By The Associated Press (AP) – The Latest on NFL’s free agency. Teams were required to use franchise tags on players by noon EDT Monday. Teams can negotiate with representatives of free agents for the next two days but cannot finalize any agreements. (all times local):
The New York Giants have placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on defensive tackle Leonard Williams two before the 2015 first-round draft choice was to become an unrestricted free agent.
A franchise tag allows the two sides to work on a long-term contract. If there is no contract agreement before July 15, Williams will play this coming season under the one-year deal. His salary will be a calculation based on the average of the top five salaries from his position, expected to be around $16 million.
Williams is free to negotiate with other teams when the free agency signing period begins Wednesday. If he signs a contract with another team, the Giants will receive two first-round draft choices as compensation.
New York acquired Williams from the Jets for two draft choices on Oct. 29: a third-round selection in 2020 and a second choice that is a conditional fifth-rounder in 2021.
Williams is the first Giants player to receive a tag since another defensive lineman, Jason Pierre-Paul, in 2015.
Williams played in eight games with five starts for the Giants. The former Southern California player had 26 tackles, a half-sack, two tackles for loss, 11 quarterback hits, two passes defended and a forced fumble.
The Giants also made a qualifying offer to placekicker Aldrick Rosas, a restricted free agent.
The Kansas City Chiefs have placed the nonexclusive franchise tag on Chris Jones, raising the possibility that the Pro Bowl defensive tackle will remain with the Super Bowl champions for at least one more season.
The nonexclusive tag means Jones must be offered a one-year contract for no less than the average of the top five salary cap hits at defensive tackle for the previous five years. It also means that if Jones signs an offer sheet from another team, the Chiefs can match that offer or let him go and receive two first-round picks as compensation.
Jones had 15 1/5 sacks two seasons ago, which spurred his desire for a long-term deal. He wound up skipping the entire offseason when that didn’t happen, but he returned in time for training camp and started 12 of 13 games. He finished with nine sacks and help the Chiefs win their first Super Bowl title since 1970.
The Cleveland Browns opened free agency by placing a second-round tender on running back Kareem Hunt, who played eight games last season after returning from an NFL suspension.
Hunt is a restricted free agent and can negotiate with other teams about a contract. If he reaches an agreement elsewhere, Cleveland can match any offer. If the Browns decide not to match the offer, they would receive a second-round draft pick from the team that signs him.
The Browns also released veteran safety Morgan Burnett, creating another need as the team moves into free agency amid nationwide shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Burnett suffered a torn Achilles tendon last season and missed the final six games.
Cleveland also tendered exclusive tags to free agents Pharoah Brown, Dontrell Hilliard and KhaDarel Hodge.
Hunt was banned from the first eight games last season by the league or two physical altercations while he was with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Cleveland-area native was primarily a blocker for Pro Bowler Nick Chubb, but he rushed for 179 yards and scored two touchdowns. He also caught 37 passes for 285 yards and a TD.
With more than $60 million of salary-cap space, Cleveland is expected to be active in free agency, with offensive tackle a priority.
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