By the end of the business day, the Buffalo Bills could make their first big decision of the offseason that could impact the shape of the roster for the 2016 season. Later today, March 1 at 4:00 pm, is the deadline for NFL teams to apply the franchise or transition tag on an impending free agent from their roster.
For the Bills, only one soon-to-be unrestricted free agent warrants such consideration: Cordy Glenn. The 26-year-old has started at left tackle all four years of his career with the Bills, had arguably the best season of his career in 2015, and would likely be in high demand if he were to hit the open market.
If the Bills were to put the franchise tag on Glenn, it would do two things. First, it would put Glenn in line for a one-year, fully-guaranteed salary of $13.706 million for the 2016 season if he signed that deal. Second, teams would still be able to negotiate with Glenn, but if they strike an agreement and the Bills choose not to match, that team would then owe Buffalo two first-round draft picks -- a price tag few, if any would be willing to pay.
Multiple reports indicate that the Bills will, in fact, use the franchise tag on Glenn if the two sides cannot strike a long-term extension by the end of the day.
By placing the franchise tag on Glenn, it would keep him as property of the Bills for 2016, and it also allows the two sides to continue to negotiate a long-term deal. The new deadline for the two sides to strike a long-term agreement would then be July 15 at 4:00 pm. If they cannot come to terms on a deal by then, Glenn would only be allowed to sign the franchise tag, or a revised one-year contract.
The Bills could also choose to place the transition tag on Glenn, which carries a lesser salary cap hit in 2016. The transition tag for offensive linemen would cost the Bills $11.902 million against the cap.
With this designation, the Bills would still get the right of first refusal -- and seven days to match -- if a team signed Glenn to an offer sheet. However, if they chose not to match the contract, the Bills would receive no compensation from the team that swoops in to sign him.
If the Bills decide against using the franchise tag on Glenn, he would be allowed to start speaking with other teams during the legal tampering window on March 7 after 4:00 pm. He would then become an unrestricted free agent, clear to sign with any team, on March 9 after 4:00 pm.
The clock is ticking for the Bills to reach a decision on Glenn. Keep checking back for any new updates on the situation.