The big waves of player movement are long past us in the 2023 NFL offseason. But that doesn't mean a few more big-name transactions aren't possible, especially with the approach of the annual franchise tag deadline.
What is the deadline? When does it occur? And which players will be affected by it? Here's everything you need to know:
When is the franchise tag deadline?
The 2023 deadline is Monday, July 17, at 4 p.m. ET. Typically, the deadline falls on July 15 each year, but since that date occurs on a Saturday in 2023, it was pushed to the following week.
What is the deadline?
Every year, teams can retain top free agents by applying the tag -- a one-year, fully guaranteed contract. But players who receive the tag are not permitted to sign new multi-year deals with their team after the deadline (July 17). That means if they do not agree to a long-term contract by the deadline, they can only play the 2023 season under the one-year tag.
What can players do after the deadline?
If a player who received the tag has yet to reach a new long-term deal with his team by the deadline, odds are the two sides are not close in negotiations. And players are not required to sign their tag. So one option is to hold out; if they refuse to sign, they are technically not under contract, and therefore cannot be fined for skipping practice and/or games, though they'd eventually forfeit the tag's guaranteed salary. The only other option is to sign the tag and play the season under the one-year deal.
Which players are affected in 2023?
The following players received the franchise tag but have yet to reach a long-term deal:
- Giants RB Saquon Barkley ($10.09 million tag)
- Raiders RB Josh Jacobs ($10.09M)
- Cowboys RB Tony Pollard* ($10.09M)
- Jaguars TE Evan Engram ($11.3M)
Note: Pollard is not signed long-term, but unlike the other three, he has signed his tag, securing a guaranteed one-year salary for 2023. Two other players -- Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and Commanders defensive lineman Daron Payne -- also received the tag this offseason but later reached long-term deals with their respective teams.
Pollard is the only tentative lock to suit up for his current team in 2023, and there is seemingly "no urgency" between he and Dallas to strike a long-term deal, according to. That's probably because both sides are content to use 2023 as a prove-it year, with Pollard taking over as the Cowboys' lead back for the first time in his career.
Engram and the Jaguars have repeatedly expressed mutual interest in a long-term deal, and Corry envisions the former Giants prospect eyeing at least $13.6M per year, after the Browns' David Njoku netted that per-year total on a 2022 extension. In the event an extension doesn't happen, Engram figures to sign the tag and re-test his market in 2024 free agency.
Barkley and Jacobs are the bigger wild cards. The former reportedly turned down a long-term offer from the Giants, who in turn pulled an offer from the table, as the team worked to extend QB Daniel Jones before free agency. While Barkley desires to stay in New York, where he enjoyed a career rejuvenation in 2022, his availability for Week 1 would be in "serious question" if a long-term deal does not get done, per ESPN.
Jacobs has been thewith the Raiders, teasing a holdout that extends into the season after a breakout of his own. If Las Vegas doesn't meet his demands for a long-term deal, it's possible the team could rescind the tag or explore a trade of the Pro Bowler.