Five things union can do to improve franchise tag

With Thursday bringing the deadline for using the franchise tag, I had a great idea for my Friday column.  I could write about ways the union could press the league to make the tag more friendly to players.

It was a great idea, I concluded.  So great that I had already thought of it two years ago.

But with two more years of knowledge (or something similar to it), I was able to augment 2008’s list of three ideas with five new tweaks.

Then again, I probably would have come up with these other five ideas two years ago, if I hadn’t been simply mailing it in.

Do me a favor and don’t tell the folks at that I said that.

13 responses to “ Five things union can do to improve franchise tag

  1. I agree that players are getting screwed with the Franchise tag. If they honor their contract and play it out, they should be allowed to negotiate with anyone and not be stuck to the same team.
    Limiting it to 1 per player would be a step in the right direction.
    I also think that a rookie wage scale should be implemented, but when that happens, they should shorten the length of contracts to 2-3 years. That way, those rookies that have a good year or two, can get paid a better salary for their play on the field.

  2. Why would a player want to improve it? Peppers got paid over a million bucks per game last year. Seems to be working out quite well for them.

  3. Another option is to give some power to the player.
    Allow the player to go “Franchise +” which would let them stipulate a 3-year contract, at (for example) 65% of the one year franchise tag number, 100% guaranteed. Once the team slaps the franchise tag on the player, and the player goes “Franchise +” the team either signs on, or releases the player.
    The biggest gripe that players have is that they lose control, completely, when they are tagged.
    This would give some control to player, and make teams think twice about tagging many (not all) players.

  4. Interesting article, Mike.
    Now if you really want to have fun, go back and re-write the article only from the standpoint of the owners. What 5 things would (should) the owners do to modify the franchise tag system?
    It would be fun to then compare the two articles once both are done.

  5. The defensive QB category is interesting, but I don’t know how you’d figure that out. For example, in Green Bay’s 3-4 defense, there’s no question that Ryan Pickett plays an important role as NT, but there’s also no question that he was not “the leader of the defense” last year as he played less than half of the defensive snaps, and Charles Woodson is more worthy anyway.
    Nose tackles are really important in the 3-4 defense, but they are specialists, as they come off the field in nickel and dime situations (which are very common in the modern pass-oriented league). The nose tackle plays pretty much as much as the nickel back doesn’t.
    The “defensive QB” category would probably end up looking as adversarial as arbitration in baseball, where the player comes out and says “I’m really important”(in an attempt to garner more money) while the team says “No, you’re not really”(in an attempt to save money). Seems problematic.

  6. Those are some goofy suggestions. If Carolina had tagged Peppers again this year his guaranteed salary would’ve jumped to $21m!! That’s for 1 season. That is a tremendous deal for the player… the escalator pretty much assures the player of not getting tagged again.

  7. #4 & #5 contradict eachother.
    In #4 you argue to keep the categories the same.
    In #5 you argue to implement a new category.
    There is no way that the league would even entertain #5 (adding a new category) without completely reworking all the categories (#4).
    Sure it sounds nice to have #4 and #5, but it is a pipe a dream, pick one or the other.

  8. “Still, the current system allows teams to readily use the tag twice, delaying by 24 months the player’s ability to obtain a long-term contract with life-changing guaranteed money.”
    Not one of your best Mike. The commented I quoted in particular pisses me off.
    The amount these guys would receive for being tagged 2 years in a row is life changing money. Period. And the more guys like you act like it would not be life changing money to 99+% of the people on the face of the planet, the less credibility you have.
    I long ago stopped watching MLB, NBA and NHL except for very very rare occasions, and the NFL is fast headed into that category for me. The greed of both the owners and players now is dramatically offsetting any enjoyment I get from the game. If there is a strike or lockout they will most likely lose me for good. There are many other things to do with your time and its not that hard to find some other way to amuse yourself.

  9. Here’s the union’s way of improving the franchise tag: GET RID OF IT. The tag only serves management’s needs so why should they want to keep it around in any form? The franchise tag is nothing more than a modified Plan B, as it attempts to keep the best players off the market by poisoning the well; either by keeping them off the market outright OR by forcing the compensation so high that the other teams will either think long and hard about making an offer or lowering the offer to the player to compensate for the loss of draft choices. I simply don’t see how one team should be compensated for being too cheap to keep their players BUT if they MUST get something then why not give them SUPPLEMENTAL picks at the end of Round X, which would start with the second round (Based on tender).

  10. Instead of a salary floor, make it way easier for vets and players on rookie salaries to leave a team that’s not spending as much on salaries.
    The percentage would be negotiated, but a team like Tampa that is clearly trying to save on salaries would have a choice between not spending or losing good players because they can’t franchise or restrict them.
    Oh, and for this to work, teams shouldn’t be able to ‘force’ a rookie to sign for more years than other teams.

  11. If the union wants to make a change to the Franchise tage it is a lot easier than your suggestions. Simply make the owners treat it like a true Franchise designation and allow the player to pick the term with a maximum of arround 5 years and the full term guaranteed. If a guy is trully a franchise player the teams should have no problem guaranteeing them 5 years at a top 5 salary for their position. If this were the case Wilfork wouldn’t have been so insulted to get a 5 year $35M guaranteed deal.

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