It’s Franchise Day in the NFL …Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

Will Tamba Hali become the Chiefs newest member of the franchise player fraternity on Thursday?

That’s the day that NFL teams have a two-week window to use the franchise player designation on one of the veteran players who is about to become a free agent.

But whether or not the franchise tag comes out and gets applied to Hali is a far bigger question than just the negotiations between the outside linebacker and the team. It’s part of the labor battle between the NFL owners and players that threatens the 2011 season.

In a nutshell: the NFL has told teams that starting February 10 they can designate a franchise or transition player(s). The NFL Players Association says the teams cannot give the designation of franchise or transition player because the agreement between the parties is about to run out on March 3rd.

The issue between the owners and union is about interpretation of language in the soon to expire collective bargaining agreement that allows for application of the franchise tag “in any season during the term of this Agreement.”

The CBA is in place until March 3 so technically the Tag can be used now. However, once the Agreement expires, all bets are off subject to negotiation of a new agreement.

The union said in a statement given to agents last week that “The 2011 season is not a ‘season during the term of this Agreement’ so the NFL has no valid basis for claiming the right to franchise players in 2011.”  

“Our position is you can franchise anyone you want by whatever date you want,” said NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said last week during a press conference in Dallas at the Super Bowl. “But if there’s no CBA, the franchise tag would be meaningless.”

As a refresher, here is what the tags mean:

A franchise player can be designated by each team to prevent the player from becoming an unrestricted free agent. He must be offered a contract at 120 percent of his salary from the previous season or the average of the five highest-paid players at his position. There are two levels of franchise designation: exclusive and non-exclusive. The first is obvious – the player cannot negotiate with another team. Non-exclusive allows him to negotiate and even sign an offer-sheet. But the original team can match, or refuse and receive two first-round draft choices in return.

A transition player is also an unrestricted free agent, who has to be offered a contract at 120 percent of his salary from the previous season or the average of the top 10 salaries from 2010 at his position, whichever is great. That tag gives the team the right to match any offer the player receives in seven days. If they chose not to, the team receives compensation.

OK, so what does this mean with Hali, the team’s best defensive player in 2010 and the AFC’s sack leader? If the Chiefs use the franchise player tag, that’s a tender offer that would have to equal $10.191 million for the 2011 season. A transition tag would be $8.943 million.

That the Chiefs need to work out a deal with Hali is without question. No matter the financial demands, they cannot allow a player of Hali’s talent, performance and age (27) get away. Barring major injuries, he should have five or six more years of productive play ahead of him. It’s impossible to believe he still has something to prove to the team and coaches. Nobody works harder and plays with a faster motor than No. 91, and he’s a clubhouse leader who handles things the right way.

In fact, it’s hard to believe at this point why the Chiefs did not get a deal done with Hali during the 2010 season. They got new deals done with LBs Derrick Johnson and Andy Studebaker and RB Jamaal Charles, but those are small deals compared to what will go down with Hali.

Using the franchise player designation would allow the Chiefs to see how the new labor agreement shakes out and where the numbers might come in for an outside linebacker. It’s going to be a nice payday for Hali. In 2009, Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs signed a six-year, $62.5 million deal with $38.1 million in guaranteed money. Also that year, DeMarcus Ware signed a deal with the Cowboys for six years, $78 million with $40 million guaranteed.

The Chiefs approach to dealing with Hali remains a mystery, as does most of the front office’s plans on dealing with multiple situations. But what matters for the Chiefs is that when they take the field for training camp, Tamba Hali is on the field.


  • BROWNS – released DT Shaun Rogers, LB Eric Barton, LB David Bowens, TE Robert Royal, OT John St. Clair and DL Kenyon Coleman.
  • CARDINALS – named Ray Horton defensive coordinator; named DeShea Townsend as defensive backs coach and Louie Ciofffi as assistant defensive backs coach.
  • COLTS – named David Walker as running backs coach and Devin Fitzsimmons as coaching assistant.
  • FALCONS – GM Thomas Dimitroff was named the NFL Executive of the Year; released S Erik Coleman; signed LB Coy Wire to a contract extension.
  • JETS – signed K Nick Novak.
  • JAGUARS – lost QB coach Todd Monken who left to become offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State.
  • PATRIOTS – DB coach Corwin Brown and strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik have left the team.
  • SEAHAWKS – signed DT Barrett Moen.
  • TITANS – named Bruce Matthews as offensive line coach.

7 Responses to “It’s Franchise Day in the NFL …Thursday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • February 10, 2011  - RW says:

    The Chiefs approach to dealing with Hali remains a mystery, as does most of the front office’s plans on dealing with multiple situations. But what matters for the Chiefs is that when they take the field for training camp, Tamba Hali is on the field.

    I was all set to go off on the front office for failing to simply do the right thing, not testing the fragile current CBA on franchising rights and just sign Hali when I got to the last paragraph of Bob’s story. Well said.

    I’m at a loss to explain the actions and mindset of this team’s front office perpetually cloaked in a shroud of uncertainty.

  • February 10, 2011  - el cid says:

    Interesting that Falcons GM and Pioli are awarded Exec of year, I guess they voted before GB won the superbowl. Seems that GM did not get noticed, how many starters did he have to replace and still win the big one?

  • February 10, 2011  - jim says:

    For me, it’s cut and dried. The agreement that is in place, is well, STILL in place until it expires. Anything done while it is in effect and before it expires, is binding until that which they have executed expires. Meaning: If they tag Hali, he’s tagged until that period for which the tag applies expires. A new contract does not void andything that was done under a previous contract, unless the previous contract made stipulations for those types of adjustments. Which I doubt it does.

    What’s the big deal?

    It’s like this. My analogy: If the deer season ends on Jan.1, and I kill a deer on Jan 2., existing laws apply to my dumb ass. Susequently, if they change the season, thru legislation, to make the season end on Jan. 10, I don’t get a ‘get out of jail free’ card.” When I “shot my deer”, it was existing rules that apply to me, regarless of what changes they make after the fact.

    Seems pretty simple to me. Where am I wrong in this thinking (?) as it relates to ‘EXISTING’ Franchise Tag Rules, and rules that “might” be in effect at some future point in time. I don’t see what one has to do with the other, except for FUTURE franchise tag rules.

  • February 10, 2011  - el cid says:

    Unless the owners give up the “franchise tag” for some other advantage, ie 18 game season. It allows the brain to fantasize the possibilites. Would not put anything past the owners pursuit of the all mighty dollar. If not franchise tags, then the players could, COULD, be a really rich free agent, 32 of them against the millions, maybe billions, to be gained with a 18 game schedule. Who do you trust?

  • February 10, 2011  - jim says:

    elcid, while I agree that you can’t put anything past the owners and their pursuit of the Almighty Dollar, it seems to me that is EXACLY what the Union, Agents, and Players are in pursuit of, as well. Hard to sleep with a pig and not get some of the smell rubbed off on you in the process.

    I’m having a real hard time trying to understand the owners AND players position. You have the Millionaires collective strength (players) butting heads with the Billionaire owners, and the family of four spends roughly $700. to take in a Sunday football game of relative little importance.

    Regardless of what they decide upon, we, the fans will ultimately end up paying for it in some shape or form, and who is representing us? No one.

  • February 10, 2011  - Nate says:

    While we all want to know what Scott Pioli is going to do to keep Hali a Chief for several more years, I am certain that Pioli has a plan in place to make that happen. And think about this, Hali is going to be paid a huge amount of money, however this works out and any money that Pioli can save on Hali’s contract is money that can be used to secure other good players. Regarding the owners and players, both groups are bloated, greedy, spoiled and filled with self importance. The fans who love this wonderful game take it in the shorts and end up footing the bill.

  • February 11, 2011  - el cid says:

    Careful, I suggested Hali, who is currently the fan’s decided upon franchise tag, might not be the fit Pioli/Haley want/need for the future. I got fried in oil, watch out Nate. Not to attack your views but where is the evidence that Pioli would used money saved on Hali on other good players? Seems most saved money ends up in the bank.

    I would hope Hali will be a Chiefs next year but sometimes you have to look outside the box because we do not know the plan.

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