Just yesterday on Canal Street Chronicles I theorized that there’s a whopper of a bargaining chip out there somewhere, probably on the side of the Brees/Condon camp, that’s holding up negotiations. Call it, as some have, a “poison pill.” I said that I didn’t think your typical numbers game was the issue here, for several reasons.
I also admitted that perhaps I was being a little too tin-foily and reading too far into the situation. But, just maybe, I wasn’t too far off.
According to Jason Cole, the Brees camp has it in their heads that under the current CBA, next year would be Brees’s third franchise tag. Of course, he received the tag in 2005 with San Diego, and this year with the Saints. A second tag would receive a 20% increase in salary. A third tag would entail a 44% increase.
Now Brees’s tag this year isn’t changing — he’s already been tendered. Condon & Co., however, are arguing that next year should be number three – bringing the tag number up by 44%, to about 23.5 million. Wow.
Loomis apparently disagrees, and won’t budge. No word on where the league sits on this issue just yet.
Final thought here (and credit @ReidG75 for bringing it up): Why wouldn’t the Brees camp argue that THIS year’s tag should be 19+ million, instead of 16 million? Is it too late to affect change on the tender? I wouldn’t think so, since Brees hasn’t signed it (and probably won’t). Perhaps Cole just neglected to mention that – but it would be a pretty key piece, since it would shift the balance of tag vs. long-term deal for this year also (Brees would then make more this year under the tag than Loomis is purportedly offering).
I know one thing: this offseason has been a hell of a ride for the tin-foil enthusiasts of Who Dat Nation. It appears that, once again, the conspiracy was real. And if Condon, Brees, et al are correct about this, it’s a game-changer.
EDIT TO ADD: To clarify what a big deal this is, they are trying to set a precedent (sound familiar?) that a player’s past franchise tag(s), applied by another team, can be held against the current team in negotiations. That’s something that will have ramifications across the league, as long as there is such a thing as a franchise tag, if they are successful. Power move.
UPDATE (AGAIN): I realized the source of my earlier confusion. The second-year tag dictates a 20% increase in salary from the previous year, not over the current franchise number. There’s no increase in this year’s tender because the tender is already over
120% of his 2011 salary, by a large margin. Of course.