Holmgren on Tags, Trades, and Receivers

In Part Two of our transcript of Mike Holmgren's comments from the Owner's Meetings, Seattle's coach talks about the franchise tag, the new wave of trades, and the future of two receivers on his team.

You've seen the best and worst of the franchise tag and (Chicago Bears coach) Lovie (Smith) is going through the worst of it. Are you surprised it continues to be this acrimonious given that guys who played under the tag got their money?

My personal knowledge is with Walter Jones. We could never sign him to a long-term deal in the early part so we gave him the franchise tag. We did it three times. Over those three years he did make his money. I personally feel it comes down to the agent, whoever the agent is. That is one. And then two, it's not the money. It's not really the money. It's the relationship the player has. There is some other reason that it becomes bad. There is just something else. The player doesn't like the coach, he doesn't like the city, something. It's not the money.

Because you're right. If the guy does it right. But then you run into a thing where if, to me, I always thought - who was it that - Julian Peterson, who is on our team. He had a long-term deal with the 49ers in his pocket if he wanted it, but he didn't take it and he signed the franchise (tag). Then he popped his Achilles. Now, he has come back from that. But if he didn't, it's just a hugely bad business decision because he gave up (up-front money).

And as an agent, these guys talk them into it sometimes and sometimes that is why they are getting fired. That is what I think happens. And (linebacker Lance Briggs) with the Bears, he is really a good player. Man, I think he is really a great player. In his case, he very much wants to be the man. And Brian Urlacher is the man. He is the guy. And he wants to be that guy (Briggs does).

More on the franchise tag…

I think, my cynical self says it's the agent, honestly. That they all of a sudden implant this thing in a lot of these players that if they franchise you, they are disrespecting you. Then all of a sudden, and that term gets thrown around in this day and age. I'm not sure everyone knows exactly what that means. I think the agent can sell that. because the agent, he wants to get his. He wants that big bonus. Boom, he gets his money right now. that is my feeling. And that is why I don't do contracts any more, because I never liked dealing with agents.

Are trades making a comeback? Does that have to do with the increased cap room?

”The extra cap room really has given teams more freedom to do that. A lot of times, you can't take the hit on a trade. That at least gives you a chance to think about doing a trade, and then guys get creative and then they get it done. I think that is the biggest thing.”

Trades also let you work one-on-one with another team, unlike free agency where you are competing against 10 other teams…

"That is one thing. But trades are funny. You really, the situation has to be right. You've gotta have teams that are willing. I've got this player and you got that player. It has to be right. And really, the fact of the matter is, it doesn't line up. you don't ever want to just do it to do it. They used to just do it to kind of do it. Now you don't just do it to do it because of the cap ramifications. Yeah, it was hard to trade people. And then you get guys who are unwilling. They don't want to do it because, and I was involved with one of the worst trades in Packer history but I did it for the right reasons. My guy got hurt and Ron's guy didn't (Holmgren is most likely referring to the Ahman Green-Fred Vinson trade here). But the easiest thing to do is just sit on your hands and not do anything. Just sit there."

When you were on the brink of the Deion Branch deal – that was a big trade, a lot involved, did you double-clutch at all there?

”Nah. It felt right. he was the type of young man we want on the team as a person. and then his football ability, you see it. He is what he is. Now, the only decision there is. Once you can answer the question that you would take him in the first round, if you think you would have, then you do it.”

Speaking of potential trades, how do you feel about Darrell Jackson being here or not being here long-term?

”I've always liked Darrell. I think Darrell has been very, very productive for us. He has been hurt for us the last couple years, and he's played a while now, and so we'll have to see how that (goes). Right now he is under contract. He's with us and I don't think he’s said he wants to be traded. It's not one of those deals. So, I'm hopeful that we can keep him. But you never know. There are rumors to that effect.”

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