In a deadline-driven business, three teams are driving toward a key deadline.
For Pittsburgh, Washington, and the L.A. Rams, one day remains to sign franchise-tagged players to long-term deals. Specifically, the deadline arrives Monday at 4:00 p.m. ET.
As to the Rams, it’s a non-issue; cornerback Trumaine Johnson won’t trade in a franchise tender of nearly $17 million and a clear shot at the open market in March for a multi-year deal. “Why would he?” a source with knowledge of the situation recently told PFT.
As to Washington, two prior opportunities to get quarterback Kirk Cousins signed or a lot less than what it would cost now didn’t result in a new deal. Why would it now?
As to Pittsburgh, there’s still no indication that the team and running back Le’Veon Bell are making any progress or even having any talks. Given that he’ll make $12.1 million for 2017 and in light of the fact that the current market is 66 percent of that, the Steelers may not be inclined to use the standard approach for turning a tag into a long-term deal (i.e., the current tag plus a 20-percent raise for the next year, fully guaranteed at signing), and Bell would have no reason to agree to any other approach, since he’ll get his $12.1 million now and either a 20-percent raise if tagged again next year or an opportunity to become a free agent.
However it turns out, the clock is ticking more loudly than ever. for all three teams. Don’t be surprised if none of the three tagged players sign long-term contracts before the clock strikes four in New York on Monday.