Franchise tag fight could be looming for Chiefs and Dee Ford

Getty Images

The Chiefs have franchise-tagged Dee Ford as a linebacker. He’ll likely be a defensive end in the team’s new defense. And that could spark a fight over whether he should be tagged as a linebacker or as a defensive end.

Technically, Kansas City’s plans for 2019 are irrelevant; Article 10, Section 2(a)(i) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement specifies that a franchise player will be tendered at the position “at which [he] participated in the most plays during the prior League Year.” But it became obvious in connection with Jimmy Graham‘s receiver-or-tight-end fight with the Saints from five years ago that the arbitrator will do whatever the arbitrator wants when trying to figure out which position a guy plays. If the Chiefs plan to make Ford a defensive end in their new defense, that reality could cause an arbitrator to find a way to massage the facts in a way that reaches the conclusion that Ford participated in more plays last year as a hand-in-the-ground, pass-rushing defensive end.

That’s possibly why the Chiefs have leaked the notion that Ford could be available in trade, with the vague implication that he may not fit in the new defense. Well, if he doesn’t fit, why did they tag him? Unless they tagged him simply to trade him (which would be a CBA violation, technically), the equivocation could be aimed at setting up an argument that they don’t really know whether he’ll be a linebacker or a defensive end, echoing the verbal tiptoeing in which new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo recently engaged.

The difference between the defensive end franchise tender of $17.128 million and the linebacker tender of $15.443 million is only $1.685 million. But that’s still, you know, $1.685 million, which becomes even more important when considering the starting point for negotiations on a long-term deal.

Once Ford officially is tagged as a linebacker, the ball will be in his court to challenge it with a grievance. There’s no reason not to; he’s got nothing to lose and $1.685 million to gain.

13 responses to “Franchise tag fight could be looming for Chiefs and Dee Ford

  1. It all depends on what type of tag Ford is given, Exclusive or Non-exclusive…With a non-exclusive tag, Ford is allowed to negotiate a contract with other teams, but the Chiefs has the right to match any offers. If the Chiefs declines, they will receive two first-round draft picks in compensation. So that wouldn’t be a CBA violation as you claimed.

  2. This is why the chiefs haven’t said what defense spags is running even though everyone knows.

  3. “Article 10, Section 2(a)(i) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement sets a clear guideline based on what position the player played most in the prior season.” Seems pretty clear.
    Exactly why is that not absolute and why would an arbitrator have any wiggle room on it?

  4. You are either in or you are out. If you are out, go. Ford can get paid more or have a legitimate chance to play for SEVERAL titles with the Chiefs. The Patriots plug new people in all of the time. Adapt. Go Patriots!

  5. Why would the Chiefs tag anyone from their defense? When your defense is bad and your highest paid players arent doing a good job of leading…..its time to find new leaders.

  6. The franchise tag has become too powerful…expect the next CBA to either get rid of it…or make it cost so much teams will think long and hard before using it…the way teams casually tag players with no hesitation shows the players got jobbed bigly…this is getting ridiculous…!!!

  7. my_old_name_was_offensive says:
    March 3, 2019 at 7:35 pm
    The franchise tag has become too powerful…expect the next CBA to either get rid of it…or make it cost so much teams will think long and hard before using it…the way teams casually tag players with no hesitation shows the players got jobbed bigly…this is getting ridiculous…!!!

    _____________________________________________________
    Lol – They can’t just “get rid of it.” It’s a part of the collective bargaining agreement. The players agreed to it. I am willing to bet they clarify the rules of what constitutes a league year. The Bell loophole will Ben closed.

  8. arrowhead816 says:

    March 3, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    It all depends on what type of tag Ford is given, Exclusive or Non-exclusive…With a non-exclusive tag, Ford is allowed to negotiate a contract with other teams, but the Chiefs has the right to match any offers. If the Chiefs declines, they will receive two first-round draft picks in compensation. So that wouldn’t be a CBA violation as you claimed.

    _________________

    If that was the case then they wouldn’t be trying to trade him

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!