Veteran safety Donovin Darius has signed the one-year "franchise" tender offer the Jaguars made to him in late-February. Darius' acceptance of the tender means its $4.1 million salary is guaranteed.
The Jaguars can not remove the "franchise" tag now that Darius has agreed to the tender, but the team may trade him. Had he not signed the tender, the team would not have been permitted to trade Darius.
Darius is being "franchised" for the second consecutive year. Last year, the "franchise" tag paid Darius about $3 million, or the average of the league's top five salaries at the safety position.
Tuesday's signing of free-agent safety Deon Grant caused speculation the Jaguars might remove the "franchise" tag from Darius, which the team could've done until he signed the tender. His decision to do so may have been a reaction to the Grant signing and the speculation it caused.
The Jaguars have been unable to negotiate a new contract with Darius and the two sides are said to remain far apart. Had Darius not signed the tender and the Jaguars had removed the tag, he would've been free to sign a contract with any other team without that team having to compensate the Jaguars with two first-round draft picks. Should the Jaguars sign Darius to a new contract before March 17, as the Colts did with Peyton Manning, the Jaguars will recover use of the "franchise" tag.
"Franchise" tag rules are such that if the Jaguars sign Darius to a new contract between March 18 and July 14, the "franchise" designation will be lost to the team for the duration of Darius' contract. Beginning with July 15, the Jaguars may sign Darius to a long-term contract and recover use of the "franchise" tag.