Le’Veon Bell, Chandler Jones, Melvin Ingram and Kawann Short didn’t have to wait until Wednesday’s deadline to get franchise tagged.
And a person with knowledge of the details said the New York Giants have told defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul that he, too, will get the franchise tag. The person with direct knowledge of the move spoke on condition of anonymity because the Giants didn’t announce the decision.
The Giants have to designate Pierre-Paul a franchise player by 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday. He will earn roughly $17 million this season unless the team reaches a long-term agreement by July 15.
The Steelers placed their exclusive rights franchise tag Bell on Monday, the same day the Panthers, Cardinals and Giants applied their non-exclusive franchise tags to keep their stars from becoming free agents.
This buys the teams and players until mid-July to reach agreement on new long-term contracts.
Otherwise, they’ll play on one-year deals and make the average of the top five players at their position in 2017.
While only the Steelers can negotiate with Bell, other teams can negotiate with Pierre-Paul, Short and Jones. However, the compensation required — two first-round draft picks — is a strong deterrent.
The biggest superstar to get franchise tagged last year was linebacker Von Miller, who received the exclusive rights franchise tag from the Broncos shortly after his MVP performance in Super Bowl 50.
That set up a stalemate that often turned contentious until the sides agreed to a record-shattering deal at the deadline that was worth $114.5 million over six seasons and included more guaranteed money — $70 million — than any non-quarterback in NFL history.
The newly franchise-tagged players could make similar big splashes at their positions — or could find themselves playing on one-year franchise tenders instead.