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Mailbag: Why Is There A Franchise Tag Deadline?


Why is there a rule that we have a deadline of July 15 to reach a contract extension with a franchise tagged player and can't negotiate a new contract until after the year? What's the problem with negotiating into the season like you can with other players? — JEFF NEISTEIN / WOODLAND HILLS, CA

Jonny: There's a similar deadline for extensions in the NBA, and I think part of the reasoning is that it creates an environment for more transparent and good faith negotiating. Writers like Dave and I know deadlines are when we get things done in our world, and agents would say the same thing about their world. I don't think it would be productive for a team to keep saying, "Well, let's just see how you play next week, and then maybe we'll talk extension."

David: Jonny makes an excellent point that it hardly sound healthy for each individual game to sway the state of negotiations. I think another reason for the deadline is to create a sense of urgency for a deal. The franchise tag is good for league parity, but it's not exactly fair for players. It completely contradicts the capitalism that drives every other industry in this country. So in exchange for protecting their bottom line, I think the deadline spurs teams to reward the tagged player and give him the long-term security he wants. It doesn't always work out that way, but that's the idea.

What if Dak Prescott misses a few games and Dalton steps up and the Cowboys don't miss a beat? Similar to what happened with Teddy Bridgewater and the Saints last year. Would it still make sense to throw buckets of cash at Prescott when there is evidence that the team can win without him? — BRIAN SAMBIRSKY / SPRING, TX

Jonny: The Saints gave Drew Brees another contract and Teddy Bridgewater is on another team, and I don't think New Orleans even considered any other scenario. Dalton being competent was always true, so I don't know if you should evaluate Dak's value based on Dalton doing what he's always done. Kansas City has a ton of great offensive weapons. I bet Dalton would be able to step up and win a few midseason games for the Chiefs. Would you say that would have any bearing on the Mahomes contract?

David: I guess my question would be: what's your game plan for the next season? Teddy Bridgewater signed a lucrative deal with Carolina off the strength of his five starts in New Orleans. If Dalton were to do something similar, you wouldn't be able to get him for the same cheap price you did in 2020. Now, obviously I get your point. Even Dalton on a bigger deal is cheaper than Dak. He's also not as good of a quarterback. I'd rather pay the premium for the better QB entering his prime.

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