Key deadline coming for franchise players

NFL_bryant2.jpgWe’ve mentioned it a couple of times in the recent past, but since:  (1) we’ve got nothing better to write about this morning as I prepare to don the officially-licensed Borat bathing suit and head to the beach; and (2) we’ve already pissed off a guy this weekend who’ll never be slapped with the franchise tag, we decided to focus on a key upcoming date for the players who currently wear the franchise tag.

For the 2009 class of franchise players, the deadline for working out a long-term deal is Wednesday, July 15.

If no long-term deal is reached by then, the franchise player will be permitted to sign only a one-year contract with his current team.

As pointed out by our friends at Pewter Report, the rule also applies to players who have signed their one-year year franchise tenders, like Bucs receiver Antonio Bryant and Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers.

Before 2006, teams had a brief window early in the offseason to sign franchise players to long-term deals.  Thereafter, teams were actually prevented from signing franchise players to multi-year contracts until the middle of July.

The 2006 revision to the CBA also protects teams against inadvertently making a huge mistake.  Previously, signing a player to a long-term deal during the prohibited period caused the team to lose the ability to use the franchise tag for the duration of the long-term deal.  (We vaguely recall that the Bucs did just that with defensive end Chidi Ahanotu, their last franchise player before Bryant.) 

Now, a long-term deal signed after the July 15 deadline simply won’t be recognized by the league.

That’s all for now.  It’s time for some sunbathing. 

Later, table tennis and disco dance.  Very nice!