Tag Deadline: The Latest On Maclin

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

The Eagles have until 4 p.m. today to place the franchise tag on Jeremy Maclin.

If they opt not to use the tag, they’ll have four-plus days to work out a deal before other teams join the bidding. The “legal tampering” period begins March 7, when clubs are permitted to enter into contract negotiations with the representatives of players who will become free agents on March 10.

Applying the tag would keep Maclin off the market, allowing the Eagles more time to work on a long-term deal with him exclusively. The downside is that they would owe him $12.8 million this season if they cannot come to terms. That would eat significantly into their cap space.

My sense is that the near $13 million figure will dissuade the Eagles from applying the tag. If that proves true, they’ll be operating from here on in without a safety net.

Maclin’s recent comments to the Daily News suggests he’s at peace with the process. He reiterated that there continues to be interest on both sides to get something done, but also knows it’s a business. Given the level of mutual interest, it’s certainly possible that Maclin re-signs here even after testing the waters.

In other tag-related news:

The Cowboys will place the franchise tag on Dez Bryant. Per ESPN, it will not be the non-exclusive variety, meaning a team could theoretically have him for two first-round picks if Dallas didn’t match the offer sheet. Similarly, the Broncos have designated Demaryius Thomas their franchise player, per NFL.com. With those two players secured, Maclin and Randall Cobb would be the top two receivers in  free agency should they get there.

The Chiefs will reportedly use their franchise tag on Justin Houston. The Lions are not expected to tag Ndamukong Suh.