Happy Franchise Tag Day. What, you aren't throwing office parties or tendering your loved ones one-year contract offers?
Yeah, so there are bigger days on the NFL calendar than July 16. But this is all we have with the start of training camps still a week away. Twelve franchise-tagged players remain without long-term contracts, and teams have until 4 p.m. ET to work out a deal with them. If the deadline passes, the players can only play this season under the terms of the tag.
With help from our Around the League contract guru Brian McIntyre, I've ranked the remaining 12 players in terms of likelihood to get a deal on Monday.
We'd be shocked if these players got a deal Monday
Crazier things have happened
7. Cliff Avril, Detroit Lions DE: Despite Avril's previous optimism, it's hard to imagine Detroit paying the going rate for a young pass rusher like Avril. The Lions have too many future deals to worry about.
6. Wes Welker, New England Patriots WR: This is where McIntyre and I disagree. He ranked Welker third most likely. The Patriots aren't in the habit of making up big contractual ground at deadlines. Welker would have to cave. Both sides seem comfortable enough with a one-year deal.
So you're saying there's a chance?
4. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens RB: I was fully confident all along that Drew Brees would get a deal because it made too much sense not to happen. I don't feel as strongly about Ray Rice, but the same logic applies despite reports the two sides are far apart. The Ravens usually take care of their own. Remember: They signed Haloti Ngata on Franchise Tag Day, too.
UPDATE: The Ravens and Rice agreed to terms on a five-year deal worth $35 million with escalators to $40 million, a source told NFL.com and NFL Network's Albert Breer.
This shouldn't be so difficult
1. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears RB: NFL Network's Michael Lombardi said Forte and the Bears were "extremely close" to a deal before the weekend. All signs from the Bears of late have been positive. It appears the P.R. war might be wearing the Bears down because they don't really need to sign Forte long-term.