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- DisinFRANCHISEment

Kevin Figgers February 24, 2006
Kevin Figgers
NFL Columnist

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Its that time of year again, where every team around the National Football League is in a mad scramble to get under the salary cap by the initial March 2nd deadline. While you see the names of veterans like Ty Law and Ahmed Plummer, being cut lose because of their cap-consuming salaries. You also see All-Pro players like Edgerrin James, Jamal Lewis and to a lesser extent (unless you live in the northeast or love kickers) Adam Vinatieri. These players, among others, were told by their respective teams that they will not be "franchise tagged". To those who may not know, the franchise tag is just a provision in the collective bargaining agreement (which, by the way, expires after the 2007 season) that allows teams to retain one player on a one year deal that gurantees the player will be paid an average of the top 5 players at his position, or will recieve a 20% pay increase, whichever is more advantageous. The downside is, that if that team signs the player to an extension while he is still their "franchise" player, they lose the ability to use the franchise tag for the legnth of that extension.

It is not surprising that many teams such as the Colts chose not to use their franchise tag. If the Colts were to use their tag on James, they would go from being over the salary cap, to being well over the salary cap. Signing Reggie Wayne to a long term deal freed up salary cap space for the Colts to pursue a long term deal with a HB (which could still be James) this off-season.

With it looking more and more likely that a new CBA will not be reached before the start of the season, many teams will be very careful with how they deal with the signing of players and free agency because if a new CBA is not reached, it would lead to an uncapped 2007-08 season. Which would mean that owners like Dan Snyder, Paul Allen and Jerry Jones could basically buy the free agent market. Which would bring a new meaning to the term "franchise player".

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