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Winners and losers from frantic Franchise Tag Friday

Say goodbye to the NFL offseason.

Friday brought a flood of news and moves to our doorstep as a handful of teams handed out massive, long-term extensions ahead of the 4 p.m. ET deadline.

It was more than just money being tossed around, though, as Tom Brady finally stuck a pin in Deflategate, ensuring -- well, barring antics from the NFLPA -- that New England's star quarterback will endure his four-game ban to start the year. By the end of Friday, Brady wasn't the only player set to face a season-opening suspension.

Here's a look at the winners and losers from a bustling day in the NFL:


Von Miller's checking account: In the end, John Elway did what he needed to do, turning his All-Pro pass rusher into the wealthiest defensive player in NFL history. Insiders close to Miller insist he was serious about sitting out the year, a setback that would have sunk Denver's season. This was the rare case of a franchise-tagged player exhibiting leverage over his team, even if we never really expected Elway to let Miller float away. With this oft-edgy standoff finally over, it's time for the Broncos to figure out who will start under center when the Panthers arrive seeking revenge in Week 1.

Muhammad Wilkerson and Mike Maccagnan: Bustling news days always come packed with a stunner. The Jets didn't disappoint on Friday, announcing well after the 4 p.m. ET deadline that Wilkerson, their monstrous defensive lineman, had signed a deal that will pay him more than Houston's J.J. Watt. Nobody saw this coming, not even Wilkerson, who publicly lashed out at the Jets, held out of minicamp and refused to ink his tender. Credit goes to Maccagnan, the industrious second-year general manager, who found a way to get this deal done in the 11th hour. If Gang Green ultimately signs the elusive Ryan Fitzpatrick, a shaky offseason suddenly looks bright.

Justin Tucker: NFL agents have been known to muddy the process, but Tucker's camp waited until Thursday night to issue its displeasure with the Ravens, vowing to walk in 2017 if Baltimore didn't furnish the reliable kicker with a respectable long-term deal. The overall money doesn't top the pacts handed to New England's Stephen Gostkowski or Dan Bailey of the Cowboys, but Tucker will make more guaranteed cash. Give Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome credit for holding on to the second-most accurate kicker in the NFL.

Any human wildly fed up with Deflategate: One of the most ponderous off-field dramas of our lifetime is over. Dan Hanzus put it best in his weekly End Around column, saying: "Deflategate was like Jason from Friday The 13th without any of the camp or gory fun." The NFL does its best to remain in the news no matter what, but showering fans with months of bone-dry, vapid legalese -- get off my timeline, "en banc" enthusiasts! -- was no way to go about it.


Eric Berry: The Chiefs safety was a source of inspiration for millions last season, rebounding from Hodgkin's lymphoma to earn Comeback Player of the Year honors. His successful return wasn't enough to secure a long-term deal, though, as Kansas City played hardball during contract talks. NFL Media's Mike Garafolo reported that Kansas City initially insisted on Berry paying for a disability insurance policy that would have named the Chiefs as a beneficiary. "Given everything that he's been through," said Garafolo, "that didn't go over so well."

The Chiefs later pulled the clause and insisted Friday that they plan on "resuming" negotiations. Still, this was just another stone-cold reminder that today's NFL is ruled by the mighty dollar.

Brady and the Pats: With Brady resigned to accepting his ban, Patriots owner Robert Kraft issued a biting press release slamming the NFL's "unprecedented, unjust and unreasonable" punishment in the Deflategate debacle, saying: "What Tom has had to endure throughout this 18-month ordeal has been, in my opinion, as far removed from due process as you could ever expect in this country."

Plenty of people agree with Kraft -- and plenty do not -- but none of that matters anymore: Backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (the only Patriots-employed winner in this mess) is on tap to face the Cardinals, Dolphins, Texans and Bills to start the year -- unless, of course, Bill Belichick uber-flames the Jets and signs Fitzpatrick to save the day.

Alshon Jeffery: We all knew Jeffery wasn't in line for a long-term deal. The Bears might be the losers in the end, though, if the talented wideout turns a big year into a huge contract elsewhere next offseason.

Aaron Lynch and San Francisco's defense: Niners coordinator Jim O'Neil can't catch a break. After spending the past two years in Cleveland, he's inherited a defense that just lost its best pass rusher on Friday when Lynch was hit with a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. It only puts more pressure on a talent-poor offense to start quick under Chip Kelly.

Buffalo's backfield: Rex Ryan's idea of a modern-day offense amounts to running the ball 58 times per game with a clown car of backs. That plan took a hit on Thursday when rookie Jonathan Williams was arrested on suspicion of DWI. Friday brought more ugly news, as out-of-shape Karlos Williams was slapped with a four-game ban for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. It hasn't been a fun summer for Karlos, who showed up to minicamp overweight after treating his fiancée's pregnancy as a green light to eat, in his words, "anything and everything." After piling up seven touchdowns on just 93 carries last year -- effectively turning LeSean McCoy into fantasy fool's gold -- Williams has morphed into an enigma.


Kirk Cousins and the Redskins: Garafolo -- new to NFL Media and already filing plenty of gems -- reported Friday that Washington extended a contract to Cousins at the scouting combine that included $16 million per year and $24 million in guarantees, which would have ranked him tied for 21st in average annual salary among quarterbacks. Instead, he'll play out the year under his $20 million franchise tag. Depending on how he performs, Cousins stands to make a fortune on the open market or make the 'Skins look like geniuses for pinching pennies. Time will tell.

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