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Union disputes league claim that franchise tags are available

DeMaurice Smith

The NFL has told teams that the franchise tag will be available to them this offseason. But the NFL Players’ Association disagrees.

In a memo to all NFLPA certified agents, the union said that the league cannot restrict players’ movement by using the franchise tag.

“We have received reports that the NFL is advising clubs that they can place a franchise tag on players whose contracts will expire at the end of the 2010 league year,” the Union says in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by PFT.

“The current CBA provides that ‘each club shall be permitted to designate one of its players who would otherwise be an Unrestricted Free Agent [or Restricted Free Agent] as a Franchise Player each season during the term of this Agreement.’ The 2011 season is not a ‘season during the term of this Agreement’ so the NFL has no valid
basis for claiming the right to franchise players in 2011.

“If you have had any discussions with clubs about their intent to use the Franchise designation for the 2011 season please contact the NFLPA to discuss this matter. Meanwhile, we will make sure that the rights of any players improperly designated will be protected.”

So we can add the franchise tag to the list of items that the league and the union disagree about, with a month to go before a likely lockout.

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33 Responses to “Union disputes league claim that franchise tags are available”
  1. jc1958coo says: Feb 3, 2011 3:29 PM

    franchise someone and then lock them out! am i missing something here? the owners are the dumbest people on the planet! i’m sure of it now

  2. indywilson40 says: Feb 3, 2011 3:29 PM

    First!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. waitingguilty says: Feb 3, 2011 3:30 PM

    How dare the owners try to pay Haloti Ngata $13 million guaranteed. Or Mike Vick $16 million.

    Give it a rest De….none of us care, none of are sympathetic.

    STOP YOUR POSTURING AND DO A DEAL!

  4. mvp43 says: Feb 3, 2011 3:30 PM

    I hate unions

  5. smacklayer says: Feb 3, 2011 3:40 PM

    They are designating franchise players in the hope/belief that the tag will exist on the next cba.

    My bet is that the tag will exist and team will be able to retro-tag these players, which is why they are doing it.

    Although I do like the idea that my Denver Broncos may have a chance of signing Peyton Manning!

  6. jdl1325 says: Feb 3, 2011 3:41 PM

    What a nightmare De Smith has been. The players really should have gone with Troy Vincent. Fans should feel more sympathetic towards the players and their plight, but Smith and his antics have turned the owners into the martyrs.

  7. mattsffrd says: Feb 3, 2011 3:41 PM

    unions literally destroy everything they become involved with

  8. alanschech says: Feb 3, 2011 3:42 PM

    waitingguilty hits it right on the head……how dare the owners guarantee someone millions., how can these players live that way! It’s so terrible! (tongue in cheek of course)

    You all play a kids game, and you owners make zillions. NOBODY CARES! WE JUST WANT TO WATCH FOOTBALL!!!!

  9. kcfanatic says: Feb 3, 2011 3:49 PM

    I think that any player franchised should be guaranteed pay for 2011.

  10. hobartbaker says: Feb 3, 2011 3:57 PM

    Mo was furious. “They want to be putting franchise tags on us, they gonna hafta put them on our big toes!”.

  11. alltee says: Feb 3, 2011 3:58 PM

    i hate unions

    that being said unions were invented and designed to protect the common man, someone who is making very low wages and being taken advantage of.

    how the hell does a union exist for people making millions and millions of dollars a year to play a game they love.

    what exactly is the union pitch to these elite earning people. we are here to represent you so u dont have to worry about buying your million dollar homes, your millions in expensive jewelry and we promise to make sure that every player has an equal and fair right to own a gold toilet in thier home.

    what a joke

  12. stanklepoot says: Feb 3, 2011 4:02 PM

    This has nothing to do with the players complaining about the money that comes with having the franchise tag applied to them. This is a matter of the union trying to retain whatever bargaining power it has, and let’s face it, they’re already at a disadvantage in this case. As much as I don’t care for De Smith (should always be a player/former player like Troy Vincent), he’s actually correct here if you go by the language in the cba (the same sort of language that forced Vincent Jackson and Logan Mankins to show up to avoid being RFAs next season). The franchise tag is linked to the cba, and the language in the cba clearly states “each season during the term of this Agreement”. Since the owners opted out of the cba, next season doesn’t fall within this cba, otherwise they’re wouldn’t be the threat of a lockout. The owners cannot say there is no cba, and then say that a no longer valid cba gives them the right to do anything that was defined by the outdated cba. That would be like a former boss telling you how many hours you could work or what benefits you could receive from your current employer.

  13. skoobyfl says: Feb 3, 2011 4:15 PM

    Union guaranteed my dad his job title until the plant he worked at changed his job title & gave his job to someone else.

    That’s my own personal experience with a union, they lie and cannot be trusted at all.

  14. xxwhodatxx says: Feb 3, 2011 4:21 PM

    Thank you PFT,for deleting comments ,you suck.

  15. zaggs says: Feb 3, 2011 4:28 PM

    It was my understanding that the Free Agency period was in the offseason, not the beginning of a new season. So according to desmith the 2011 season begins immediately upon the end of the Superbowl? Because I was pretty sure it began with mini-camps. I mean does anyone get a roster bonus during free agency?

  16. jasonculhane says: Feb 3, 2011 4:29 PM

    I have a funny feeling that the franchise tag will not exist. Why the desperation from the NFL to announce the franchise tag still exists when it clearly won’t? The Union is right, new contract equals new set of rules. Sure you can franchise a Peyton Manning, it won’t mean nothing once the new contract is signed. Plus he hasn’t signed yet, I happen to believe Peyton Manning is the Unions ace in the hole, he is the most powerful person in the NFL.

    What about Goodell talking all this smack about Big Ben before the Superbowl? Sounds like he’s trying to divide the players to me or why now?

    The more and more things keep unfolding, the more I get this feeling that the Union and the NFL players dispise the franchise tag.

    Here could be some clues:

    1. Bill Polian verbally stated he would not make any contract offers to Peyton Manning until after the collective bargaining agreement was settled…Its on record as of now, there is an offer on the table for Manning, other teams have done the same and have signed players, via Tom Brady. Why is he going against what he said? Bill of everyone would know a thing or two since he’s part of the competition commitee.

    2. We’ve had players hold out like Vincent Jackson and L. Mankins…Don’t think they want to play for their teams anymore, why would they hold out if their just going to be franchised next year? It don’t make sense. Their clearly not betting on a franchise tag.

    3. Record number of concussions this year…Think the players are trying to prove a point that the NFL are frauds about protecting players?

    4. LOL! Randy Moss sure acted as if there was going to be no football next year. Last year he had a great year, what’s really changed? Obviously he didn’t care about a franchise tag.

    5. Finally, since the beginning of the franchise tag, players hate it because its another season to risk an injury before their contract expires. There are many prominent players who are quoted not liking the “tag” including Dwight Freeney, Dallas Clark, Vince Wilfork, Dunta Robinson, are a few of the top of my head.

    I’m a passionate football fan, don’t want to see it end. But the franchise tag is the LAST loophole the players want to give to the owners.

  17. jcjets says: Feb 3, 2011 4:33 PM

    Lets say the Union is correct from a legal perspective, doesn’t that also mean that teams can’t sign any players without a CBA? And certainly they won’t be handing out bonuses during the lockout..

    So is the franchise tag even necessary until a deal is made?

  18. laeaglefan says: Feb 3, 2011 4:45 PM

    The fact is that if there is no CBA then the owners have no right to franchise any player. They’re counting on the fact that there WILL be a franchise tag in whatever new agreement is reached…whenever it is reached. So franchising a player now is really just a technicality. It will hold no weight if ultimately there is no franchise tag in the new CBA. But I tend to think that there will be a franchise tag going forward, or some version of it, anyway. Whatever that ends up being, I think that all players who will be free agents going into 2011 will be eligible to be placed under that tag as a result of the new agreement. So basically the owners are just trying to cover their butts for whatever ends up transpiring. Perfectly understandable, but probably meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

  19. cappa662 says: Feb 3, 2011 4:59 PM

    The franchise tag keeps players salaries down. The players should not accept any franchise tags in the next agree. Many times, teams just tag a guy to keep them off the open market ie vincent jackson, logan mankins. With no intention of signing them to a long term deal.

  20. unionslie says: Feb 3, 2011 5:04 PM

    I think if the owners said they wanted to give all the players golden gift baskets with no strings attached the union would still disagree, call them greedy, and not accept them.

  21. profootballwalk says: Feb 3, 2011 5:09 PM

    I hate unions. I work 60 hours per week, no overtime, no sick time, and if I get hurt on the job, I’ll just go live under a bridge while my kids starve.

  22. hail2tharedskins says: Feb 3, 2011 5:09 PM

    Until this current CBA expires on March 4, this current CBA is still in effect. Therefore, the franchise tag is available until March 4. The fact that the league is telling teams to use the franchise tag, that means that the league is either planning on locking the players out on March 4 or implementing the terms of the last best offer under impasse. Under a league imposed contract, clearly they will be including a franchise tag which would seamlessly carry over. If the league is going the lockout route, the players would remain property of their current teams at the time of the lockout and then they would just make sure franchise tag language would exist any new negotiated CBA or force the union to offer a hefty concession to get rid of it (which they never would for the few players the franchise tag would effect).

    The union really won’t have much recourse either way, because under the first scenario the league is writing the rules and implementing them the union would have to challenge anything in that contract with a multi-year legal battle and therefore would have zero effect on current free-agents even if they could win it. In the lockout scenario, once locked out the union has no recourse (there is no remedy to prevent a lockout, except of course de-certifying – and then the owners have the right to implement whatever rules they want and we are back at multi-year legal battle as only recourse).

    I really think it is time for the union to give up all these silly public side battles, because they keep losing them anyway, and just negotiate the best possible deal they can before March! If March 4 comes and goes without a deal, I believe it is all downhill for the union from there (and it will start with player discontent from within the union)

  23. house068 says: Feb 3, 2011 5:23 PM

    alanschech says:
    Feb 3, 2011 3:42 PM

    You all play a kids game, and you owners make zillions. NOBODY CARES! WE JUST WANT TO WATCH FOOTBALL!!!!
    ———————————–

    I would argue that they play a mans game.

  24. unionslie says: Feb 3, 2011 5:23 PM

    I know the players have the biggest piece of the pie (around 60% of total revenue i believe), and sure you can argue that they are doing the ‘work’ and deserve it – I’m not saying they don’t. But, remeber the owners carry all the risk where if anything goes bad they lose where a player carries no risk and makes his contract regardless of what happens.

    So just courious since it’s been realesed how much Goodell and those representing the NFL make, has it ever come out how much the Union reps have been making? Just becasue a Union is suposed to represent the players doesn’t mean the guys on top don’t have their own agenda. Like say, having to get a ‘win’ at all cost no matter how long some of the little guys suffer without recieving a pay check? Last time I checked this was the NFL = Not For Long, for most players your wage earing period goes by quickly.

  25. lawyermalloy says: Feb 3, 2011 5:35 PM

    Franchise,…… no Franchise, it doesn’t matter!
    Nothing will be accomplished UNTIL the players are about to lose a paycheck, that’s when chaos amongst the ranks takes hold and the union accepts whatever is on the table. Gene Upshaw knew what he was dealing with when it came to his members and he knew he would never be able to hold them together, “Smitty” truly thinks he has the pulse of his members; he’s in for a very rude awakening!

  26. smith62477 says: Feb 3, 2011 5:53 PM

    Why would the union even care about this, because no CBA means no player movement. So this means jack right now

  27. stanklepoot says: Feb 3, 2011 5:59 PM

    zaggs says: Feb 3, 2011 4:28 PM

    It was my understanding that the Free Agency period was in the offseason, not the beginning of a new season. So according to desmith the 2011 season begins immediately upon the end of the Superbowl? Because I was pretty sure it began with mini-camps. I mean does anyone get a roster bonus during free agency?
    ___________________________
    As with most aspects of the player-league relationship, free agency and the rules that apply to it are negotiated between the NFL and NFLPA, and are described and defined within the cba. The current cba ends on March 4th (the designated beginning of the new league year), and unless something is done about it, there will be no formal agreement between the league and the players.

    As for free agency, that cannot begin until the new league year starts. With no cba, and therefore no official relationship between the players and the league, there is no league year. That’s one of the reasons a lockout can throw a huge monkey wrench into the works well before the start of the regular season. Without a deal in place, no player contracts can be extended after March 4th (team’s can sign their own players to extensions if they wish before then). Draft picks can be traded, but not players. Since players are typically traded for draft picks, that could prevent a lot of teams from trading for players to fill the holes they have in their rosters…unless the other team is willing to take picks in a future draft, which are considered less valuable than picks in the current draft.

    For instance, Kolb is expected to garner a lot of interest from teams in need of a QB. If there’s no new cba before the draft, then the Eagles can’t trade him for picks in the upcoming draft. Because of that, they might just figure it makes more sense to hold on to him as an insurance policy in case Vick gets hurt. That means that what many believe to be a starting caliber QB sits on the bench another year while teams in desperate need of a QB go without. That’s simply one of many similar examples.

    Additionally, no free agents can be signed before a new cba is signed, nor can any player who is drafted in the upcoming draft. No undrafted rookie free agents can be signed. No training camps, mini-camps, or other organized team activities can take place. So, without a new cba, it’s going to be extremely difficult for teams to fill any needs that they have. They will have only the draft to help them out, and no ability to trade away players they don’t really need for picks in this draft. Even the drafted players will be less valuable, as they can’t be signed or brought in to learn the playbook or do anything else to prepare themselves for the season until there is a new cba.

  28. dldavidlong says: Feb 3, 2011 6:14 PM

    if all of the owners agree to abide by the franchise tag rules. what difference does it make if it is official or not.

  29. dhudge says: Feb 3, 2011 6:18 PM

    The CBA expires March 4th. The end of the season (officially) expires February 10th.

    The franchise tag, as part of the current CBA expires March 4th – Correct! All this does is prevent FA’s or RFA’s from testing the waters between Feb 10th and Mar 4th…period.

    After March 4th, there will either be a “lockout” or a new CBA, which either incorporates the old franchise tag or not…again…period!

    Yes…deals can be made between February 10th and March 4th, if a FA or RFA isn’t signed.

    This really isn’t a big deal!

  30. stanklepoot says: Feb 3, 2011 6:23 PM

    jcjets says: Feb 3, 2011 4:33 PM

    Lets say the Union is correct from a legal perspective, doesn’t that also mean that teams can’t sign any players without a CBA? And certainly they won’t be handing out bonuses during the lockout..

    So is the franchise tag even necessary until a deal is made?
    ____________________
    You’re absolutely correct. No team can sign a player not already on their roster (including players selected in the draft) until the new cba is signed. They can extend their own players, but only until March 4th when the current cba ends. This is the real issue in my opinion. A number of teams have simply stopped offering extensions to their players (including ones they’d like to keep). If they offer extensions, the contracts would likely come with signing bonuses, which would give those players more resources in the event of a lockout, while draining some of the team’s liquidity.

    So, to strengthen their position in the negotiations, the teams are playing chicken with their own rosters. Even if the franchise tag is included in the new cba (which I feel confident it will), the rules only allow for I believe one franchise tag and one transitional tag. That’s two players each team can force to stay. The Jets have something like 17 players who will be free agents after this season, and they’ve already stated they won’t be signing any more players to extensions before this cba comes to an end. So, they can keep 2 players from leaving as free agents. Everyone else will be able to test the market. That includes players like Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Antonio Cromartie, and David Harris.

    Now, I’m not saying all (or even any) of these guys will end up leaving. What I’m saying is that they’ll have the ability to sign with any team they want, and the Jets can only keep two of these guys from doing so. Most of these players will resign with their teams, but some times could find themselves without some key players pretty quickly. Their best option will be to resign as many key players as possible, and then tag the one or two most important ones they have problems signing. Still, this could end up being a big problem for some teams. Add to that the huge problems teams will have trading for players and draft picks before the new cba goes into effect, and the better players could find themselves sought after by a bunch of teams.

  31. jacksaysfu says: Feb 3, 2011 6:55 PM

    The union is a joke and they are so blessed to play in the NFL. The players are still.going to get ridiculous $$$,so they should take the best offer and continue to have the honor to showcase their GOD given ability for all the world . Cause I had would play this game for free. Please dont take this game from us . Union and owners stop your embarrasing media / twiter war its so childish . Just man up !

  32. broncobourque says: Feb 3, 2011 9:37 PM

    This is pure posturing and a joke.

    The only reason the league has instructed teams to use the franchise tag as they would in any other year is because the tag has to be used 10 days before the end of the league year. While the tag won’t affect players until whenever the next league year starts, teams can’t wait that long to use it or they could lose the ability to use it altogether based on not having done so by the deadline.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that the league can chose to go into next season under the terms of the current CBA, they don’t have to lock the players out. With that being the case there is no reason why they wouldn’t act the same way they would in any other season when it comes to things like the franchise tag or tendering RFAs.

  33. svduran1 says: Feb 4, 2011 6:43 AM

    Greed, Goodell, and Jones: DESTROY NFL!

    “I could have built it for 800 million.” Direct quote from Jerry Jones about his new 1.6 billion dollar stadium. Well folks welcome to Super Bowl fans paying $900.00 for PARKING!

    Yes you read that correctly. $900.00 for parking at the Super Bowl, do you really think this is a valid business plan?

    The other Owners need to let Jerry go. He has changed the game and definitely not for the better.

    Look for Baseball and Hockey to make a come back.

    Goodell should have banned Belichick when he was caught fixing the Premier Game in America.
    Since then he has taken the Action out of the game, YAWH!

    Ready for some BOREDOM! This is quickly becoming the new slogan.

    The rest of the Owners need to find a Commissioner that truly has the game and the leagues best interest at heart. Not just short term profits…

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