According to a late Monday night post on the Rock Hill Herald, Jordon Gross will receive the franchise tag from the Carolina Panthers before the Thursday deadline.
Recent negotiations had not gone terribly well even reaching a point over the weekend to prompt Gross to say that he was unhappy with the lack of effort from the team to reach a new deal. The problem here is that if he gets the franchise tag now, a long term deal may become even more difficult later on.
Agent Ethan Lock was asked where they were in their progress toward a long-term deal, and he replied: “Obviously, if they’re tagging him, then it’s nowhere.”
Lock said he didn’t want to comment further on the process, and Panthers general manager Marty Hurney likewise declined to comment on the state of the negotiations. Last week, Gross told The Herald: “It’s not like we’re in a different book, we’re just on different pages.”
The franchise tag will guarantee Gross a one-year deal worth $7.455 million, and buys the team time to work out something longer. It also provides the promise of compensation if someone really wants him, as another team would have to give up two first-round picks to sign him away.
This year’s free agent group isn’t very deep and keeping Gross in the fold even by franchising him, will ensure that a bidding war can be avoided. It also means that both of the team’s starting tackles will remain on the roster for ’08 which will provide much-needed stability on the offensive line.
It would be highly unlikely for any team to offer up the draft picks to steal him away from the Panthers. The real question, however, is what will happen to Gross beyond next season. This could be a situation worth watching.