There is only one week left until the scheduled opening of training camp for Seattle Seahawks rookies on July 21, however, there is even less time left before the 4 PM Wednesday deadline by which tagged players must sign a long term deal or play 2020 on the tag. For the NFL, amidst the uncertainty of the economy in the middle of a global pandemic, that means that more than a dozen players could see their dreams of a long term deal this season dry up by Wednesday afternoon.
There are 15 tagged NFL players – 14 franchised, one transitioned – that have until Wednesday to sign long-term deals and yet there might be “one or two deals, at most,” per a league source. The pandemic, and lack of financial clarity, are crippling hopes for long-term deals.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 13, 2020
The fifteen players looking at potentially playing the 2020 season on a tag are as follows:
- Dak Prescott, QB Dallas Cowboys
- Kenyan Drake, RB Arizona Cardinals (transition tagged)
- Derrick Henry, RB Tennessee Titans
- A.J. Green, WR Cincinnati Bengals
- Hunter Henry, TE Los Angeles Chargers
- Brandon Scherff, G Washington Somethings
- Joe Thuney, G New England Patriots
- Shaquil Barrett, EDGE Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Bud Dupree, EDGE Pittsburgh Steelers
- Matthew Judon, EDGE Baltimore Ravens
- Yannick Ngakoue, EDGE Jacksonville Jaguars
- Chris Jones, DT Kansas City Chiefs
- Leonard Williams, DT New York Giants
- Anthony Harris, S Minnesota Vikings
- Justin Simmons, S Denver Broncos
However, with multiple parts of the country reinstating lockdown protocols, including South Florida, California and parts of Texas and others pausing their reopening, the uncertainty regarding the economy is at peak levels. Whether there will even be a 2020 season is a question that has been asked multiple times, as leagues at lower levels have already begun to suspend or postpone their seasons. Just some of those include the following:
Jayhawk juco football won’t happen this fall. NJCAA votes to push season to spring https://t.co/7tfv9059k5— The Kansas City Star (@KCStar) July 13, 2020
For those unfamiliar with the Jayhawk Conference, it’s where former Seahawks offensive assistant Steve Shimko coached at Garden City Community College, along with where several notable Hawks and other NFL players spent their time while in JUCO. Both Chris Carson (Butler Community College) and Marquise Blair (Dodge City Community College) played in the Jayhawk Conference, as did Cordarrelle Patterson and Alvin Kamara (both played at Hutchinson Community College). In addition, former Washington Husky Corey Dillon also spent a year in the Jayhawk Conference (GCCC) before his time at UW.
In addition, the Ivy League has already cancelled fall sports.
JUST IN: The Ivy League cancels sports for the fall semester, becoming the first Division I conference to call off games due to the pandemic https://t.co/h6uDboI6w8— Bloomberg (@business) July 8, 2020
The Big Ten has eliminated all non-conference games.
The Big Ten is rumored to be cancelling non-conference games in 2020. If App State is unable to play Wisconsin in week 3, can we please replace them with a particular team who also loses their Big Ten opponent that week? pic.twitter.com/GLyeK5VLNR— App State Nation (@AppStateNation) July 9, 2020
While the PAC-12 has made the same decision to go with conference only games.
SEC officials are meeting today to discuss scheduling options for the upcoming football season. This comes after the Big 10 and PAC12 announced they will play a conference-only schedule.— WKRG (@WKRG) July 13, 2020
For more information: https://t.co/FXCN6spNFX pic.twitter.com/7NRcYus1vu
Even in high school football hot spot of Texas, there are grumblings that there may not be a high school football season this year due to the pandemic.
wow the Dallas School Superintendent just told @GarrettHaake he's pretty sure there will be no Texas high school football this year— Jake Lahut (@JakeLahut) July 9, 2020
With that much uncertainty across the country regarding the ability to play games, it’s no surprise that teams have not been in a rush to sign players. Obviously the finances of each NFL team are unique, and some teams have more cash available than others, meaning teams looking to get out of paying one of these franchise players could potentially deal their tagged star before the deadline in a tag and trade.
However, what the approaching deadline also makes very possible is a trade situation in which a team deals a tagged player after the deadline for a lesser trade compensation, just as the Seahawks did with Jadeveon Clowney on the eve of the season last year. Specifically, without the ability to sign a player to a long term deal, it’s hard to demand significant compensation in return, meaning that the players in the above list might see their price tag in a trade drop significantly very soon.
To add on to this, getting back to the idea of the finances of teams, teams which are worried about their cash flow position going forward could unload a player in order to save both cash and cap space in 2020, which could help in 2021 if the cap decreases significantly. For example, if the Jaguars are worried about their finances for both the 2020 and 2021 seasons, they could agree to accept less in trade for Ngakoue, as well as pay a portion of the franchise tag salary in 2020 in order to clear the deck going forward. It’s certainly not likely that this is their first choice, but if the financial situation becomes a more pressing concern than the on field product, this becomes a possibility. (Author’s note: This is not to say that the Jaguars are in any kind of financial trouble, this is just an example. I have no idea what the Jags finances look like, Ngakoue is simply a name in which Hawks fans have expressed interest, and Jacksonville is, obviously, far from what one can consider a large market.)
What it all boils down to is that while fans who in recent months have grown tired of the talk of trading for one of the tagged players might hope to see the speculation end at the 4 PM New York Time deadline Wednesday, the reality is that with a lowered price tag to acquire a player as a one year rental, the trade speculation could actually pick up.