Cordy Glenn always figured to be staying put.
In the NFL, you don’t allow good offensive tackles to get away, and the Buffalo Bills took the necessary step to keep the one they have by placing a non-exclusive franchise tag on him before Tuesday’s league deadline to tag players due to become free agents.
The non-exclusive tag means that, at the minimum, Glenn is assured of a guaranteed one-year contract worth $13.706 million – the average of the top five salaries at his position – to play for the Bills in 2016. The two sides would have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal. Otherwise, Glenn would either have to play at the rate dictated by the tag or a negotiated one-year contract.
It also means that, although still considered a free agent, Glenn is unlikely to sign with another team because the club offering him a deal would do so knowing that if the Bills decided not to match, it would owe them two first-round draft picks as compensation.
Glenn, 26, has been a fixture at left tackle for the Bills since 2012, when he joined them as a second-round draft pick from Georgia. He had his best season with them in 2015, when the Bills led the NFL in rushing.
The analytics website Pro Football Focus ranks Glenn first among prospective free-agent offensive tackles and 23rd among all prospective free agents with a grade of 85. That’s 17 spots below Bills guard Richie Incognito, who is ranked sixth. Glenn was PFF’s 10th-ranked tackle for the 2015 season, while Incognito was its second-ranked guard.
The Bills had a tremendous amount of respect for Glenn’s toughness. Last season, his teammates named him the Bills’ recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award for his comeback from undergoing surgery during the 2014 offseason for the removal of a nonfunctioning kidney. He started all 16 games in each of the last two years.
“You have something go wrong with an organ in your body and you try to play a game like football,” Glenn said after learning of the honor in late December. “So that was the biggest thing. You’re going through that and you’re still trying to get back into football mode and in kind of rapid-fire type of pace.”