He was given the franchise tag this offseason by the Caroilna Panthers and had to feel as if the team would negotiate a new contract with him to take him well beyond the 200 season.
Not so fast, Jordan.
A deadline looms on these negotiations and it’s going to be here sooner than later. From the Rock Hill Herald…
Tuesday’s the deadline for the Panthers to negotiate a long-term contract with their franchise player this season, but it doesn’t appear that’s going to happen.
That means Gross will play out the year under his one-year, $7.455 million deal that came along with the tag, and potentially be an unrestricted free agent next year.
Panthers general manager Marty Hurney didn’t want to comment on the specifics of the negotiations, but there apparently haven’t been any in some time. That could change with a phone call, but the Panthers’ stance appears to be to stand pat.
Tuesday, huh? Man, that’s gonna be tough. I still have to get a haircut, get some groceries and still have to stop by and pay that water bill since those jerks that work at the water works won’t let me mail it in anymore. I’m not so sure I can make it that day.
Really, how must Gross be feeling? I was under the impression that good tackles were far from a dime a dozen in the NFL and when you found one you hung on to them like you were dancing.
If there are no negotiations and this deadline comes and goes, the team can still work something out. Just as important, they could also throw the franchsie tag on him again next season preventing him from hitting the open market.
There is a precedent for this, according to the Herald.
It’s not unheard of for teams to keep using the tag on the same guy. Seattle did it three years running on tackle Walter Jones before finally getting a long-term deal. Of course, Jones was a perennial Pro Bowler, not a guy who may or may not even be a left tackle.
The good folks at the Herald also mention how Gross can gain tremendous leverage if he proves that he can move from right tackle to left tackle successfully.
But they also mention that some in the organization believe that rookie Jeff Otah might manage the spot should Gross leave the team.
To those people I would say don’t count your chickens before they play left tackle. You can’t be sure that the rookie can handle right tackle yet. And to think now that he can move easily enough to the left is a foolish thing. Besides, holding on to two good, solid tackles in this league is critical.
Maybe this is just a reporter jumping the gun a little. Maybe the deadline doesn’t mean that much since the team can still pick up a phone and call Gross’ agent and work something out. It’s just real hard not to get at least a little nervous when it appears that the team is taking an approach that borders on cavalier.