With the July 15th deadline behind us, NFL teams are no longer permitted to grant an extension to players currently on the franchise tag. As a result, multiple superstars around the league are forced to play on a one-year deal in hopes of receiving a future payday.
Of the 13 players who are undergoing the franchise tag for the 2020 season, three names in particular stand out.
Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott
After unexpectedly taking over for veteran Tony Romo in his rookie season, Prescott was crowned the 2016 Rookie of the Year and was later named to two Pro Bowls. In his rookie season, he led the Cowboys to an NFC-best 13-3 regular season record. The following year, Prescott was responsible for a league-high four game-winning drives.
Without missing a start in each of the last four seasons, Prescott has been recognized as one of the more durable quarterbacks around the league. His 2020 salary amounts to $31.4M; fourth among quarterbacks for next season.
After career-highs in passing yards (4,092) and passing touchdowns (30) last season, the Cowboys and Prescott couldn’t make progress on an extension within the last hour of the deadline. While an extension is somewhat inevitable, the two sides can’t seem to get on the same page when it comes to the duration of the new deal.
Jacksonville Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue
Despite requesting a trade from the Jaguars, his trade stock decreases significantly without an extension. With the ongoing pandemic and uncertainty, trading for Ngakoue proves to be a risk. His 2020 salary of $17.8M ranks fifth among defensive ends for the upcoming season.
Across the last four seasons, his 37.5 sacks rank second in Jaguars history. During the same stretch, he has compiled 14 forced fumbles; fourth in the NFL during that span. He is clearly one of the best pass-rushers in the game, and while he ultimately deserved an extension based on merit, it further complicates the relationship between the two sides.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Shaquill Barrett
In his first season as a full-time starter, Barrett led the league with 19.5 sacks. One year later, his $15.8M franchise tag ranks sixth among outside linebackers for next season.
According to the latest reports, Barrett has clearly stated he wants to remain in Tampa Bay on a long-term extension. The unique perspective around it all involves Tom Brady, who has been reliant on the success of his defense in the twilight stages of his career. With a young and upcoming talent in Barrett under contract, the Buccaneers won’t be forced to put up insane offensive figures against NFC South teams like the New Orleans Saints (fifth in PPG in 2019) and the Atlanta Falcons (13th).