Agent Michael George said the Jaguars used the label on Brackens earlier this week, a move that severely hinders his chances of moving via free agency and throws a bitter wrench into nearly six months of unsuccessful bargaining.
"Obviously, he's not very happy about it," George said.
Jaguars senior vice president Michael Huyghue said the parties weren't negotiating Wednesday and the team planned to officially announce the franchise tag soon. With the free-agent signing period beginning Friday, Huyghue recognizes the impact the move will have.
"Anytime you have to use the tag, the player is going to be upset with it," Huyghue said. "We're not happy either. We're not satisfied until we get a deal."
Brackens finished with 12.5 sacks last season and is seeking a contract worthy of one of the top pass-rushing ends in the league. That means between $7 million and $8 million per year and a signing bonus of around $10 million.
The Jaguars have limited room under their salary cap and don't seem willing to go that high. Two months ago, Huyghue was convinced Brackens would take less to stay with Jacksonville. George said the parties had discussed such an arrangement.
Apparently, the differences between the two sides were too big to overcome.
If the parties don't agree to a new contract, Brackens would earn $4.2 million next year the average of the top five players at his position.
"That's not how we want it to end," Huyghue said. "We want to sign him to a multiyear deal."
Brackens could still go to another team for big money, but with a franchise tag on him, any team that signs him would have to part with a pair of first-round draft picks.
Huyghue said negotiations with free agent cornerback Aaron Beasley continue to progress. Beasley is expected to make about $4 million a year in his new contract.
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