The franchise tag wasn't nearly as fashionable for NFL teams this offseason as it usually is, but nevertheless, for a quarter of the league, a notable deadline is nearing. We are now a month away from the cutoff for the eight teams with franchise players to sign them to a long-term extension or risk losing them as a free agent after the 2013 season.

And, while there is still ample time to complete such deals, it's not looking all that promising for most of these negotiations as things stand now, with minicamps and OTAs wrapping up around the league and coaches and execs shutting it down for vacation.

As with anything else deadline-related, most deals, if completed, will go right down to the July 15 date. While there have been proposals exchanged in most of these instances, what is being offered hasn't been nearly enough by and large to keep the franchise players from being willing to play things out this season and see what the market will reap next March.

So here's a brief primer on where things stand with the seven non-specialists on the franchise tag with the few truly slow weeks of the NFL calendar now upon us. (Full disclosure: I haven't gone in depth taking the temperature between franchise punter Pat McAfee and the Colts).

I'll go in order of how likely a deal looks at this point, from most to least:

Anthony Spencer, OLB, Dallas Cowboys: Jerry Jones is as about as generous as it gets when it comes to taking care of his own players, generally, to a fault. Some thought it was ambitious to franchise Spencer initially, in 2012, but he responded with a true breakthrough season befitting his original draft status. So that left Jones with little recourse but to retain Spencer's rights for 2013, at a 20 percent raise. So Spencer stands to make $10.7 million this season, on top of the $8.9 million guaranteed he pocketed last season. Generally if you give a guy a $20M guaranteed deal you expect to retain his rights beyond a year-to-year basis, which explains why these sides have been exchanging proposals for quite some time, according to sources. It would be silly to let him walk should Spencer maintain his 2012 form, and talks have been cordial and productive, according to sources. While it would be a stretch to say they're close to a deal, there has been enough momentum to conclude this could get resolved by the deadline next month.

Jairus Byrd, S, Buffalo Bills: There hasn't been any real movement in these talks, according to sources, so based on that alone one might not be optimistic. But, man, the Bills cannot afford to risk losing any good young talent. This ball hawk is a difference maker, and if Buffalo can ever get that pass rush thing figured out, then the opportunities for Byrd to get his hands on the ball only increase. The Bills are sitting on about $20 million of cap space, fourth-most in the NFL, and getting Byrd off the tag will actually create more space for them over time. You don't overspend like mad on Mario Williams only to let your homegrown talent depart, and franchising again Byrd in 2013 would just be more expensive. It also isn't exactly the way for a new coaching and front office regime to engender positive vibes in the locker room.