Today is March 2. The NFL's deadline for teams to apply the franchise tag to impending unrestricted free agents is March 5. With three days remaining for long-term deals to materialize, several NFL teams have already tagged players. Where does that leave the Buffalo Bills and wide receiver Stevie Johnson?
The growing list of players that have already been tagged, or soon will be tagged, includes: Ravens running back Ray Rice; Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch; Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson; Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes; 49ers safety Dashon Goldson; and Raiders defensive back Tyvon Branch. That list is likely to grow very quickly.
The Bills and Johnson are apparently still in discussions about a long-term deal, but nothing concrete appears imminent - though the possibility still exists that something will be worked out by Monday. If that isn't the case, the Bills are saying publicly that the franchise tag remains an option for Johnson, despite previous reports that they were not going to use it to retain the fifth-year receiver's services.
Buckle up, folks. This could be a very interesting weekend.