- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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The deadline for NFL teams to designate franchise players for 2014 is 4 p.m. ET on Monday. If I had to guess right now, I would say the New York Giants don't use it this year.
It's been clear for a while that the Giants are trying to get linebacker Jon Beason locked up before free agency starts, and NJ.com is reporting Monday that Beason is priority No. 1 right now. Assuming Beason is indeed their front-burner item right now (and again, that's in line with everything we've heard for the past few weeks), in a vacuum he'd be a guy they'd consider franchising if they couldn't get their deal done by 4 p.m. Monday.
But I don't see that as a legitimate fallback plan for the Giants, and the reason is the number. The franchise tag for linebackers this year is $11.455 million, which is a considerably higher salary than the Giants can (or should) pay Beason in 2014. If you were Beason and you were talking with the Giants about, say, a three-year deal worth $3 million or $4 million per year, and all of a sudden they tagged you for one year and $11.455 million, what you'd do is halt negotiations and play for that number. It's simply not realistic.
I predict that the Giants will get something done with Beason at that aforementioned reasonable price. They seem to want him back, he seems to want to stay, and both sides know what the market is for inside linebackers these days. There's no reason to play games, and to those who have asked me on Twitter why it hasn't been done yet if both sides do indeed want it, the answer is as simple as "these things take time." No deadline has yet been missed. And while Monday's franchise-tag deadline does offer the Giants an opportunity to make sure they don't lose Beason to another team, the cost of the tag renders that a non-sensible option for them. They have until 4 p.m. on March 11 to sign Beason before he hits the market.
I also don't see them using a $9.654 million franchise tag on defensive tackle Linval Joseph or a $12.312 million tag on wide receiver Hakeem Nicks. If they were close to a new deal with kicker Josh Brown, it's not insane to think they might tag him for $3.556 million as the Jets did last week with kicker Nick Folk. But while they like Brown and want him back, there doesn't seem to be any reason to use the tag on him. I predict that the 4 p.m. deadline comes and goes with all Giants free agents untagged.