Miami Dolphins: Could Jarvis Landry be transition tagged in 5 weeks?

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry scores a touchdown against the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football this season. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Well, technically, yes, in five weeks, on February 20, the Miami Dolphins could put a transition tag on Pro Bowl receiver Jarvis Landry.

According to the handy 2018 NFL Key Dates calendar, the deadline for transition and franchise tags is March 6, or the day after the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis ends.

On March 12, clubs would be officially permitted to enter in negotiation with an unsigned or transition-tagged Landry. And on March 14, those contract offers could be formally extended.

Now that we have a grasp on the NFL calendar (these deadlines come so fast) let’s take a look at what the transition tag is, and how the Dolphins could actually use it for Landry.

Let’s say Landry believes he deserves a four- or five-year deal at $15 million a season and the Dolphins are flat-out unwilling to to beyond $13 million a season.

Personally, I’d like to see the sides settle at $14 million and call it a day.

But let’s say that gap can’t be bridged, because the Dolphins think Landry doesn’t take diligent enough notes, or improvises on the field too often or loses his cool too much or doesn’t keep his locker tidy enough (these are not fictional examples, by the way).

And let’s say Landry thinks that he’s as productive as any young receiver as NFL history and plays hurt and practices hard and doesn’t hold out and doesn’t publicly whine or complain and is a heart-and-soul player and shouldn’t have to take any discount (these too, are not fictional examples).

Well, the Dolphins could franchise tag Landry for one season, for probably at least $16.465 million, a number projected by overthecap.com, and based in part on the average of the top five receiver salaries of 2017.

Or, the Dolphins could transition tag Landry for one season, for probably at least $14.206 million, a number projected by overthecap.com, and based in part on the average of the top 10 receiver salaries of 2017.

Everybody got a deal.. I did it without 1 @champagnepapi

A post shared by Jarvis Landry (@juice_landry) on

If the Dolphins tag Landry, they could still negotiate with him on a long-term deal up until mid-July. After that, no contract may be extended until after the club’s last regular season game.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross publicly acknowledged Landry may be tagged in an availability before the 2017 season. Prior to the 2016 season, the Dolphins used the transition tag on defensive end Olivier Vernon, but eventually rescinded it.

Vernon signed an enormous deal with the New York Giants.

The previous season, Miami used a transition tag on tight end Charles Clay, but did not match a Buffalo deal, and thus received no compensation. This is one drawback to teams using the transition tag.

If the Dolphins transition tag Landry, his agent is then free to shop him for a better offer, which Miami would have the right to match. So, if the Dolphins honestly think that Landry would not garner much more than $14.206 million a season on a long-term deal, this could be a path to take.

Would the Cleveland Browns, with enough salary cap space to buy a small country, for example, be willing to pay Landry $15 million a season to be a face-of-the-program type player? Would Landry want to play for the Browns? How badly does he want to stay here?

The NFL is a deadline league. You’ll read and hear lots about the things the Dolphins like or don’t like about Landry and maybe some things about how the Dolphins aren’t treating Landry as he feels he should.

But remember the pressure points are the dates listed above. And even if Landry is tagged, long-term negotiations with Miami would likely continue.

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