Six franchise tag players who missed games before signing

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston, Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant and Denver Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas all beat Wednesday afternoon's deadline for franchise tag players to sign long-term deals.

Houston signed a six-year deal reportedly worth $101 million, with $52.5 million guaranteed. Bryant's five-year contract is reportedly for $70 million, with $45 million in guaranteed money. Thomas got an almost identical deal to Bryant's, with the same overall terms but $1.5 million less in guarantees.

New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who is recovering from injuries suffered in a July 4 fireworks accident, is the only player from this year's franchise tag class who hasn't signed his one-year tender or completed a long-term deal.

It remains to be seen whether Pierre-Paul will miss any time, either because of his hand injuries or a contract dispute, without signing his franchise tag. Since the NFL introduced the franchise designation in 1993, there have been six players who have missed games before signing their tenders. ESPN Stats & Information runs them down:

OL Paul Gruber, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1993): After Gruber sat out the first seven weeks because of a contract dispute, it looked as though he would go to the Oakland Raiders in a trade. But the Raiders and Gruber could not agree to a contract, nullifying the trade. Shortly after that fell through, Gruber signed a four-year deal with the Buccaneers.

OL Lomas Brown, Detroit Lions (1995): Brown did not play in the season opener because of a contract dispute with the Lions. He ended his holdout by signing a one-year deal worth $2.7 million on the Thursday before Week 2.

DT Sean Gilbert, Washington Redskins (1997): Gilbert took protesting the franchise tag to a new level by sitting out the entire season. In April 1998, the Carolina Panthers signed him to an offer sheet. The Redskins chose not to match it and received two first-round picks in return.

DT Dan Williams, Kansas City Chiefs (1998): Williams is the last franchise tag player to miss an entire season because of a contract dispute. Hours before the start of free agency the next year, Williams agreed to a six-year, $28 million contract with the Chiefs.

DE Simeon Rice, Arizona Cardinals (2000): Rice held out through all of training camp, the preseason and the Cardinals' season-opening loss. He signed his one-year, $4.2 million tender on the Thursday before Week 2 games and played in the remaining 15 games that season. The Cardinals beat the Cowboys in his first game back, but they won only two more times the rest of the season.

OT Walter Jones, Seattle Seahawks (2002): Jones was the last player who did not play because of an unsigned franchise tag. He missed the entire preseason and the first two games because of a contract dispute but signed his one-year tender on Sept. 16 and played in Week 3.