Perhaps unwittingly, the NFLPA didn't make a whole lot of friends among the franchise players in the league with last week's letter to commissioner Roger Goodell seeking an investigation of New Orleans' negotiations with "exclusive" franchise quarterback Drew Brees.
First reported by CBSSports.com, the letter suggests that the Saints
haven't bargained in good faith, and that perhaps Brees has been a
victim of his outspoken stance from last year's lockout. The problems
are that the Saints have made Brees competitive offers that would make
him one of the NFL's highest paid players, even if he hasn't signed
them yet, and that there are other franchise players whose negotiations
have gone far worse.
In essence, some of the franchise players or their representatives feel
the NFLPA has granted Brees a kind of "favored nation" status. "Nothing
against Drew, but he's kind of become (the union's) fair-haired boy,"
one franchise player noted. The agent for another of the franchise
players said the NFLPA is treating the New Orleans quarterback "like
some kind of a Messiah or something."
In fairness to Brees, it should be noted that he had nothing to do with
the union's letter, as the NFLPA continues to grasp at straws, but his
standing among some peers could be affected by it.
Of the 21 players designated as franchise free agents in the spring,
six of them, beyond Brees, remain unsigned. This week, Jacksonville
kicker Josh Scobee and agent Ken Harris said there haven't been any
negotiations with Jaguars officials in months. Scobee allowed that the
situation has been frustrating.
It's been more than a month since there were reports that Denver kicker
Matt Prater was close to a deal with the Broncos, but, again, no deal.
Tailbacks Ray Rice and Matt Forte, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and
defensive end Cliff Avril are all without deals. Eight other franchise
players have signed just one-year tenders.
So it would seem there's been a lack of progress on more than just the
Brees front, yet the NFLPA has requested that Goodell look only into
his case. Little wonder some of the other players with either no deals
at all or just one-year tenders, are privately wondering why that is.
Len Pasquarelli is a Senior NFL Writer for the Sports Xchange.
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