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Were The Eagles Forced To Tag Vick & Akers?

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Eagles president Joe Banner says that an odd rule in the expiring CBA prevented the team from negotiating any kind of long term deal with either Michael Vick or David Akers. The Eagles elected to tag both players to retain their rights.

"There's another set of rules that haven't gotten as much coverage, where you're literally prohibited from even negotiating with a player," Eagles president Joe Banner explained Tuesday. "Both of these players are affected by that rule. Basically - it's a lot more complicated than this - but if your salary increased by more than 30 percent between '09 and 2010, then you are not allowed to do a renegotiation or extension of the contract. So we have been prohibited once they hit that threshold."

According to Banner, the Eagles actually could have actually done an extension with the two prior to the point they actually earned 30% more than their previous salary. According to Reuben Frank, David Akers hit that point around the ninth game of last season, but since Michael Vick's salary more than doubled last season he hit the mark very early.

Banner also admitted that he doesn't even know whether applying the franchise tag to a player this year will even do anything.

"Our position is, we don’t know either," Banner said. "We obviously think they do. But if we don’t act as if they do, and they turned out to exist, we’d look awfully stupid. So we’re really protecting our rights by doing what we did. We believe they will exist, but we don’t know that. We’re living under last year’s rules."

The current rules of the CBA expire on March 4th and tags are part of those rules. So they could potentially be meaningless. Banner said that the Eagles "can’t do anything with any player until there is a new league year" and a new league year won't happen until a new CBA is done. It may very well be that after a deal is done that Michael Vick and David Akers are unrestricted free agents.