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Rights of first refusal are something the players should refuse

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One of the many issues lurking in the stagnant (at least until last night) stew of collective bargaining relates to an effort by teams to finagle three or four “rights of first refusal” designations to be applied to free agents with four or five years of experience.  Under 2010 rules, those players (like Vikings receiver Sidney Rice) would have been restricted free agents.  Though some teams had the foresight to apply the franchise tag to such players, others assumed (ass, you, me) that the 2010 rules would still apply.

So with the threshold for unrestricted free agency expected to move back to four years, those teams in the NFL will be SOL when the time comes to squatting on players to whom they failed to apply the franchise tag or, you know, sign to new contracts.

Tough beans.  (Or, perhaps, that stuff which ingested beans eventually will become.)  Teams shouldn’t get a pass for failing to read the tea leaves.

Besides, in the looming buyers’ market that will be 2011 free agency, applying the ability to match an offer that up to four four-year or five-year free agents would get from another team will essentially take the players off the shelf.  Time will be of the essence when the time comes to sign new players; which team will want to negotiate a contract with a free agent and then sit back and wait for the original team to decide whether to thank the prospective team for negotiating the player’s new contract in his current city?

Then there’s the amount of time to match.  Typically, it’s a week.  That won’t work this year, when there possibly will be only a week, if that much, between the end of the lockout and the opening of training camps.

It’s not practical, and it’s not fair.  If the owners want to get this deal done, they need to drop this issue, and move on.  Even if it means plenty of key players will be moving out.

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29 Responses to “Rights of first refusal are something the players should refuse”
  1. benh999 says: Jul 1, 2011 10:22 AM

    “… others assumed (ass, you, me)…”

    What, no segue into more colonoscopy talk?

  2. redwinglion says: Jul 1, 2011 10:22 AM

    “It’s not practical, and it’s not fair.”

    Oh, but asking for profits from concerts held at NFL stadiums, something the players have absolutely no involvement with, IS fair?

  3. northeastern31 says: Jul 1, 2011 10:24 AM

    I’m sick of saying ” The Pats are going to kick the Jets butt.” It sounds soft.

  4. airraid77 says: Jul 1, 2011 10:24 AM

    the need to apply the fairness doctrine to liberal media….you and your cohorts shouldnt be allowed near a type writer or keyboard.
    No matter how the cba is set up, their is going to be a lot of fa…..

  5. readimgram1 says: Jul 1, 2011 10:24 AM

    No WAY they should get right of first refusal. They already had a chance to sign the players while they were contracted. If they did not do so TO BAD for them.

    I have been pretty heavily on the owners side but this is silly. IF the CBA says 4 years to FA then it is 4 years. The owners need to be reasonable here, the flood of free agents to the market is their own fault!

  6. readimgram1 says: Jul 1, 2011 10:27 AM

    Also – If I was the player in this situation and a team offered me a great contract and I wanted out I would insist on a poison pill.

    IF Sydney Rice was signing with the Colts for instance write into the contract that if he plays more then 4 games in MN he is paid an additional 3 million dollars per game…

    MATCH THAT!

  7. killxswitch says: Jul 1, 2011 10:28 AM

    Yep, they don’t need to be rewarded for managing their teams badly. If they didn’t plan ahead, too damn bad.

  8. whathappenedtovox says: Jul 1, 2011 10:29 AM

    Agree 100%, although Sidney Rice is a bad example (the Vikes did use their tag, on Chad Greenway). Another example could be Doug Free of the Cowboys, who Jerry Jones stupidly didn’t franchise.

  9. readimgram1 says: Jul 1, 2011 10:38 AM

    Rice was just a name to throw out there. Basically if the owners force the right of first refusal the players should use the poison pill liberally if they want out. Honestly Free Agency is part of what creates the parity of the NFL. There is no good logic that says teams should get this right, if a player has worked hard and earned the right to a good contract the team he was on should not be able to force him to stay.

  10. matthewmoe says: Jul 1, 2011 10:49 AM

    Why not have a week for negotiating with any and all teams before contracts can be signed (starting next offseason, obviously)? This would allow a form of right of first refusal as well as getting rid of tampering.

  11. prior0knowledge says: Jul 1, 2011 10:56 AM

    So we see three stupid proposals, 2 by players, 1 by owners:

    1) Players share in non-football stadium revenue
    2) Sales tax on tickets are part of total revenue being split
    3) Teams get right of first refusal on free agents

    All three of these should be thrown out.

  12. tundey says: Jul 1, 2011 10:58 AM

    blah blah blah blah….when does football start? All this is nonsense.

    Seriously, why can’t they adopt different rule for this coming season and another for the future years? This season is already going to be shortened so trying to apply the same rules will either suck this year or suck in future years.

  13. sdffa11 says: Jul 1, 2011 11:02 AM

    the players should absolutely not allow the right for first refusal to the owners. if the owners are being too cheap to pay a player for an extension, the player should be allowed to test his market value. if it says 4 years for free agency, it should be 4 years.

    franchise and transition tags should also go away. if the team deems a certain player to be a franchise quality player, they need to step up and pay him like a franchise player and let him walk to get his money elsewhere.

    everytime there seems to be progress, news keep leaking out showing how greedy the owners are being.

  14. minnyjoe says: Jul 1, 2011 11:03 AM

    readimgram1 says:
    Jul 1, 2011 10:27 AM
    Also – If I was the player in this situation and a team offered me a great contract and I wanted out I would insist on a poison pill.

    IF Sydney Rice was signing with the Colts for instance write into the contract that if he plays more then 4 games in MN he is paid an additional 3 million dollars per game…

    MATCH THAT!

    I don’t think the Vikings would care if the Colts signed “Sydney Rice” actually I don’t think most teams know who “he/she” is?

    As for a poison pill, the league has already covered this issue and it will not be happening again!

  15. packerrube13 says: Jul 1, 2011 11:03 AM

    readimgram1 says:
    Jul 1, 2011 10:27 AM
    Also – If I was the player in this situation and a team offered me a great contract and I wanted out I would insist on a poison pill.

    IF Sydney Rice was signing with the Colts for instance write into the contract that if he plays more then 4 games in MN he is paid an additional 3 million dollars per game…

    MATCH THAT!
    ————————————————–

    Sounds great, until the Titans move to Saint Paul to give the other Twin City a team, due to the lack of support in Tennessee. And the Colts have a regular season game against the Vikings, along with their normal divisional trip to Saint Paul to see those Titans, then find themselves meeting the Titans in the playoffs on the road in the second round, the same the year the Superbowl is in the new stadium in MN. THEN, the Colts get screwed. BOOM!

  16. ralphshere says: Jul 1, 2011 11:11 AM

    That really would suck, especially for those held from free agency in last year’s anomoly.

  17. djstat says: Jul 1, 2011 11:12 AM

    The owners need to drop this demand, hwoever adding an extra franchise tag per year makes sense. However the second tag, need be a one time thing, that pays the player the average of the top 3 salaries at his position, the team then may not put any tag on that player the following year…and if the player is not signed to a multi year contract, the team may not use that tag the following season.

  18. readimgram1 says: Jul 1, 2011 11:13 AM

    I don’t think the Vikings would care if the Colts signed “Sydney Rice” actually I don’t think most teams know who “he/she” is?

    As for a poison pill, the league has already covered this issue and it will not be happening again!

    ——————————–

    Sorry Sidney Rice, you got me, and how has the league addressed the poison pill? I heard folks on the radio talking about it being an option yesterday on NFL radio(Pat Kirwen who dislikes the poison pill and the right of first refusal and thinks both have no place in the league but admits they may be used)

    As far as I know the poison pills are perfectly legal in the contracts.

  19. tommyf15 says: Jul 1, 2011 11:20 AM

    redwinglion says:
    “It’s not practical, and it’s not fair.”

    Oh, but asking for profits from concerts held at NFL stadiums, something the players have absolutely no involvement with, IS fair?

    What the hell are you even talking about?

    Where was that reported? Tell me. Tell me how you know the players asked for that.

  20. gsraider says: Jul 1, 2011 11:23 AM

    Here’s another idea. How about meet in the middle for unrestricted FA at 5 years instead of dropping from 6 to 4 immediately? Even if that is the solution for one year only, it would at least help ease into this transition during a shortened year.

  21. jonscoit says: Jul 1, 2011 11:54 AM

    PFT has done a good job describing the consequences for 2010 free agency of the owner-friendly provisions of the uncapped year in the last CBA, and the owners’ decision to create an uncapped year by opting out of the CBA in 2008. The players to which this right of refusal would apply are players that would have been gone and have received good contracts but for the owners’ decisions. The more I read about this provision the more I think that it itself is a poison pill, a final f-u to the players who’ve already been screwed.

    The owners already received a year of extra service a bargain-basement prices from these guys, and arguably acted as a “single entity” when they refused to maximize the utility to each franchise of dumping huge amounts of salary into the uncapped year. Now they want additional benefits on top of that. Unbelieveable.

  22. minnyjoe says: Jul 1, 2011 12:03 PM

    Why do you think you have not heard about them since Minn and Seattle played their little games of poison pills? Not because everyone is playing nice but rather the league had a talk with everyone about it. It will not happen, one of the unwritten rules.

    As for having the opportunity to sign a player who is under contract.

    Without knowing the framework of the new deal teams were not willing to work out something that may hamstring them for years. I think the first right of refusal should be given for this year and then off the table since you know the structure of the deal.

  23. kevinwi says: Jul 1, 2011 12:32 PM

    All teams should be able to do the right of first refusal for this season only. After that, it’s up to the teams to get the players signed they wish to keep.
    Without knowing what the cap would be, there is NO WAY for any teams to know what to offer their star players.

  24. minhw0714 says: Jul 1, 2011 2:08 PM

    redwinglion says:
    Jul 1, 2011 10:22 AM
    “It’s not practical, and it’s not fair.”

    Oh, but asking for profits from concerts held at NFL stadiums, something the players have absolutely no involvement with, IS fair?

    ==================================
    this is a ‘red herring’ issue from the Players just like the 18 game season is a red herring issue from the Owners. The Owners are indifferent to the 18 game season, but will pretend to really care about it if it can “buy” them 2 or 3 revenue percentage points.
    Basic negotiating strategy that the general public is too blind to see due to their passions.

  25. kevinwi says: Jul 1, 2011 2:49 PM

    It’s apparent that many people do not fully understand the right of first refusal…..
    In a nutshell, players still get to search for their payday…..the team they are currently with gets the opportunity to match that offer from other teams in effort to keep that player. That is all it is. Nothing terrible or greedy.

    It keeps parity in the NFL which is why NFL is so popular…any team can beat any team on any given Sunday because teams are so evenly matched.

  26. tommyf15 says: Jul 1, 2011 3:19 PM

    kevinwi says:
    It’s apparent that many people do not fully understand the right of first refusal…..
    In a nutshell, players still get to search for their payday…..the team they are currently with gets the opportunity to match that offer from other teams in effort to keep that player. That is all it is. Nothing terrible or greedy.

    It seems you don’t fully understand it.

    If I were running a team I’d be a lot less interested in negotiating a deal with a player if a third party (another team) can nullify all of my effort to sign a player with a simple “sure, we’ll match that”.

    Also, what if a player is willing to take less money to play in a city he finds more desirable? What if a player simply wants to get away from his former team, for whatever reason?

    Sports fans get into a lather whenever the word “slavery” comes up, but this is a perfect example of it. If the players agree to this, a team literally OWNS a player as long as it’s willing to match another team’s offer.

    No way the NFLPA should even think about considering this. If I were DeMaurice Smith I would have walked out of the room when this was proposed, and I would have let the owners know there would be no further negotiations until this proposal was completely forgotten about.

  27. bearsbulls34 says: Jul 1, 2011 4:03 PM

    It’s times like these that I wish every franchise were publicly-owned. At least then you’re taking half the problem out of the situation, and you’re giving fans the opportunity to have a say in this entire situation. When you think about it, we’re all partial-owners without representation in these proceedings.

  28. tommyf15 says: Jul 1, 2011 4:30 PM

    bearsbulls34 says:
    When you think about it, we’re all partial-owners without representation in these proceedings.

    No we’re not.

    Maybe we’d like to be, but that’s not reality. You and I are consumers, and anything else is a wishful and somewhat damaging fantasy.

  29. qj1984 says: Jul 1, 2011 8:31 PM

    I totally disagree. Maybe its because the team I cheer for has alot to lose if this doesnt happen. I said before and I’ll say it again, I dont think the owners will do a deal without some chance to keep their free agents built in. Having this is a deal breaker for the players but I also think not having it is a deal breaker for the owners.

    Every player with more than 6 years of service whose contract has expired should be allowed to negotiate with any team right away. Those players with less than 6 years that received tenders from their current clubs should be off limits for the first week while they try to work out a deal with their teams.

    If to many of these guys change teams football is going to be even worse next year. This isnt the NBA or MLB where you can turn your roster over in 1 year and still be competitive. The more roster turnover there is the worse already bad football will be.

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