As we move closer to the National Football League and the Players agreeing to a collective bargaining agreement, reports are flying furiously about the remaining roadblocks. The most interesting roadblock to date has to be that Drew Brees and Peyton Manning have allegedly requested to be exempt from the franchise tag for the remainder of their careers? What in the…..
Let’s get through the X’s and O’s of it all. In the NFL, the franchise tag is a designation that a team may apply to a player scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. The tag binds the player to the team for one year if certain conditions are met. The franchise tag is typically reserved for highly skilled players or those of high importance to the team, which both Brees and Manning are.
Now, in addition to the collective bargaining agreement being negotiated, the NFL and its lawyers are working to settle the Tom Brady vs. The National Football League case. Several of the plantiffs named in the case are seeking monetary compensation in exchange to drop the case, thus (allegedly) holding up the finalization of the collective bargaining agreement. Rather than requesting monetary compensation (both Brees and Manning pull high salaries), the quarterbacks have reportedly asked to be exempt from the franchise tag.
How does this benefit them? Well, Manning was franchised before the lockout began. If the NFL agrees to the request, Manning would become an unrestricted free agent as soon as the lockout is over. Drew is in the final year of his contract and has been vocal about wanting an extension with the New Orleans Saints. Removing the franchise tag option would allow Drew to essentially force a long term deal with the Saints or hit the free agent market in the Spring.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposed to players ensuring their financial security. I am opposed to the public versus private face that these 2 particular players have now seemingly presented. Peyton Manning was one of the first people (beating the government) to arrive in the city of New Orleans with an 18 wheeler full of water, food and essentials after Hurricane Katrina. He’s quietly one of the most generous players in the NFL. Drew Brees is beloved in the city of New Orleans. He’s widely lauded for being a humanitarian, family man, genuine, honest and real. Utilizing the collective bargaining agreement for personal gain when you’re are supposed to be representing the players as a whole and working toward the best possible deal for the players is both incredibly surprising and incredibly disappointing. I find it hard to believe that Drew and Peyton would take advantage of their position but stranger things have happened.
On Tuesday night, Drew Brees tweeted:
I hesitate to even dignify the false media reports with a response, but obviously they are leading people astray.
I want no special perks. My job is to get a fair deal for all players, and I am proud to represent them all – past, present and future
All media claims about me wanting a personal reward for this deal are false. I hope you all know me better than that.
Allow me a lapse in objectivity for a moment. I love Drew Brees. I seriously triple fuzzy heart love him and I do THINK that I know him better than that so I truly hope that the reports are false.
In the coming days, we’ll soon find out the details of the collective bargaining agreement. If there is language allowing Drew Brees and Peyton Manning franchise tag exemption, I dare say that they will have successfully lost the respect of not only their comrades but the fans as well.