Vikings apparently haven’t ruled out the “tolling” argument for Teddy Bridgewater

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It’s widely believed that each of the three Vikings veteran quarterbacks will become unrestricted free agents in March. One of them still may not.

As PFT first explained in May, the Collective Bargaining Agreement states in clear and obvious terms that a contract tolls for any player who, in the last year of his deal, is physically unable to perform through the sixth game of the regular season. Bridgewater, who was on the PUP list to start the season, ultimately was physically unable to perform through Minnesota’s sixth game.

Vikings G.M. Rick Spielman tiptoed around that issue during a subsequent visit to PFT Live.

We know the rule very well,” Spielman said last May. “We’ve talked to the Management Council, we understand everything that’s involved with it, but again it’s something from a contractual standpoint that I’d rather not comment on. But there are specific rules there, and we’re quite aware of what the rules are.”

If the Vikings are “quite aware” of the rule, they’re the only ones; despite the plain language of the CBA, some believe that the contract for a player like Bridgewater would toll for a year only if he had missed the entire season. Because he didn’t miss the full season, but did miss six games, a squabble could be looming over whether he’s free to leave — or whether the Vikings can keep him for another year at a base salary of $1.354 million.

Spielman and Vikings president Mark Wilf visited PFT Live at the Mall of America on Thursday and, frankly, I’d forgotten about the issue. Fortunately, others who had a chance to talk to Spielman on Thursday did not.

“Right now, he’s technically ready to become a free agent,” Spielman said, via Judd Zulgad of 1500espn.com. “With the tolling, I know you guys wrote about all that, if it goes into that area, it’s not a Minnesota Viking [decision], that’s an NFL and player union [issue] that will have to decide that area.”

Reading between the lines, it sounds like the Vikings are considering the tolling route, while also staking out the ability to blame it on the NFL, if/when it comes to that. Either way, the situation seems to be destined to end with a grievance, if the NFL harps on the plain language of the labor deal (which favors tolling) and the NFL Players Association focuses on the past interpretation of it (which doesn’t favor tolling).

If the situation will be going the way of a grievance, the process needs to get started soon. Both sides will benefit greatly from getting Bridgewater’s status resolved before the free-agency period opens on March 14.

21 responses to “Vikings apparently haven’t ruled out the “tolling” argument for Teddy Bridgewater

  1. “Blame the NFL” doesn’t work here. If the NFL rules that Bridgewater doesn’t get the accrued year, the Vikings can always release him.

  2. Rrgardless…no other team than the Vikings are going to rush out and sign this guy. He was avg at best when he was healthy.

  3. Someone reported that he had an obvious limp in practices and walking around in general. He probably isn’t really ready to start anywhere if that’s the case. Which means he’s not going to pick up big bucks in free agency either. He would be better off with guaranteed money than potentially nothing. He is a very lucky man to have been able to come back this far. Take the money.

  4. Bridgewater is a good locker room guy, but is not great at his craft. I would be inclined to believe that he has a glass knee, and a solid tackle would put him back on the shelf. That said, I would not keep him….let him go & test the FA market. Focus on signing Keenum, and Bradford (who also has continuous health issues).

  5. Scenario One:
    Vikings make a play for Cousins. Of course very risky for the simple fact if all three of them get signed, Keenum, Bridgewater and Bradford (highly doubtful) the Vikes will not have a starter going into OTAs.

    Scenario Two:
    Just sign Case and be done with it. This what I feel will would be best and the most likely scenario if they cannot sign Cousins. Makes it more likely because I feel the Vikings are very interested in Eagles QB coach DeFilippo. My reasoning is this, they would have hired an OC this week but the did not which means Vikes have high interest in him.

    Scenario Three:
    Toll Teddy and sign Case.

    Both the OC and the QB situation should be taken care of as quickly as possible and someone either Case or Teddy will have to take one for the team if they want to stay.

  6. That would be an underhanded move. I am sure Teddy would draw interest in FA. Make him play for 1.3? He would probably hold out.

  7. This is a bit of a touchy situation. Isn’t it a bit too early to tell whether Bridgewater will be a decent QB? He’s a young guy with pretty limited experience. He’s flashed signs of being good before the injury. Whether he’s all the way back, doubtful, or ever will be fully healthy again is yet to be seen. It’s not like the Vikings were loaded offensively before the injury.

    It makes sense the Vikings may want to keep him another year, if possible, to help understand what they have in him.

    Bridgewater could justify both angles. If he’s a competitor, like most guys at the pro level are, he probably wants to go out there and show people what he can do. If he wants to play it safe though, that extra year under contract with the Vikings sure does sound nice.

  8. trophylessvikings says:
    February 2, 2018 at 10:09 am
    Wish my Vikings would get that Rodgers guy..man he is good. skol?
    —————————————————-
    I’m hoping our Vikings sign that Drew Brees. He’s the best!

  9. trophylessvikings says:
    February 2, 2018 at 10:09 am
    Wish my Vikings would get that Rodgers guy..man he is good. skol?

    /////////

    Wouldn’t that be fresh? Revenge Tour 2.0. With things going the way there are in Packerland with all the coaching changes and Rodgers due a new contract – things that make you go hmmmmmmmmmm.

  10. mrdarkness13 says:
    February 2, 2018 at 10:40 am
    trophylessvikings says:
    February 2, 2018 at 10:09 am
    Wish my Vikings would get that Rodgers guy..man he is good. skol?

    /////////

    Wouldn’t that be fresh? Revenge Tour 2.0. With things going the way there are in Packerland with all the coaching changes and Rodgers due a new contract – things that make you go hmmmmmmmmmm.
    —————————————————–
    Revenge Tour 2.0 would go about as well as Revenge Tour 1.0 went. SKOL.

  11. 4sacroc says:
    February 2, 2018 at 9:39 am
    Average arm. Short. Now a balky knee. Webb 2.0

    —————————

    Average arm – yes.

    Short – he’s listed at 6’3″, that’s 3″ taller than Brees, 1″ taller than Rodgers, and 1″ shorter than Brady. Not short for the position in my book.

    Bad knee – maybe, nobody knows how it will hold up yet, that’s going to be the toughest part of him getting signed anywhere.

    Webb 2.0 – terrible statement about him, Webb had no business being on an NFL roster for anything other than a punt returner, and maybe not even that. At his worst, Bridgewater is a capable backup QB, if his knee holds up.

  12. Bridgewater is really an unknown. He wasn’t amazing when he was a starter. He was good thou. He dealt with a bad offensive line and lack of Receivers other than Diggs. It’s possible Teddy could do well with the improved offense the Vikings have, kind of like how Case did pretty good.

  13. Misleading article. The Vikings don’t have a choice to “rule out tolling” considering that the NFL makes that determination and not the Vikings. The only thing the Vikings can do in that regard is to react one way or the other to what the NFL decides. That said; it may be in both the Vikings and Brdigewater’s best interests if the NFL does indeed go the tolling route. It would seem odd, given Bridgewater’s circumstance (2 years seasons recovering from the injury), that the NFLPA would disagree and enter a grievance.

  14. The contract tolls for an injury suffered on the job? BS! I could see tolling for an non-football injury. I think it is chintzy for the Vikings to treat him like that after suffering a catastrophic injury.

    The point is why alienate him if you intend to keep him?

  15. Just heard on KFAN that Cousins is in Minny for the Super Bowl and has told several sources that “Minnesota would be his first choice”

  16. Big deal, first it’s an NFL, not local decision, and second, like someone said above, the Vikes can always release him if both sides agree.

  17. I’m no lawyer, but if the CBA language is clear and obvious, I don’t see how the NFLPA could argue that the contract doesn’t toll. They’re the ones who agreed to the language in the CBA and legally, that’s the way it is.

    That said, I don’t think the Vikings would go that route because they see Bridgewater as their franchise quarterback. They don’t want to do anything to alienate him so I think they’ll offer him an incentive-laden contract with a good amount of guaranteed money. They will save money on the deal if the contract tolls because Teddy will have no leverage. If they treat him as a free agent, they will still offer him more than anyone else.

    For anyone thinking it would be good for Teddy for his contract to toll, he would get a better contract to be a backup somewhere than he would get by extending the contract a year. If I were him, I would want a short-term prove-it contract that allows him to make big money once he’s proven himself.

  18. Teddytrust if the NFL allows them to toll the contract the Vikings would be stupid not to go that route.

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