July 3rd, 2012
Finally, some good news for a member of the New Orleans Saints.
On Monday, Saints quarterback Drew Brees received a break in his franchise tag case when arbitrator Stephen Burbank ruled in his favor, stating that the next year (2013) will count as his third and last franchise tag, if the Saints choose to use it on him.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen tweeted the news on Tuesday:
Arbitrator Stephen Burbank rules in favor of @drewbrees and NFLPA – next year will count as his 3rd and last franchise tag. #NFL32 #ESPN
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) July 3, 2012
According to the Associated Press, Burbank, who serves as a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, was called upon to interpret the language of the NFL‘s collective bargaining agreement. The CBA mandates that any team that designates a player as the franchise player for a third time must give that player a 44 percent raise.
Though the Saints designated Brees as their franchise player for the first time in March, the Chargers also gave him the franchise tag earlier in his career.
Brees’ case aimed to answer the question of whether the CBA’s mandate will apply to him if he is named the Saints’ franchise player next year, even though one of his previous franchise tags came from the Chargers, not the Saints. Burbank’s ruling established that if the Saints designate Brees as their franchise player again in 2013, it will count as his third franchise tag and he will be due a 44 percent raise.
What It Means
Brees’ win means this case could set a precedent for other players in the same predicament. It also means that teams may face more pressure to award players like Brees long-term contracts instead of sticking them with the franchise tag season after season.
What Comes Next
Two things. The first is that Brees gets a big payday if the Saints designate him as the franchise player again in 2013. Because the arbitrator ruled in his favor, the Saints will owe him more than $23 million in 2013 if they franchise him again.
It also means the Saints might be more inclined to give Brees a long-term deal rather than stick with the franchise tag. The two sides couldn’t come to an agreement on a long-term extension in March, after Brees’ six-year, $60 million contract expired.
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