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Bills expected to use the franchise tag on Cordy Glenn if long-term deal isn't reached

INDIANAPOLIS --- The Buffalo Bills are expected to use the franchise tag on left tackle Cordy Glenn if they're unable to sign him to a long-term deal by the tag's deadline March 1, sources say. The team's goal remains to extend Glenn long team, but it does not want the 26-year-old hitting the open market.

NFL Network first reported that the team's ready to use the franchise tag, which would cost the team $13.7 million this season.

This week, Buffalo freed up cap space by restructuring tight end Charles Clay's deal and the team listed Corey Graham and Leodis McKelvin as two more players likely to restructure deals. Speaking Thursday, General Manager Doug Whaley expressed confidence that the team could realistically re-sign its top two priorities in free agency, Glenn and left guard Richie Incognito.

“We’ve always been able to do what we needed to do to get where we want to go,” Whaley said. “We won’t be able to sign everybody but we have a wish list and I feel confident what we’ll be able to get done on the wish list. Giving you a guarantee? Until they sign on the dotted line, you never know. But I feel confident.

“Is it going to be a difficult situation and something where we’re going to have to maneuver some things? Absolutely. But that’s what makes it exciting.”

The 6-foot-6, 345-pound Glenn has been a source of reliability since the Bills took him 41st overall in the 2012 draft, starting every game the last three seasons despite having a kidney removed before the 2014 season.

Last season, under offensive coordinator Greg Roman, the Bills led the NFL in rushing at 152 yards per game. And when they ran, it was often to the left side behind Glenn and Incognito. By midseason, the line got into a rhythm and it mostly didn't matter who was running the ball behind them, be it LeSean McCoy, Karlos Williams, Mike Gillislee or Tyrod Taylor. Considering the uncertainty with Seantrel Henderson's health, the fact that 2014 second-round pick Cyrus Kouandjio hasn't gained the coaches' trust two years in and a lack of proven offensive tackles on the market in free agency, Buffalo is willing to pay up.

This week, the Bills' brass met with Glenn's agent, Pat Dye Jr., and talks apparently went well.

History suggested all along that the franchise tag was the most likely scenario. Dye previously inked tags with three other players in such a position — Jeff Backus, Charles Grant and Ryan Clady — and all were able to then sign long-term deals with their respective teams before those tags expired.

Money is tight with the Bills' cap situation. But they're not letting their young left tackle get away.

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