Receiver Jarvis Landry told the Miami Dolphins late Saturday that he intends to sign the franchise tag as early as this week, according to multiple reports.
That decision, which was first reported by ESPN, contradicts what Landry said in a 10-minute teaser of a documentary he’s featured in called “Juice,” which he posted on his social media accounts Saturday morning.
“The team decides to exercise the franchise tag. I’m considering not playing on it,” said Landry, a three-time Pro Bowl selection who set an NFL record for catches in his first four seasons, bringing down 400 receptions for 4,038 yards and scoring 23 touchdowns on offense. “The franchise tag is not a good deal for me.”
Landry has since declined to comment on the reports.
Signing the franchise tag would guarantee Landry a one-year deal worth approximately $16.2 million in 2018. That tag designation would give him the highest base salary for a receiver in 2018. The exact figure for the franchise tag will be determined by the average of the five highest-paid players at his position.
The deadline for any club to sign a player placed on the franchise tag to a multi-year deal is July 16. After this date, the player may sign only a one-year contract with his prior club for the 2018 season, and that contract cannot be extended until after the club’s last regular-season game.
Signing the tag would give the Dolphins the greenlight to trade Landry to any team they desire once the league’s new year begins on March 14.
The Dolphins recently gave Landry’s agent, Damarius Bilbo, permission to facilitate a trade that could take place before the NFL draft in April.
Signing the franchise tag could speed up the trade process, but it is hard to envision a team trading for Landry without him agreeing to a multi-year deal first because he’d likely be viewed as a one-year rental since giving him the tag for a second season would pay him roughly $19.5 million for one season.
Tagging a player effectively makes him a restricted free agent, and a team would be required to send Miami two first-round picks if Miami doesn’t match the offer. However, the trade price would be much less if Miami works out a trade.
Since 1993 three receivers have been tagged and traded. In 1995, the New York Jets traded Rob Moore to Arizona for the 16th overall pick in the 1995 draft, and tailback Ron Moore. In 2000, Seattle traded Joey Galloway to Dallas for a first-round pick in 2000 and 2001, and Buffalo sent Peerless Price to Atlanta for pick No. 23 in the 2003 draft.
While every receiver with the franchise tag produced a first-round pick in a trade, don’t expect the Dolphins to benefit from a similar haul for Landry. It is believed that the Dolphins are targeting a trade that would equate to the value of second-round draft pick.
Because of Landry’s franchise tag, and the impending trade with the Los Angeles Rams that will bring defensive end Robert Quinn to Miami for a 2018 fourth-round pick and swap of sixth rounders, the Dolphins are roughly $20 million over the projected salary cap of $178 million.
Teams must be under the cap on March 14, but the Dolphins have a number of ways they can trim payroll, and are likely exploring a few more trades, and roster moves.
Replacing Landry won’t be easy considering he’s the Dolphins’ best draft pick since Hall of Fame pass rusher Jason Taylor, who was selected in the third round of the 1997 draft.
Kenny Stills, a three-year starter for the Dolphins, has experience playing the slot position going back to his tenure with New Orleans. If Miami moves Stills inside Leonte Carroo and Jakeem Grant, two receivers selected in the 2015 draft, would compete to become the third receiver paired with Stills and DeVante Parker.
The Dolphins also have Drew Morgan, who worked exclusively in the slot last season while a member of Miami’s practice squad, two former Miami Hurricanes in Rashawn Scott and Malcolm Lewis, and Isaiah Ford, last year’s seventh-round pick, on the roster.
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