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Contract deadline looms for franchise-tagged players

  • By Kevin Patra NFL.com
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Ryan Clady agreeing to his five-year, $52.5 million contract Sunday left seven franchise-tagged players who have until the close of business today (4 p.m. ET) to sign a long-term contract or play in 2013 under the tag.

None of the seven appear close to an agreement. While strange things can happen as the deadline approaches, it seems Clady will be the only tagged player to get a long-term contract.

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Let's look at the individual situations as the deadline approaches.

» Branden Albert, OT (Franchise tag: $9.828 million): The Kansas City Chiefs have been talking with Albert's representatives but still haven't presented a formal offer, NFL.com's Albert Breer reported Sunday. With the leverage of No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher, the Chiefs aren't in a hurry to hand out the $50 million-plus contract Albert is seeking.

» Jairus Byrd, S ($6.9 million): Byrd is hamstrung by the tagability, if you will, of safeties. He doesn't want to play under the tender, but the Buffalo Bills don't want to pay him Eric Weddle-type guaranteed money when they can tag him at a much lower number. This situation could linger well into training camp and preseason. 

UPDATE: Breer reported Monday afternoon the Bills and Byrd will not reach a long-term contract by the deadline.

» Michael Johnson, DE ($11.175 million): The Cincinnati Bengals have the salary-cap space to sign Johnson to a long-term contract, but that just isn't the team's style. Geno Atkins' impending free agency next season could be the main reason for the lack of a deal for Johnson.

UPDATE: Johnson will play on his one-year tender, a source told Breer.

» Pat McAfee, P ($2.977 million): McAfee reportedly will play under his tag in 2013. It's unknown if the Indianapolis Colts even attempted to get a long-term contract done.

» Henry Melton, DT ($8.45 million): The Chicago Bears have gotten deals done on deadline day in the past, but it's not looking like Melton will be added to that list. The sides reportedly aren't close on a contract, and Melton didn't sound too anxious about playing this season under the tag.

UPDATE: Melton told Vaguhn McClure of the Chicago Tribune on Monday that he won't get a new contract and will play under the one-year franchise tag this season.

» Anthony Spencer, DE ($10.63 million): Talks between the Dallas Cowboys and Spencer sputtered last month as the defensive end's camp decided it was best to play this season under the tag.

» Randy Starks, DT ($8.45 million): The Miami Dolphins reportedly never made a serious effort to extend Starks and seem perfectly comfortable with their down-the-road replacements.

Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.

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