Kicking back as franchise deadline nears

The deadline for NFL franchise players to sign long-term contracts in 2013 will pass Monday at 4 p.m. ET.

NFC West teams can afford to sit back and watch without consequence. For the second time in three years and the third time since divisional realignment in 2002, no teams from the division named a franchise player.

Recent Franchise Player Counts

The three potential NFC West candidates we discussed all departed their teams' rosters as unrestricted free agents this offseason:

Elsewhere, the Denver Broncos reached agreement over the weekend on a long-term deal for 2013 franchise player Ryan Clady. But as the first chart shows, there were only eight franchise players across the league this offseason, down from 21 a year ago.

Franchise Player Designations Since System Began in 1993