NFL franchise tag deadline 2021: What happened by Tuesday's cutoff?

Nate Davis

The NFL's deadline for teams to apply the franchise or transition tag to one of their pending free agents expired Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.

The tags provide players with a lucrative one-year salary (calculated by averaging the top-paying deals at their position) but prevent them from reaching unfettered free agency.

The tag deadline often serves as an accelerant to get deals done – Exhibit A being the four-year contract Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys finally reached Monday evening. (Prescott would have been due $37.7 million in 2021 had he been franchised again.) But tags can also be used to simply buy time as a player and team continue negotiating a long-term pact, the deadline for franchised players to do so this year not until July 15.

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Here's what we know:

Giants DE Leonard Williams (99) is being franchised for the second straight offseason.

Franchise tags applied

Prescott: In a procedural maneuver, he briefly wears the tag until his contract is finalized.

Carolina Panthers OT Taylor Moton: The durable right tackle, who's only 26 and didn't miss a snap in 2020, remains in Charlotte.

Chicago Bears WR Allen Robinson: He's been seeking an extension for some time, but Da Bears ain't letting him out of town this year on the heels of a 102-catch season. He's now scheduled to rake in $17.9 million this year.

Denver Broncos S Justin Simmons: Tagged for the second consecutive offseason, the Pro Bowler is scheduled to make $13.7 million in 2021 – a 20% raise from last year – barring a long-term extension.

Jacksonville Jaguars OT Cam Robinson: He's sticking around – presumably to protect presumptive No. 1 draft pick Trevor Lawrence in 2021.

New Orleans Saints S Marcus Williams: Bit of a surprise move given team's cap overdraft, but the 24-year-old has been a steady defender for this club.

New York Giants DL Leonard Williams: He has been officially tagged for the second straight year after posting a career best 11½ sacks. Williams stands to make at least $19.35 million, a 20% raise from 2020, but could make even more if he's able to get his position classified as defensive end – or eventually land a longer extension.

New York Jets S Marcus Maye: Despite losing wingman Jamal Adams prior to the 2020 season, Maye had a breakout campaign – one that was too good for the cap-flush Jets to let him walk away.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin: The champs' 25-year-old No. 2 receiver gets the tag this year, meaning OLB Shaq Barrett – he was tagged last year –and several other key free agents are likely to reach the open market.

Washington Football Team G Brandon Scherff: Like Simmons and Williams, he was also tagged in 2020. Like Simmons and Williams, Scherff will also receive a 20% raise – to the tune of $18 million – if he winds up playing on the tag.


Follow USA TODAY Sports' Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.

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