that he has not received a long term extension yet with the team. According to NFL Networks Mike Garafolo Jones is looking for at least $20 million a year on his new deal. In recent weeks, Jones has threatened to sit out next season. He tweeted he is not going to play if his demands or not met and said “LeVeon Bell told me about this.”

The Chiefs should take these threats extremely seriously considering they cannot lose a player like Jones on their defense. The team will struggle to generate a pass rush outside of Frank Clark. Besides Clark, Alex Okafor, Breeland Speaks and Taco Charlton will likely rotate from the other defensive end position and former third-round pick defensive tackles Derrick Nnadi and Khalen Saunders only have two career sacks combined.

Given the nature of the league and how they deal with pass rushers, it would not be surprising to see the Chiefs not cave into Jones demands and will try to prepare for him not being there. This is especially after extending Patrick Mahomes and giving him as much money as they did.

Prediction: Chris Jones will not sign the Kansas City Chiefs franchise tag. After contemplating between giving Jones a short term deal and trading him the team will decide to stand firm and not give in to his demands. Jones will sit out and the team will consider moving him during the regular season, but ultimately will let him walk when they do not receive fair compensation back in trade negotiations.

Yannick Ngakoue

Yannick Ngakoue
Star pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue has expressed that he does not want to sign a long term deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars. They respond my franchise tagging him, keeping him on their roster for 2020.
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The biggest hell-raiser out of the group of unsigned franchise tag recipients has been Yannick Ngakoue. He has stated from the beginning of free agency that he does not want to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars ever again. But the team franchise tagged him anyways. Ngakoue was tagged as a defensive end so he is slated to make $17.8 million.

In three seasons in Duval County Ngakoue had 37.5 sacks and made the Pro Bowl in 2017. Even though he has become one of the best edge rushers in football in his time he does not want to continue his career with them. Earlier there was speculation of the Giants, Eagles and Seahawks potentially trading for him. All of which he welcomed, he just wanted to get out of Jacksonville.

The team is well equipped for Ngakoue to leave. The past two years Jacksonville has drafted Josh Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson in the first round. Both are expected to be the team’s future edge rushers. But when Jacksonville was at its peak in 2017 they had a trio of talented edge rushers in Calais Campbell, Dante Fowler Jr. and Ngakoue. They could be trying to replicate that in 2020.

Unfortunately for the Jaguars, their edge-rushing trio will not likely happen and Ngakoue will be playing somewhere else next season. He doesn’t seem to be budging the slightest bit and has no plans to.

Prediction: Yannick Ngakoue doesn’t even consider signing the franchise tag with the Jacksonville Jaguars and demands a trade. Over time Jacksonville will have no other option, but to trade Ngakoue. Hopefully, for their sake they get fair compensation from the team they trade him to. 

Justin Simmons

Justin Simmons is the least discussed player who received a franchise tag last offseason and has not signed yet.

After a breakout season in 2019-20, Justin Simmons received the franchise tag from the Denver Broncos. Simmons also got Second-Team All-Pro honors last season as well.

The Denver Broncos are one of the young up and coming teams in the league. Simmons is one of the faces of the young Broncos. He has had double-digit interceptions in every one of his four seasons. The past two seasons Simmons has come close to 100 combined tackles.

Though safeties are undervalued it’s hard to imagine the Broncos letting Simmons walk in free agency next season. They will try to lock him up right away.

Prediction: Justin Simmons signs franchise tag with the Denver Broncos. Both sides try to get a long term deal done and eventually will. 

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