The NFL’s deadline for franchise-tagged players to ink a long-term deal has come and gone.

As expected, Monday hit 4 p.m. ET without a trio of tagged players — Le’Veon Bell, Kirk Cousins and Trumaine Johnson — striking new deals.

While Bell and the Steelers bargained until the deadline, Cousins and Johnson were unlikely candidates for an extension.

Washington certainly tried with Cousins. The team engaged in offseason-long contract talks with its starting quarterback, with the Redskins making their top offer back in May, per the team. That offer was a five-year extension worth less than $110 million, a source informed of the negotiations told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

After Monday’s deadline passed, Redskins president Bruce Allen issued a rather intense statement about their efforts to sign the 28-year-old passer:

With talks on hold, Cousins will play under the $23.9 million franchise tag after making $19.9 million under the tag last season. It’s hardly a bad deal for the veteran.

Assuming this marriage doesn’t crumble, the Redskins and Cousins will engage in yet another offseason staring contest in 2018. This time around, though, it will be much easier for interested teams — perhaps Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers — to make a serious play for Cousins’ services.

After all, tagging Cousins next year would cost Washington a wild $35 million. The Redskins could use the transition tag — at a cost of $28.7 million — but that would allow other clubs to reward the signal-caller with an offer Washington can’t match.

As for Johnson, there was zero indication the Rams would offer a long-term deal to the 27-year-old cornerback. Still unconvinced Johnson is a fit for coordinator Wade Phillips’ scheme, Los Angeles spent the offseason trying to trade the cover man.

Instead, Johnson will make $16.7 million under the tag after netting $13.9 million in tag-pay last season. It’s an incredible amount of money for a player who easily could be with another team come 2018.


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