NFL Franchise Player Long-Term Deal Deadline on July 15th

The date of July 15th may just appear to be another slow stop on the long road to NFL training camps at the end of July.  But that date marks a significant event on the NFL’s “business” calendar, as it is the last day for “Franchised” players to sign a long-term deal with their teams.  If a franchised player is unable to workout a long-term deal by the end of July 15th then the player can only agree to play under the terms of their 1-year franchise deal for the upcoming NFL season (ex. Carolina Panthers DE Julius Peppers’ 1-year franchise deal is for approximately $16.7 Million).

Already as of July 14th, the Kansas City Chiefs locked-up franchised quarterback Matt Cassel by signing him to a multi-year contract extension. According to league sources, the 6-year deal is worth $63 million, with $28 million guaranteed.  The new deal is the second big jump in salary for Cassel, who played for basically for the first time since high school in 2008 when filled-in for injured teammate Tom Brady, in the last year. 

The former USC back-up quarterback already was scheduled to make $14.561 million for one year after he was designated as the New England Patriots’ franchise player in February.  But New England was soon off the hook to pay the former back-up as Cassel was traded to the Chiefs along with linebacker Mike Vrabel for a second-round draft choice during the 2009 NFL Draft.  Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said of the signing of his new franchise passer, “We are excited to be able to reach a long-term agreement for Matt Cassel to be a Kansas City Chief for many years to come, his proven leadership on and off the field will be a tremendous asset to the organization.”

You can definitely say that the whole being franchised experience has worked-out for Cassel, which seems to be a rarity in today’s NFL.  Though players will accept 1-year deals where they are paid on the level of the Top 5 players at their position, most often the loss of guaranteed money – the holy grail in the non-guaranteed contract world of the NFL – usually causes animosity between players, agents, and teams (see the case of the Eagles and former DT Corey Simon). 

Recently players and agents have become more creative in putting in contract incentives on their franchise 1-year deals that stipulate if a player reaches the agreed to incentive that the team cannot use the franchise tag in the following year and the player is free to negotiate with any team – former Patriots CB Asante Samuel moved to the Eagles under such an arrangement.

Let’s take a look at how the 14 players franchised during the Free Agency Period in February 2009 have fared so far.

LB Karlos Dansby, UFA Arizona Cardinals – signed 1-year franchise deal w/ terms for $9.678 million

LB Leroy Hill, Seattle Seahawks – was cut then re-signed by his former team w/ terms six years, $38 million

P Michael Koenen, Atlanta Falcons – signed 1-year franchise deal w/ terms for $2.483 million

TE Bo Scaife, Tennessee Titans – signed 1-year franchise deal w/ terms for $4.46 million

OT Max Starks, Pittsburgh Steelers — signed a long-term deal w/ terms four years, $25 million

S Oshiomogho “O.J” Atogwe, St Louis Rams – 

signed 1-year franchise deal w/ terms for $6.34 million

WR Antonio Bryant, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – signed 1-year franchise deal w/ terms for $9.884 million

QB Matt Cassel, NE Patriots – traded to KC then signed a long-term deal w/ terms six years, $63 million

K Shayne Graham, Cincinnati Bengals – signed 1-year franchise deal w/ terms for $2.483 million

RB Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants — signed a long-term deal w/ terms four years, $25 million

DL Julius Peppers, Carolina Panthers – signed 1-year franchise deal w/ terms for $16.7 million

CB Dunta Robinson, Houston Texans – Has not signed his 1-year franchise deal, possible holdout

RB Darren Sproles, San Diego Chargers – signed 1-year franchise deal w/ terms for $6.621 million

OLB/DE Terrell Suggs, Baltimore Ravens – signed a long-term deal w/ terms six years, $38 million guaranteed

Hopefully the only franchised player Texans CB Dunta Robinson, who has yet to sign any contract, will not holdout into training camp.  Holdouts are not good for anyone from the team to fans to the player himself and they sometimes can derail a career – see QB Akilli Smith, QB Ryan Leaf, and RB Larry Johnson. 

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

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