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NFL notes: Von Miller among players given franchise tags

Where are the All-Pros without contracts going?

Nowhere, it appears.

Super Bowl MVP Von Miller and fellow All-Pro players Josh Norman and Eric Berry were given franchise tags Tuesday, the league’s deadline to do so.

In all, nine players were slapped with the franchise tag and one, Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon, got the transition tag.

Broncos linebacker Miller was the only player to get the exclusive tag, at $14.129 million, meaning no other team can make him an offer.

Panthers cornerback Norman and Chiefs safety Berry were among the eight who received non-exclusive designations, so other clubs can make offers, but their current teams have the right to match or get compensated with two first-round draft picks.

Also getting tagged with free agency set to begin on March 9 were Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson, Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery, Ravens placekicker Justin Tucker, Bills tackle Cordy Glenn and Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson.

The players have until July 15 to work out a long-term contract with their teams. If they can’t – and most franchises are eager to get these players locked up for several years – then the salary for 2016 is determined by the tag designation.

Cousins would earn the most, $19.9 million, because quarterbacks have the highest tag number. Wilkerson would be next at $15.7 million.

Miami decided against placing the franchise tag on Vernon, and this year’s transition number calls for defensive ends to receive $12.734 million. A transition tag allows the player to negotiate with other teams, but his current club has the right of first refusal to match any offer. Should Vernon leave, there is no compensation for Miami.

Bills cut Williams

High-priced defensive end Mario Williams is out in Buffalo.

The Bills released Williams in a series of moves made a week before the NFL’s free-agency period opens.

By releasing Williams, the salary cap-strapped Bills freed up nearly $13 million in payroll next season. He had two years left on the six-year, $100 million contract, and was scheduled to make an $11.5 million base salary this year.

He finished with five sacks last year.

Eagles extend Bradford

Sam Bradford has agreed to a two-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Bradford, 28, was acquired by the Eagles in a trade a year ago with the Rams that sent Philadelphia’s incumbent quarterback, Nick Foles, to St. Louis. Bradford started 14 games and threw for a career-high 3,725 yards, the fourth-highest yardage total in franchise history. Bradford’s 346 completions and his career-best 65.03 completion percentage both were Eagles single-season records.

Former trainer dies

John Johnson, an athletic trainer in the New York Giants organization for 60 years, died Sunday at 98.

Johnson retired following their victory in the Super Bowl in January 2008 and was on the Giants’ staff for 874 regular-season and 34 postseason games.


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