The post-NFL Draft buzz has consumed headlines for the last month, but let's not forget that there is a notable group of players that hasn't yet accepted playing under the franchise tag on a formal basis.
On Monday morning, ESPN insider Field Yates revealed the full list of players that still haven't signed their franchise tenders. Among those stars is Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver AJ Green.
That's potentially a big problem for these respective organizations. The deadline to sign franchise-tagged players to multi-year contract extensions is now less than two months away: July 15. If a player ultimately does not sign the tender, they officially have no contract and are additionally subject to fines for skipping offseason workouts. Players that refuse to sign the tender also can't be traded, so their options are either to sign it or break out the checkbook and embrace a holdout like Le'Veon Bell did when he was still with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2018 and sat out the whole year.
To say that all of these players above are imperative to their teams would be an understatement. Prescott threw for 4,900 yards and 30 touchdowns last season. Green is an all-world wideout. Matthew Judon recorded 9.5 sacks and 33 QB hits for Baltimore. Justin Simmons is a rock at safety for Denver. Jones is one of the best defensive tackles in the sport. Shaquil Barrett led the NFL with 19.5 sacks in 2019. Yannick Ngakoue, well, his future in Jacksonville is doubtful, but he's a stud.
Keep tabs on the status of these players as we inch closer to the mid-July deadline. The lack of buzz we've heard in regards to movement toward signing extensions indicates that these tenders could likewise remain unsigned for weeks to come.