A week from today, we will be on the two-week anniversary of when the lockout ended. And now with two years of hindsight to show for it, it’s clear that the players dropped the ball.
Last week, I discussed Roger Goodell and the NFL’s corporate image in efforts to “protect the shield.” The fact that the players didn’t fight harder to have Goodell removed as the entity that disciplines players. This became a major issue last off-season with the BountyGate decisions, where Goodell clearly overstepped his limits when meting out player punishment.
The players signed a deal believing that their would be a landfall with money coming in 2014. Well, current projections indicate that at the earliest that will be coming in 2015. Until then there has been a flat cap which has led to teams spending much less money, leading some players to believe that teams are colluding with one another to keep prices down.
The players also didn’t fight hard enough to get rid of the franchise tag. Look at the number of tagged players that aren’t getting deals. Eight players got tagged this off-season. And only one of them as of this posting Monday morning, Denver Broncos offensive tackle Ryan Clady, got a long-term deal. In fact, several of them such as Randy Starks and Anthony Spencer were pretty much told point-blank that their respective teams had no interest in locking them up to long-term deals.
That’s the same way that the Falcons treated Brent Grimes an off-season ago. They had no intention to really give him a long-term deal, which led to the bitterness expressed by Miko Grimes.
Look at the following table. Since 2008, 73 players have received franchise tags. Only 35 of them have gotten long-term deals from their respective teams. Even discounting this year’s group of eight, the percentage was still barely about half (52.3%). Basically when a player is tagged, it’s a 50/50 proposition that he gets a new deal from his respective team. This is why players hate the franchise tag. It’s denying them money that they should be able to get on the open market.