The much-hyped and highly overrated 4 p.m. deadline came and went Friday afternoon and Tebucky Jones' status with the Patriots is unchanged. The team confirmed late this afternoon that it would not be making a move involving the former first round pick prior to the deadline.
While there was a great deal of speculation that the Patriots would make a move involving the safety, it proved to be just that -- speculation. Rumors abound that a trade or removal of the franchise tag would take place Friday by 4 p.m., but the team exercised one of its many options and simply did nothing.
As it stands now Jones remains the Patriots franchise player, although one slight factor has changed in the way that he negotiates with the team in hopes of working out a long-term deal. Should Jones and the Patriots negotiate and sign a deal between now and July 15, the Patriots would lose their franchise tag over the life of that contract.
Other than that, the other rules surrounding the franchise tag remain in place. Jones is free to negotiate with other teams, but the Patriots have the right to match any offer he might receive and would get two first round draft picks as compensation if they decide to let the safety sign elsewhere. New England can look to trade the player at any time. Any trade scenario would likely involve a team working out a long-term deal with Jones as well as agreeing to a trade agreement with the Patriots. Jones would sign the deal with the Patriots and the contract would be traded on the same day, therefore transferring all financial obligations and salary cap charges to the new team.
So for Patriots fans, a highly talked about deadline came and went Friday afternoon and a week of significant maneuverings came to a quiet end. Tebucky Jones, Lawyer Milloy and Rodney Harrison are all Patriots and can easily remain as such. Each player currently counts towards the team's $75 million salary cap and nothing, outside of the organization's own plans for the future, requires that the team make a move with any of the players.