The contract extension deadline for players under the franchise tag is coming up, and it seems that for the Chicago Bears (with Alshon Jeffery), New York Jets (with Muhammad Wilkerson) and the Los Angeles Rams (with Trumaine Johnson) there isn’t enough time to make a deal.
Johnson is on the books to make $13.9 million next season under the franchise tender, but seeing as his former teammate and secondary partner Janoris Jenkins landed a big deal with the New York Giants this offseason, with $12.5 million on average in salary and more than $28 million in guaranteed money, Johnson is disappointed he isn’t seeing the same kind of offer from the Rams, who don’t intend to give him anything of the sort.
Jeffery and the Bears are in the same boat. He’s due to make $14.5 million next season, but his eyes are on a long term deal that’s about that kind of money, but on a four-five year term, not to mention north of $25 million in guarantees, something the Bears aren’t willing to do.
It’s a bit different for Wilkerson compared to Johnson and Jeffery. The Rams and Bears want them. The Jets have been trying to get rid of Wilkerson from the moment the offseason began, only they haven’t been able to find a trade partner, and the whole story seems a bit like Darrelle Revis going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, later returning to the Jets after winning a ring with the New England Patriots. One difference is the depth the Jets have in the front seven, which makes Wilkerson a bit more expendable.
If the deals aren’t reached this week, it becomes a question of whether the players will sign the tender or not. Those who don’t sign, can hold out on training camp and games without losing any money, until something else is signed. In any case, the franchise tag will one of the heavily contested items the next time a CBA is being negotiated, as a number of players and ex-players have spoken on the unfairness of the situation during this week, as it seems a number of teams are taking advantage of the situation to avoid giving players long term deals unless they make a serious “hometown” discount.