According to Jason LaCanfora of NFL Network, the Kansas City Chiefs will use the franchise tag to retain the services of outside linebacker Tamba Hali should the two parties not be able to come to an agreement before the February 24th tag deadline.
Teams can start using the franchise tag starting today. My guess is that we won’t see Hali tagged right away because the Chiefs still have until the 24th to work out a long term deal and they will likely use that time to avoid angering Tamba.
According to LaCanfora, Hali is seeking the same deal that the Dallas Cowboys gave DeMarcus Ware. LaCanfora goes on to say that the Chiefs and Hali had exploratory contract talks at the Senior Bowl.
What is the most interesting about all of this is that the franchise tag may not mean anything once a new labor deal is reached. There has already been some dispute over whether not the tag should be allowed to be used. Basically, the franchise tag is part of the current labor agreement which ends March 4th. Under that agreement, a team can tag a player and retain them for the next season as long as they pay the player an average of the top 5 salaries at the players position or 120% of the players current salary, whichever is greater.
The point of contention from the players union about the team’s using the tag is that the labor deal will expire on March 4th and thus would no longer be valid for the following year. The NFL is saying that since the tag is part of the current labor deal, that if a team uses it now, it is still valid for one more year. I don’t know much about legal stuff but my guess is that the NFL side of things would hold up.
None of that may matter, however, because if a new deal is reached, it may do away with the franchise tag. Whether or not it will wipe away any tags applied to players before the end of this league year remains to be seen.
Suffice it to say, it would be best if the Chiefs just worked out a long term deal with Hali the February 24th tag deadline. They will not only lock up their best pass rusher but they will avoid souring their relationship with Hali.
Should be an interesting couple of weeks. If you’re reading this Mr. Pioli, pay the man.