If we don't do something by July we have no leverage. If we wait until after the season then he is a free agent and can go anywhere. If we use the franchise tag on him then we are saying we will pay him 8 million for one year which is usually a lot more cap space then you would have if we signed a long term deal. And he could do what Peppers did which was not sign the tag so we couldn't trade him. I really think that we will try and get something done this year.
I thinks the franchise number is closer to 5.5 mil.
EDIT: never mind. It's 7.7 my bad.