The deadline to use the franchise tag or the transition tag was 4 PM EST on Tuesday and the Buffalo Bills elected to not use either before the deadline. This isn’t necessarily a surprise but it does also mean players like Levi Wallace and Harrison Phillips are set to become free agents next week unless the Bills are able to reach new deals before the new league year starts on March 16th.
The Buffalo Bills have not used the franchise tag often in their history and in fact, have only used it twice in the past 10 years. In 2013, Buffalo would place the tag on safety Jairus Byrd after his second Pro Bowl season in four years. He would play one more year with the Bills, which also was a Pro Bowl season, before leaving as a free agent to join the New Orleans Saints.
Then in 2016, the Buffalo Bills would use a franchise tag on starting left tackle Cordy Glenn. However, the two sides were able to reach a new five-year deal about two months later. Glenn would play only two more years in Buffalo before being traded to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Time is running out for the Buffalo Bills to sign their top free agents
While the Buffalo Bills have been able to bring back some of their own free agents, like Tyrel Dodson and Siran Neal, there are still a few notable players that could leave this offseason. At the top of the list would be starting cornerback Levi Wallace and starting defensive tackle Harrison Phillips. However, according to this tweet from Matt Parrino he did not get the impression from Beane’s radio appearance on WGR550 Tuesday morning that there has been much discussion.
The Legal Tampering Period will be from March 14th to March 16th which teams will be allowed to talk with representatives of soon-to-be free agents with those players able to sign the new deals on March 16th.