Posted July 15, 2013

Tracking the franchise tags: Ryan Clady signs, Branden Albert fails to get deal done

Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins
Branden Albert and the Chiefs are looking to get a long-term deal done before the franchise-tag deadline.

Branden Albert could not join fellow tackle Ryan Clady in landing a long-term deal. (Ed Zurga/AP)

Eight players were handed the franchise-tag designation by their respective teams this offseason: Branden Albert, Jairus Byrd, Ryan Clady, Michael Johnson, Pat McAfee, Henry Melton, Anthony Spencer and Randy Starks. Those players had until Monday afternoon to turn those one-year tag tenders into contracts that run beyond 2013.

Only Clady and the Broncos managed to get anything done before the clock ran out, meaning the other seven players could hit free agency after the 2013 season. Here’s an updated look at where everyone stands, as of late Monday afternoon:

Branden Albert, OT, Chiefs: Signed franchise-tag tender ($9.828 million). Albert seemed to be closest, other than Ryan Clady, to locking down a long-term deal. Instead, these discussions never really got anywhere, meaning Albert will play out his contract and could hit free agency next offseason.

Jairus Byrd, S, Bills: Tagged; yet to sign tender ($6.916 million). Byrd’s contract demands proved too much for the Bills, so the safety will work now on a one-year window. Since he has not signed his tender, however, he could hold out through at least training camp — and possibly into the regular season — to avoid injury.

Ryan Clady, OT, Broncos: Agreed to five-year, $52.5 million contract. The anchor of the Broncos’ offensive line will be sticking around for awhile. Clady and the Broncos came to terms on Sunday night.

Michael Johnson, DE, Bengals: Signed franchise-tag tender ($11.175 million). There was no real progress between Johnson and the Bengals leading up to Monday, and the Bengals defensive end sounded resigned to hitting free agency next offseason. Right on cue, the deadline came and went without any movement. Cincinnati has several key players on the verge of becoming free agents after 2013, including DT Geno Atkins.

Pat McAfee, P, Colts: Signed franchise-tag tender ($2.977 million). The tag price for kickers and punters makes McAfee a relative bargain for 2013. Though he would have preferred to avoid playing out this season under that one-year deal, the Colts had little need to explore further negotiations.

Henry Melton, DT, Bears: Signed franchise-tag tender ($8.45 million). Melton signed his tender way back in March — eliminating the possibility of a holdout. A second franchise tag for Melton, prior to next season, would cost the Bears about $10.1 million. Melton told the Chicago Tribune on Monday that no contract was forthcoming, meaning that he and the Bears will have to revisit the situation next summer.

Anthony Spencer, OLB, Cowboys: Signed franchise-tag tender ($10.627 million). Spencer’s tender is elevated because this is the second straight year he’s been tagged by the Cowboys. A long-term deal was unlikely to pay Spencer more than what he’s set to receive, so his motivation to sign anything else was minimal.

Randy Starks, DT, Dolphins: Signed franchise-tag tender ($8.45 million). Starks badly wanted a new contract, but his situation also never really moved forward all that much. Starks skipped voluntary offseason workouts, then showed for mandatory minicamp.


Col·lu·sion [kuh-loo-zhuhn] : noun
1. a secret agreement, especially for fraudulent or treacherous purposes; conspiracy: Some of his employees were acting in collusion to rob him.
2. Law. a secret understanding between two or more persons to gain something illegally, to defraud another of his or her rights, or to appear as adversaries though in agreement: collusion of husband and wife to obtain a divorce.


@JamesMartin James - you missed the mark on this one.  The benefit for the players of the franchise tag is that their salary for the coming season is the average of the top five at their position in the NFL.  If the owners were colluding, then they would not have offered the franchise tag, then (since they're colluding, as you ridiculously claim) the owners would be able to sign the players at a reduced rate.  Look at their salaries.  Nothing says "reduced rate" there.  

The franchise tag is offered by the team so they can try to keep the player.  (At a top salary).  Now, let's look at the players where an agreement could not be reached:

Byrd - Safety, Buffalo.  The Bills do not want to pay more than the $6.9 Million they are already paying a safety.  Nothing unusual there.

Brandon Albert - OT Kansas City.  Why would a new Head Coach want to be potentially hamstrung by an older OT with injury issues?  

Michael Johnson - DE Cincinnati.  Why would the Bengals pay more than $11.25 Million?

Pat McAfee - P Indianapolis - Why pay SO much to a Punter?  Even one as good as McAfee?

Henry Melton - DE Chicago.  He's good, but is he worth more than $8.45 Million per year?

Anthony Spencer - OLB Dallas Same comment as Melton, but with a slightly different salary.

Randy Starks - DT Miami - Why would he be worth more than his franchise tag?

Sorry for being too verbose, but I truly do not see any evidence of collusion?


@JamesMartinSince you seem to know your way around a dictionary, do your thing on the word negotiation.   These guys signed for between about $3 mil and $11 mil annually.  Nobody got robbed here.  Or colluded against.  Or defrauded. 


@JamesMartin What are you talking about? These situations were negotiations between one team and one player, as governed by the rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement that the players' union agreed to. You seriously think these seven teams all got together to NOT sign their free agents, many of whom have already signed a one-year tender for multiple millions of dollars? That's just stupid.


@John4 @JamesMartin Players place more value in longer term contracts.  Injury and dropoffs in production can lower their value in the future, so getting those contracts done while they are still healthy and productive is big.