The Buffalo Bills had until 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday to decide whether or not to use their franchise tag for the 2016 season, and it appears that they'll be doing exactly that. Pending free agent left tackle Cordy Glenn just became the fifth player in club history to be franchise-tagged by the Bills, according to a report from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
The #Bills are franchise tagging OL Cordy Glenn, source said— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 1, 2016
CBS insider Jason La Canfora had another detail to add on the Glenn deal: Buffalo chose to use the non-exclusive franchise tag on Glenn.
Bills have submitted paperwork placing the non-exclusive franchise tag on tackle Cordy Glenn— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 1, 2016
The catch with the non-exclusive tag is that it allows other teams to submit offer sheets for Glenn (similar to the Charles Clay situation last year). If a team offers Glenn a contract, the Bills have the option to match the contract and retain Glenn's services. If they don't match an offer, the Bills receive two first-round picks from the team that signs him. Assuming Glenn goes unsigned, Buffalo has until July 15th to sign him to a long term deal and replace his franchise tag salary on the team's register.
Tagging Glenn means that, rather than the fifth-year starter becoming an unrestricted free agent, the Bills have secured his rights heading into the 2016 season at a hefty $13.7 million, fully-guaranteed price tag. That’ll be a huge amount to squeeze under the $155.27 million salary cap for the budget-tight Bills, but they have until 4:00 p.m. ET on March 9 to squirm below that number.
The anticipated release of defensive end Mario Williams, which would save them at least $12.9 million on the books, will help that endeavor. Buffalo is also reportedly working on re-negotiating the bloated contracts of several veterans. Signing players in the final year of their deals at high price tags - a list that includes cornerback Stephon Gilmore and, now, Glenn - would help the team lower their 2016 cap figure, as well.
Glenn, who will turn 27 early in the 2016 regular season, has been the Bills’ starting left tackle ever since the team made him a second-round pick out of Georgia in the 2012 NFL Draft. He has started 61 out of a possible 64 games in that time frame, and is coming off of a 2015 campaign in which he graded out as among the best 15 percent of tackles in the league, while helping quarterback Tyrod Taylor reach the Pro Bowl and paving the way for the NFL’s No. 1-ranked rushing offense.