Which Franchise-Tagged NFL Stars Will Get Extensions Ahead of July Deadline?

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistJuly 12, 2021

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (14) in action during an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Washington Football Team, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021 in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Daniel Kucin Jr.)
Daniel Kucin Jr./Associated Press

NFL teams have until Thursday at 4 p.m. ET to complete long-term contracts with players who were hit with the franchise tag earlier this offseason. 

When these contracts do come together, they often are finalized in the eleventh hour. Deadlines drive deals. But this year, it's pretty clear that several tagged players will remain under the tag throughout the 2021 season. 

Here's a look at where things stand for all seven current tag recipients—all of whom have signed their tenders—along with some predictions for Thursday's deadline. 


Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that "nothing is imminent" when it comes to potential extensions for the two receivers on this list, Godwin and Allen Robinson II of the Chicago Bears. And that makes a lot of sense for both, but we'll get to Robinson in a moment. 

Focusing on Godwin, the Bucs don't know how long this window will be open because that depends on how long quarterback Tom Brady wants to keep it from slamming shut. With Mike Evans already getting paid handsomely and a slew of strong receivers joining Godwin and Evans on the roster, a Tampa team that is locked and loaded for 2021 might want to see what Godwin can do after an injury-impacted 2020 campaign. 

And frankly, the Bucs might want to retain the option to move on if the Brady era ends next offseason anyway. 

Prediction: The tag remains in place


New York Jets S Marcus Maye

Unless Maye is looking for an outrageous deal or the Jets are willing to take an arguably unnecessary risk with a player who should be central to their long-term plan, this is a deal that should get done. 

Charles Krupa/Associated Press

It's possible that fellow 2021 tag recipient Justin Simmons set the bar too high when he became the highest-paid safety in the sport earlier this offseason, but Simmons has been a superstar the last two years and has 16 career interceptions, while Maye has never been a Pro Bowler or All-Pro and has just six picks on his resume. 

He's also already 28, which isn't ideal. That said, he is probably entitled to something in the range just below Simmons (five safeties make between $14-15 million a year). 

Prediction: Signs a four-year, $57 million contract


Carolina Panthers OT Taylor Moton

This one might have become a little trickier when the New Orleans Saints reset the right tackle market by handing Ryan Ramczyk a five-year, $96 million extension last month. The question is if Moton thinks he's worth something similar, because that would be a problem. Ramczyk has been an All-Pro, and he's missed just one start in four NFL seasons since coming into the league as a first-round pick in 2017. 

Moton was a second-rounder that year, and he simply isn't quite on Ramczyk's level. There's a big gap between Ramczyk, Lane Johnson and every other right tackle in terms of average annual salary, and that could be a problem if the Panthers feel something in Jack Conklin's $14 million range is fair while Moton expects to fill that gap between Conklin and Johnson (who makes $18 million a year). 

With so much up in the air right now as Sam Darnold comes to town, I'm not sure Carolina is willing to fork over more than $14 million per season when Moton will make close to that on the tag. This might lead to one more prove-it year. 

Prediction: The tag remains in place


Chicago Bears WR Allen Robinson II

Way back in September, Robinson made it known that he was frustrated with the team. That doesn't bode well for any organization's chances of retaining a player long-term, but the 27-year-old three-time 1,000-yard receiver signed his tender this spring, and it looks as though both parties might be prepared to accept that this will be a tag year for Robinson. 

Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

It also feels as though it could be a swan song in Chicago for the 2015 Pro Bowler, but that could change if he and rookie quarterback Justin Fields are able to establish chemistry in 2021. 

Prediction: The tag remains in place


Jacksonville Jaguars OT Cam Robinson

It was a surprise to see the Jags tag Robinson, who has generally been a disappointment thus far as a 2017 second-round pick. PFF ranked the Jaguars' offensive line in the bottom 12 last year, and much of that had to do with the fact the Alabama product again lacked consistency. 

My gut tells me new Jags head coach Urban Meyer just wants a year to see if Robinson can finally put it together while protecting rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence's blind side. And if not, they'll move on to Jawaan Taylor, Will Richardson Jr., 2021 second-round pick Walker Little or somebody else. 

Prediction: The tag remains in place


Washington Football Team G Brandon Scherff 

Washington should be motivated to get this done because it'd be extremely difficult to keep Scherff with the tag essentially off the table in 2022. We're talking about a four-time Pro Bowler in his prime coming off maybe his best season yet at a position with long shelf lives. 

Daniel Kucin Jr./Associated Press

Scherff has shown no signs of slowing down and the WFT is looking to build on a promising 2020 campaign across the board. Logic says they cave and get this done. 

Prediction: Signs a four-year, $68 million contract


New Orleans Saints S Marcus Williams

Williams might have a better case for Simmons money than Maye because he's still just 24 and has proved to be a difference-maker with 13 interceptions in four seasons. To boot, the Saints have been stuck in salary-cap hell for years and might appreciate the flexibility associated with a long-term deal. 

In other words, it might be worth it for them to bite the bullet and make Williams the highest-paid safety in the NFC, if not the entire league. 

Prediction: Signs a four-year, $61 million contract


Contract information courtesy of Spotrac.

Brad Gagnon has covered the NFL for Bleacher Report since 2012. Follow him on Twitter: @Brad_Gagnon.