Deal Or No Deal: Projecting NFL Franchise Tag Decisions

Deal Or No Deal: Projecting NFL Franchise Tag Decisions

Predicting what franchised players' contracts might look like.
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Friday marks the only major day of consequence left before the start of training camp, as teams are faced with the deadline to reach a contract extension with players who were designated with the franchise tag in March. If the respective parties can’t come to a deal before then, the players will be forced to play out the 2016 season under the tag. Last year, we saw mega-deals come to fruition on the day of the deadline, including the likes of Demaryius Thomas, Dez Bryant, and Justin Houston inking new contracts. This year's class has just as much starpower hanging in the balance of these negotiations.

Here I’ll project whether each of the players can reach agreement on a new deal and for what value based on a combination of the latest news and reports, recent history, and each teams cap situation.

Alshon Jeffery, Bears

The Bears sure are going to pay the price for waiting to get this one done. The wide receiver market has exploded in the past calendar year after a slew of mega-deals reset the going rate for number one level receivers. Two years ago, Jeffery's former teammate Brandon Marshall signed a three year, $30 million extension. Jordy Nelson signed a deal in the same price range that summer. Both are arguably superior players to Jeffrey, but recent deals from T.Y. Hilton, Doug Baldwin, and Keenan Allen have raised the bar for second tier receivers. Ryan Pace hasn’t been in Chicago long enough for us to have a good inclination of how willing he is to compromise to retain top tier talent. Even though reports suggest an extension may be unlikely, the Bears lack of proven talent behind him should force them to retain their handgrown talent.

Projection: 5 Year, $67.5 Million Extension, $30 Million Guaranteed

Von Miller, Broncos

We’ve heard about this one all year long. This deal, or lack of therof, has caused ripples throughout the entire Broncos offseason, namely Brock Osweiler leaving for Houston in free agency and the lack of progress toward an Emmanuel Sanders extension. Miller is looking for a deal that will make him the highest paid non-quarterback ever, and deservedly so after his dominant performance during last year's Super Bowl run. The Broncos don’t have a ton of cap room to work with, but John Elway isn’t about to let a future Hall-of-Famer walk out the door. The two sides seem to be closing in on a deal, with many of the specifics seemingly set after the Fletcher Cox deal set the benchmark for upper echelon defensive players.

Projection: Six Year, $114.5 Million Extension, $68 Million Guaranteed

Eric Berry, Chiefs

Berry was one of the feel good stories of the 2015 season, winning the Comeback Player of the Year Award after battling cancer throughout the 2015 offseason. As much as he might mean to Kansas City, an extension seems unlikely. The two sides are reportedly not talking and still remain far apart on a new deal. The value for a high-end safety is north of $10 million per year after Earl Thomas and Harrison Smith signed new deals. The Chiefs just don’t have that kind of cap space — they're strapped over the next two years with less than $5 million available for 2017. The numbers don’t add up.

Projection: No Deal.

Muhammad Wilkerson, Jets

There's almost no way that this one is getting done. The Jets are strapped to the brim for cap space after Mike Maccagnan splurged last offseason to repair his depleted roster. Ryan Fitzpatrick’s potential new deal won’t help matters. Wilkerson is the best player on the Jets roster, but the team is loaded on the defensive line. They still need to get a new deal done with Sheldon Richardson and just spent the sixth overall pick of the 2015 Draft on Leonard Williams. Both sides still aren’t talking and Wilkerson has come out publicly to talk about his frustrations. He’s going to cost at least as much as Cox to lock up, which the Jets are in no place to do.

Projection: No Deal

Trumaine Johnson, Rams

With a dearth of picks at their disposal after the infamous RG III trade, the Rams built one of the most exciting defenses in the league almost exclusively through the draft, with Trumaine Johnson being one such pick. Even though the team still has the blockbuster Aaron Donald deal coming up in the next couple of years, as well as potential Greg Robinson and Tavon Austin extensions, they have plenty of cap room to work with. There isn’t a lot of information out there on negotiations yet, but it’d be surprising if Los Angeles let homegrown talent get out the door, especially with their lack of draft picks in the next two years.

Projection: 5 Years, $56 Million Extension, $20 Million Guaranteed

Justin Tucker, Ravens

I don’t have a hot take on this one. Expect the Ravens to lock up a building block-type player like they always do. Tucker is one of the best few kickers in the league, there’s no reason for Ozzie Newsome to let him get away.

Projection: 4 Years, $18 Million Extension, $7 Million Guaranteed

Kirk Cousins, Redskins

There’s no incentive for either side to get this deal done anytime soon. Kirk Cousins isn’t going to accept any lowball offer the Redskins might throw his way. His play over the back half of last season showed that he has the potential to perform at a high level when the surrounding talent is there, but the sample size is frighteningly small. Washington needs to wait and see if Cousins can be a franchise quarterback. If he proves to be that, they’ll have no problem signing him to a nine-figure contract extension. Signing him now risks putting the team in cap hell and, worse yet, quarterback purgatory.

Projection: No Deal

Cover Image Credit: Washington Times

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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I Wouldn't Trade My DII Experience To Play DI Athletics Any Day

I'm thankful that I didn't go DI because I wouldn't have had the best four-year experience as a college athlete.

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As a high school athlete, the only goal is to play your varsity sport at the Division 1 level in college.

No one in high school talks about going to a Division 2 or 3 school, it's as if the only chance you have at playing college athletics is at the DI level. However, there are so many amazing opportunities to play a varsity sport at the DII and DIII level that are equally fun and competitive as playing for a division 1 team.

As a college athlete at the DII level, I hear so many DI athletes wishing they had played at the DII or DIII level. Because the fact of the matter is this: the division you play in really doesn't matter.

The problem is that DII and DIII sports aren't as celebrated as Division 1 athletics. You don't see the National Championships of Division 2 and 3 teams being broadcasted or followed by the entire country. It's sad because the highest levels of competition at the DII and DIII level are competing against some of the Division 1 teams widely celebrated across the country. Yet DII and DIII teams don't receive the recognition that DI athletics do.

Not everyone can be a DI athlete but that doesn't mean it's easy to be a DII or DIII athlete. The competition is just as tough as it is at the top for DII and DIII athletes. Maybe the stakes are higher for these athletes because they have to prove they are just as good as DI athletes. Division 2 and 3 athletes have just as much grit and determination as Division 1 athletes, without the glorified title of being "a division 1 athlete."

Also, playing at the DII or DIII level grants more opportunities to make your college experience your own, not your coach's.

I have heard countless horror stories in athletics over the course of my four-year journey however, the most heartbreaking come from athletes who lose their drive to compete because of the increased pressure from coaches or program. Division 1 athletics are historically tougher programs than Division 2 or 3 programs, making an athlete's college experience from one division to another significantly different.

The best part of not going to a division 1 school is knowing that even though my team doesn't have "DI" attached to it, we still have the opportunity to do something unique every time we arrive at an event. Just because we aren't "DI" athletes, we still have the drive and competitive spirit to go to an event and win. We are great players, and we have broken countless records as a team.

That's something we all have done together, and it's something we can take with us for the rest of our lives.

We each have our own mission when it comes to our college athletic careers, however together we prove to be resilient in the fight for the title. Giving it all when we practice and play is important, but the memories we have made behind the scenes as a team makes it all worth it, too.

The best part of being apart of college athletics is being able to be passionate about your sport with teammates that embody that same mindset. It's an added benefit to having teammates who become your best friends because it makes your victories even more victorious, and your defeats easier to bare.

No matter what level an athlete is playing at in college, it's important that all the hours spent at practice and on the road should be enjoyed with teammates that make the ride worthwhile. The experiences athletes have at any level are going to vary, but the teammates I have and the success we've had together is something I cherish and will take with me forever. I'm thankful that I didn't go DI because I wouldn't have had the best four-year experience as a college athlete.

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