By now, most of us are familar with the Vince Wilfork situation, which is the centerpiece of this post. Big Vince is hell bent against being designated the Patriot's franchise player, which poses a near insurmountable roadblock to free agency and a huge paycheck. I read some of his comments this week, and at first I thought he was just being another greedy athlete. But thinking about it, I actually agree with his sentiments.
If you're an NFL player, the franchise tag has got to be the single worst nightmare of all the hundreds of nuances set forth by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Granted, it pays the player handsomely (for one year). But look at the risk it proposes for the him. A great player (I'm assuming great if the team wants to franchise him) is all but forced to accept a one year deal. Sitting the year out is more detrimental than beneficial. A severe injury during that year totally screws his future earning potential, but the franchise suffers very little.
So I would change two things. First, instead of the average of the top five salaries at a given position, the tagged player would be paid 20% more than the HIGHEST paid player at that position. Second, the player would only be able to be tagged for one year. If a long term contract can't be reached after which, the player immediately becomes an UFA and cannot ever be tagged again by that team. It used to drive me nuts how the Seahawks and Rams would year after year tag Walter Jones and Orlando Pace.
So on this one, I'm actually pulling for Big Vince. Yes, he'll make more money in one year than I'll ever see in my life...but I have to keep it in perspective. The franchise tag really is a terrible thing.