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Arbitrator Stephen Burbank sides with Brees, NFLPA on tag issue

BreesRecord1 AP

We still don’t know what or when the Saints will pay Drew Brees in 2012. But now we’re closer to knowing what he could make in 2013.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported Tuesday that Arbitrator Stephen Burbank ruled in favor of Brees and the NFLPA, that his 2005 franchise tag by the Chargers applied as the first for calculating future tag values.

That means that Brees’ current tag would be considered his second, and if tagged again next year by the Saints, his salary would be 144 percent of this year’s number.

That would mean a one-year deal worth around $23.5 million in 2013, or close to $40 million for the next two years.

The Saints argued unsuccessfully that the CBA gave them the right to tag Brees three times.

Florio wrote a detailed summation of the legal issues earlier this month, but the short version is, with this ruling, there’s that much more leverage for Brees in negotiating a long-term deal.

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44 Responses to “Arbitrator Stephen Burbank sides with Brees, NFLPA on tag issue”
  1. southpaw79 says: Jul 3, 2012 11:27 AM

    So, does this mean players who have ever been franchised will be less attractive in Free Agency? Less options for the team means less interest I would assume.

  2. daysend564 says: Jul 3, 2012 11:28 AM

    May as well stick with the franchising, it’ll still be cheaper over two years. If he’s injured, cut him. He’s shown the team at least as much gratitude.

  3. theashleyguy says: Jul 3, 2012 11:32 AM

    He needs every penny, of course, since now the ex-wife gets half. And next year, if he makes $23.5 million, leaving him with only $11.75 million for one year, how will he scrape by? Sad times indeed.

  4. foul83 says: Jul 3, 2012 11:32 AM

    Yeah, I don’t buy it. Kevin Costner could swim laps around Water World and still fall short of a successful comeback.

  5. vonsmoky71165 says: Jul 3, 2012 11:38 AM

    The long term deal for the Saints-Brees was hammered out weeks ago. The FINAL dollar amount was waiting to be set by this ruling. They both need each other. Brees will get $20.1 mil/yr for five year deal including the $55m in guaranteed money.

    Finalized for a 4th of July fireworks celebration for ALL Who-Dats!!

  6. purplegreenandgold says: Jul 3, 2012 11:38 AM

    OK now that this is settled… Mr. Loomis “PAY THE MAN”. Mr. Brees… sign the deal. Lets play football.

  7. source7769 says: Jul 3, 2012 11:38 AM

    Peyton the coach got the divorce not brees

  8. jade amor says: Jul 3, 2012 11:38 AM

    In other words, the Saints have to deal with the after math of a different team franchising one of their current players??? I am not saying I am against Brees, to be honest I think it was a rather savvy argument that his side put out there, but how can the Saints be held “accountable” to what the Chargers did 8 years ago? Isnt that the equivalent of holding your current Dr responsible when your previous Dr botched your surgery? How does that make sense?

  9. source7769 says: Jul 3, 2012 11:39 AM

    and of 23.5 million its taxed 11.75 and if divorced he would get 5.66 million if you feel any better

  10. jessecusterl says: Jul 3, 2012 11:41 AM

    “He needs every penny, of course, since now the ex-wife gets half. And next year, if he makes $23.5 million, leaving him with only $11.75 million for one year, how will he scrape by? Sad times indeed.”

    Payton’s getting divorced; not Brees.

  11. scoonie97 says: Jul 3, 2012 11:46 AM

    The Saints should just strip cap room from Atlanta, Carolina & Tampa to make up for Brees’s salary difference. It’s not “fair” New Orleans has to be held responsible for the year San Diego franchised him.

    That’s the way things work in the NFC East.

  12. patriots123456 says: Jul 3, 2012 11:46 AM

    What’s he want over 20% of the whole teams salary cap to one player. Cut him, self-centered fool. He is not worth it, nor is Tom Brady, the Mannings etc. etc. etc.

  13. 6thsense79 says: Jul 3, 2012 11:53 AM

    I always assume the franchise tag count restarts once a player joins a team but according to this ruling the count starts as soon as any team in the league franchises a player. That is really great news for anyone that claims to be for a capitalistic system. I loath the franchise. It prevents movement of players and limits the free agency market. How many teams would gladly line up to bid for a super bowl mvp comming off a season in which he broke the most passing yards record? This being a quarterback league and all.

  14. bucs13 says: Jul 3, 2012 11:55 AM

    “In other words, the Saints have to deal with the after math of a different team franchising one of their current players???”

    We’ll have to wait and see as to what, exactly, the arbitrator based their ruling on, but if I was a gambling man, I’d put my money on the following:

    1. The plain language, construed in the overall context of the CBA, favors the Saints’ position.

    2. However, there is an ambiguity.

    3. Management was considered to have drafted that part of the CBA.

    4. Ambiguities must be construed against the party that drafted the agreement.

    5. Therefore, the ambiguity was construed against the Saints.

    I could be wrong, and maybe the arbitrator thought the ambiguity favored Brees, but that’s my best guess.

  15. thraiderskin says: Jul 3, 2012 12:03 PM

    So the Saint’s franchise tag takes a hit because he was once tagged by the Chargers? That doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense, seeing as it was years ago and a whole different team.

  16. cannonballdookie says: Jul 3, 2012 12:05 PM

    At this point, should a long term deal even be celebrated? It’s something that should have been done years ago and it’s just starting to look ugly and sad now.

  17. sfm073 says: Jul 3, 2012 12:05 PM

    How much money is he asking for? Does he not care about filling roster spots for the other 50 guys?

  18. censoredpost says: Jul 3, 2012 12:24 PM

    Being franchised means you get a 1 yr deal worth a good amount right? It also means if you don’t get a long term deal done, during that yr, then you are exposed to injury risk during that yr. Is it fair to expose a player to that risk multiple times without increasing compensation for them? Kinda like hazard pay? If there is a injury part of the tag I was unaware.

  19. butthatmakestoomuchsense says: Jul 3, 2012 12:25 PM

    @bucs13 – thanks for saving me the trouble as I was going to post exactly what you did.

    That’s just how contract law works- ambiguity works against the party that drew up the agreement.

    Even without the ambiguity, it looked to me from the start that Brees’ interpretation of the agreement was correct.

  20. swingondeesenuts says: Jul 3, 2012 12:38 PM

    Why would the Saints low ball the most important player in their franchise’s history? Before he Brees got there, they were know as the Ani’ts and a laughing stock of the league. He won them a Super Bowl and put them back on the map. The least they can do is pay him Brady/Manning money because he has shown he belongs in that company.

  21. dryzzt23 says: Jul 3, 2012 12:38 PM

    Brees should get as much as he can but if his team cannot sign better talent, all fans will point to him for being uber-greedy.

    I will still root against him b/c of all his mouthing off this offseason.

  22. rhodeislandpatriotsfan says: Jul 3, 2012 12:42 PM

    More often than not I side with the league on CBA and labor-related matters. But even I would concede that Brees had a persuasive case here. Indeed, I read nothing in Article 10, Section 2(b) of the 2011 NFL CBA that limits the franchise player designation count to apply only during the player’s time with his current team. In the absence of such a limitation, that section should be construed broadly to allow the count to run across the player’s career. Since the Chargers tagged Brees in 2005, it should be viewed as tag No. 3 if the Saints were to again tag Brees in 2013.

  23. cash804 says: Jul 3, 2012 12:43 PM

    The Saints want an explanation…

  24. foreverlsu says: Jul 3, 2012 12:55 PM

    @ashleyguy says:

    He needs every penny, of course, since now the ex-wife gets half. And next year, if he makes $23.5 million, leaving him with only $11.75 million for one year, how will he scrape by? Sad times indeed.
    _______________________________

    What are you even talking about? What makes you think Brees is getting a divorce? Sad times? Maybe for you and your team when Brees hangs 50 on scoreboard.

  25. mogogo1 says: Jul 3, 2012 12:58 PM

    Players hate being franchised because they see it as costing them money they could be making on the open market. The only thing they’d hate more would be getting repeatedly franchised during their career and having the count reset with each new team.

  26. emmonsh says: Jul 3, 2012 1:01 PM

    The saints do not want him more than next year. a ton of qbs had amazing years last year. brees numbers are because of the rules not being god almighty. I just cant wait till a player puts a bounty on him and takes his head off. Dont c him lasting more than 6 games this year.

  27. nygmenruleny says: Jul 3, 2012 1:06 PM

    Interesting ruling. I can see both sides. It’s not exactly fair for a player to be tagged multiple times by different teams. That goes against the very idea of free agency. At the same time, it is kind of tough on the new team to be held to what previous teams have done. This could have a real effect on free agency late in players careers if they have been tagged once already. Bottom line is that free agency for the NFL just changed in a very fundemental way.

  28. sj39 says: Jul 3, 2012 1:09 PM

    The Saints just might believe that Brees has had his “career year” (he was never that great before his SB win anyway), he’s injury prone, not getting younger and they would like to look to the future with Chase (too bad they don’t have a first rounder next year as I suspect they may be picking high).

  29. radrntn says: Jul 3, 2012 1:20 PM

    I can hear him saying “show me the money”

  30. patriots123456 says: Jul 3, 2012 1:20 PM

    The Saints already have an offer on the table that would make Brees the highest paid player in the league.

    What else could he want?

    No longer a Drew Brees fan am I. Self-centered spoiled brat.

    Leave a little in the salary cap for the rest of the team Drew.

  31. panamon says: Jul 3, 2012 1:22 PM

    Lmao my Chargers and AJ using the tag via the league rules hurts the Saints for trying to use it twice, wow I didn’t even think this would happen but I love it. Probably the most ridiculous contract negotiations ever, wow I really can’t believe that was decided. Have we seen times when such a thing wasn’t counted?

  32. pappageorgio says: Jul 3, 2012 1:25 PM

    They should trade him to the jags. Kahn would give up drafts picks……he doesn’t care about building a team down there, he only cares about filling the seats.

    And before all you saints fans tell me how crazy that is…..it might be the best thing for the long-term health of your team.

    He wants a redonkulous deal, this guy has already turned down a deal to make him the highest paid player in the league…….I hate to see what he wants now that he got more leverage. Giving him all that cash means not being able to sign other players (young…core players).

    Let’s face an uncomfortable fact……your short-term chances for a championship suck. Not because you have a bad team, but because you are about to be under the rule-book microscope. The refs can find something wrong on every play…..and the saints are going to be the most penalized team in the league this year. The NFL will make sure that the “bounty” team isn’t the face of the league next year.

  33. flannlv says: Jul 3, 2012 1:33 PM

    This is great news for Saints fans. There isn’t any way the Saints would elect to franchise Brees over the next two years because the salary cap hit would be prohibitive. If the Saints sign him to a long term deal the Saints can spread the bonus over the term of the contract. My guess is 5yr, $100mm, $60mm guaranteed thereby bringing his cap number to a manageable $12-14mm per year.

  34. enrgy2burn says: Jul 3, 2012 1:34 PM

    In other words, the Saints have to deal with the after math of a different team franchising one of their current players??? I am not saying I am against Brees, to be honest I think it was a rather savvy argument that his side put out there, but how can the Saints be held “accountable” to what the Chargers did 8 years ago? Isnt that the equivalent of holding your current Dr responsible when your previous Dr botched your surgery? How does that make sense?

    ————————————————–

    So, let’s say, for the sake of argument, San Diego franchised him twice. While under the franchise tag, he is traded to New Orleans and plays out the year. New Orleans then franchise’s him a thrid time. According to your rules, Brees would have to take a paycut?

  35. robf2010 says: Jul 3, 2012 1:34 PM

    “He wants a redonkulous deal, this guy has already turned down a deal to make him the highest paid player in the league”

    Don’t believe everything you read. Only four people know what’s going on. Brees, Tom Condon, Mickey Loomis, and Tom Benson. Everyone else is just guessing.

  36. jade amor says: Jul 3, 2012 2:06 PM

    enrgy2burn says: Jul 3, 2012 1:34 PM

    In other words, the Saints have to deal with the after math of a different team franchising one of their current players??? I am not saying I am against Brees, to be honest I think it was a rather savvy argument that his side put out there, but how can the Saints be held “accountable” to what the Chargers did 8 years ago? Isnt that the equivalent of holding your current Dr responsible when your previous Dr botched your surgery? How does that make sense?

    ————————————————–

    So, let’s say, for the sake of argument, San Diego franchised him twice. While under the franchise tag, he is traded to New Orleans and plays out the year. New Orleans then franchise’s him a thrid time. According to your rules, Brees would have to take a paycut?
    ______________________________

    Not saying that at all. If Brees was “traded” from San Diego to the Saints, I would fully support the idea that the previous tag counts. But since he signed with the Saints as a free agent, I dont think it should count. My over all point is simple, based on this ruling, doesnt the NFL have to go back and adjust the salary cap numbers in previous years, and teams have to pay back “lost” wages to any player that falls into the same lot as Brees. I dont know the answer, but I am willing to bet there are multiple players that were franchised by one team, and then later on franchised by another team. If this ruling is legit, then I would think that they need to go back and apply this ruling to all of those cases. As I said before, I think it is a great argument for Brees to make, I just think it opens up a can of worms

  37. anon4576 says: Jul 3, 2012 2:11 PM

    So teams are now being held accountable for other team’s use of the franchise tag? Kind of a weird verdict, I did not expect this.

  38. mjkelly77 says: Jul 3, 2012 2:12 PM

    No big surprise here. His future will depend on how much the Saints think he’s worth.

  39. stanklepoot says: Jul 3, 2012 2:22 PM

    jade amor says: Jul 3, 2012 11:38 AM

    In other words, the Saints have to deal with the after math of a different team franchising one of their current players??? I am not saying I am against Brees, to be honest I think it was a rather savvy argument that his side put out there, but how can the Saints be held “accountable” to what the Chargers did 8 years ago? Isnt that the equivalent of holding your current Dr responsible when your previous Dr botched your surgery? How does that make sense?
    _______________________________
    Sorry, but this is the only decision that makes sense. The franchise tag was meant to be a short-term solution rather than a permanent restriction on a player. Without this decision, a player could hypothetically be tagged every single year of his career once he’s a fully vested veteran (4 years in the league). It’s simple. Tag the guy twice, get him to sign a third tag then trade him. The next team tags him twice (since you don’t think they should be affected by what the first team did), and then they trade him to a third team. Without this ruling, the player in question could be passed around the league on year-to-year contracts without ever having any say or security in their career. this isn’t an issue of a team having to pay the price for another team’s decisions, it’s about trying to keep the franchise tag from going too far away from what it was meant to be, namely an emergency power that helps a team avoid losing a single key player because time ran out before the team and player could work out a deal. Teams already have an incredible number of advantages when it comes to negotiating with players. They don’t need yet another one. Certainly not one that could conceivably take away a player’s ability to ever have any say in their own career.

  40. hcubed3 says: Jul 3, 2012 2:22 PM

    It is similar to the way baseball works with options. If Team A used two option years and then releases you and you sign with Team B it doesn’t reset all your option years back to zero.

  41. stanklepoot says: Jul 3, 2012 2:45 PM

    Not saying that at all. If Brees was “traded” from San Diego to the Saints, I would fully support the idea that the previous tag counts. But since he signed with the Saints as a free agent, I dont think it should count. My over all point is simple, based on this ruling, doesnt the NFL have to go back and adjust the salary cap numbers in previous years, and teams have to pay back “lost” wages to any player that falls into the same lot as Brees. I dont know the answer, but I am willing to bet there are multiple players that were franchised by one team, and then later on franchised by another team. If this ruling is legit, then I would think that they need to go back and apply this ruling to all of those cases. As I said before, I think it is a great argument for Brees to make, I just think it opens up a can of worms
    ______________________________
    If that’s the case, then open up that can. The franchise tag was originally designed to by an emergency option for a team to hold onto a single key player whose loss could cripple the team. It was designed so that the team would then be motivated to continue negotiations and sign that player to a longer deal. Over time, however, the teams have twisted it into a standard tool used to gain yet another advantage over players in negotiations. I actually have a little bit of a problem with that. It’s like using 911 to call in a noise complaint because the neighbors are throwing a party. Furthermore, I don’t understand why we should differentiate between a trade or free agent signing. The three time tag limit was put in place to make sure no player could be tagged continuously. It was the one built in limit in the franchise tag (well, that and the increasing salary). Say teams develop a concern over a player’s health for some reason. His team tags him twice and then releases him rather than risk being stick with years of guaranteed money if he gets injured. Now, this health concern and his release (why would they release him if he’s fully healthy?) force him to sign a one year contract that’s less than he’s earned. They in turn franchise him for two years and then release him. See how this could go on? This player would spend his entire career without ever having any security because of a belief that he had an issue. Time and time again, it would be the player bearing an undue percentage of the financial risk. Financial risk should be shared by both team and player, especially when you consider the fact that the physical risk is borne solely by the player.

  42. stanklepoot says: Jul 3, 2012 3:02 PM

    patriots123456 says: Jul 3, 2012 11:46 AM

    What’s he want over 20% of the whole teams salary cap to one player. Cut him, self-centered fool. He is not worth it, nor is Tom Brady, the Mannings etc. etc. etc.
    _________________________________
    My impression of you and the posters like you:

    “Waaaaaaaah. I used to like him, but now that he actually wants to make something resembling his value on the open market, I think he’s a greedy, selfish, and mean guy. I hate him now”

    They’re not worth it? Grow up. Just because you don’t make anything near what they do, that doesn’t mean they didn’t earn it. Have you every stopped to consider just how much players like this have made for their teams? Ticket sales, sponsorship and merchandising deals, merchandise sales, etc. Seeing as how every team in the NFL is making money, it’s a safe bet that these players are bringing in a whole lot more money than they cost the team. I hate to burst your bubble, but salaries are based on the value an employee has to their employer. There’s a very good reason players like Brees and Brady make a lot more money than we do.

  43. jessecusterl says: Jul 3, 2012 6:26 PM

    This decision simply forces the Saints’ hand at giving him a deal that truly reflects his worth as a Top 3 QB in the NFL. There’s no way the Saints sign him to a one-year deal at $23+M when they can sign him to a four- or five-year deal averaging $22M/year.

  44. 6thsense79 says: Jul 3, 2012 10:24 PM

    sfm073 says:Jul 3, 2012 12:05 PM

    How much money is he asking for? Does he not care about filling roster spots for the other 50 guys?
    ———————
    Not his job. Or do you worry about leaving money on the table to help your boss meet his payroll budget.

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