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Arbitrary franchise-tag deadline for doing long-term deals needs to go

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On the surface, it might seem odd for franchise-tagged players like Giants running back Saquon Barkley and Raiders running back Josh Jacobs to be threatening to not show up for future events like training camp and/or the start of the regular season when those things are still weeks into the future. The NFL's odd rule regarding the tag makes it a necessity, however.

The league and the union agreed that players saddled with the tag can't sign multi-year contracts after July 15. (This year, it's July 17, because July 15 lands on a Saturday.) It's a pointless rule that needs to go.

Why prevent the franchise-tagged player and team from doing a long-term deal? They should be able to do one at any time, with no deadline whatsoever.

Although the current rule hurts both sides, it impacts the player a little bit more. By the time the player can skip training camp or Week One, there's nothing to be gained by doing so. He'd be staying away to get the long-term deal he wants, but he can no longer get that long-term deal because the rule prohibits it.

If there was deadline, Jacobs and Barkley could withhold services until their teams caved. Given the rule that cuts off long-term deals for franchise-tagged players as of mid-July, they can't get anything more than a one-year contract after the deadline comes and goes.

That said, they can still try to get more than their franchise tenders of $10.1 million. They also can try to get a promise that they won't be tagged again next year. As long as it's only a one-year deal, the terms can be whatever the parties agree to.

Still, it would be better if the rule simply went away. There's no good reason for keeping a franchise-tagged player and the team that holds his rights from agreeing to a multi-year deal whenever and however they want.

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