NFL Free Agency: Vincent Jackson & 10 Stars Who Could Hold Out In 2011
The labor negotiations between the NFL and the NFL Players' Association took another turn towards the worse recently, with scheduled meetings canceled for today and tomorrow.
However, it hasn't stopped owners from at least starting the proceedings surrounding each team's free agents and the franchise tags, even though there may not be a franchise tag after the new labor deal gets done. As it is, it will be very interesting to see how the franchise tag gets used, with teams not willing to give out long-term deals until the situation gets figured out.
This year, there's expected to be many players franchised and with franchise tags sometimes come holdouts. Vincent Jackson went through a holdout last year and pretty much wasted the season. So it's a tricky situation for a player who wants more money.
With that in mind, here are 10 players who will hold out if franchised.
10. Tamba Hali, OLB, Kansas City
Hali had a phenomenal year for the Chiefs, who surprised the entire league by winning the AFC West. The Chiefs understand that they need to sign Hali up for the long-term, according to reports, yet the consensus is that he will be franchised.
The Kansas City Star had an interesting take on the subject, including how the Chiefs re-upped Jamaal Charles and Derrick Johnson last offseason, but not Hali. One would think Hali knows how valuable he can be in the open market and what he can garner as a free agent.
So, even if the Chiefs do franchise him, it won't solve the problem of locking Hali up long-term...which is what he wants at his price.
9. Aubrayo Franklin, NT, San Francisco
Franklin was franchised last year, which brought his salary up tremendously. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, if he was franchised this year, his salary would balloon to more than $12 million.
If the 49ers decided to franchise him, which the Chronicle deemed unlikely, then Franklin might want more security with a long-term deal. And while he probably wouldn't turn down $12 million-plus, he might want the long-term deal and the security of being in San Francisco instead.
8. Ray Edwards, DE, Minnesota
Edwards has been a valuable member of the Vikings defensive line during the last few seasons, but he's also made it clear that he wants to be paid.
The reports out of Minnesota are that Chad Greenway will get the franchise tag. Since Sidney Rice could get the transition tag, it could leave Edwards as the odd man out. If something does change and Edwards does get franchised, then it could lead to a problem where Edwards could want a long-term deal, especially for his production beside Jared Allen.
Whether his production was because of Allen and the Williamses in the middle is still yet to be seen, but it will be seen if Edwards decides to hold out.
7. Marcedes Lewis, TE, Jacksonville
Lewis and the Jaguars are in an interesting place, because Lewis wants to be in Jacksonville and the Jaguars want to keep Lewis around. Lewis has been rumored to be one of the high-profile players who could be franchised and he had an interesting take on it.
"That's like a Catch-22 because you can look at it two ways," Lewis told the Florida Times-Union. "OK, they franchised me so they want to keep me here to play. But then if that was the case, then why not just sign me to a long-term deal? You don't know what to think."
Lewis doesn't strike me as the type who would holdout, especially since he would get a pretty nice raise if he was franchised. But that statement could mean that Lewis would look elsewhere if franchised.
6. LaMarr Woodley, OLB, Pittsburgh
It's all but a certainty that Woodley will get franchised by the Steelers, who want to lock him up at least for next season. And Woodley is an interesting case, because fan reaction on the Internet has ranged from he's worth it to he's extremely overrated.
Woodley's become a useful outside linebacker next to James Harrison and the Steelers would like to have him. But Woodley also has to think that he can get more than the franchise tag on the open market as a pass-rushing outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Plus, holdouts and the Steelers mesh about as well as Florida and snow. You don't hear about either of them that often.
Woodley's going to be on the Steelers, but he can refuse the franchise tag and force the Steelers to pay him.
5. Haloti Ngata, NT, Baltimore
Ngata is an interesting case because he has held out before (albeit for one day), so that could be a factor at play here. Of course, like many of these cases, both sides want a long-term deal and Ngata would be well-advised to take the franchise tag and continue negotiations with the Ravens.
But, it could come down to a question of worth and while the Ravens wouldn't low-bridge Ngata with an offer, their idea of what he's worth and Ngata's idea of what he's worth could differ from one another. The Baltimore Sun already reported in August that Ngata's new contract could measure up with the one Detroit gave Ndamukong Suh, meaning a large pay-raise for Ngata.
And considering the season Ngata just had, he wants to receive full value for his play.
4. Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, New York Giants
Bradshaw is on the market and the Giants have made it clear that they want him back. There's been no concrete talks about franchising Bradshaw, but what would happen if they did?
It would mean Bradshaw would have a big pay raise, but Bradshaw might not get the years or guaranteed money he would get otherwise. If he also feels he's earned a long-term contract as the starter (albeit with fumbling problems), how does he interpret a franchise tag at the beginning of his tenure?
Either way, if Bradshaw's franchised, it could be problematic for the Giants.
3. Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia
It's pretty much a given at this point the Eagles will franchise Vick; we've known that for weeks. But what will the Vick camp do in response?
They want a long-term deal and they want it now, but the Eagles do not want to make a long-term deal this offseason, primarily because of the labor situation and secondly because of Vick's standing within the league. One would think both sides see that the franchise tag would be the right call in this situation.
But I can also see a scenario where Vick's camp will dig in and want the financial and long-term security of a contract, especially with the season he just had. I have a feeling this decision won't be as cut-and-dry as it sounds.
2. Vincent Jackson, WR, San Diego
Jackson held out for most of the season and it came back to bite him in what was an extremely contentious debacle. San Diego knows the talent Jackson has and what he brings to the table, but he also has character issues and wants a long-term deal.
It's expected that Jackson will be franchised again, which could lead to Jackson demanding a trade. But, the Chargers will also want fair value for him. It's been a mess between the two sides and it's only going to get messier, as neither side seems to want much to do with the other.
1. Logan Mankins, G, New England
Mankins had an extremely heated holdout that ended midseason (and he still made it to the Pro Bowl), and according to the Boston Herald, he could be tagged as soon as today.
If that happens, what happened last year sounds like it will be a walk in the park compared to this year. Mankins told the Boston Herald that he wouldn't be happy with getting the franchise tag. The story also laid out Mankins' feelings of betrayal by the Patriots' ownership.
Nothing's official yet, but it's starting to sound like Mankins is checking himself out of New England. Whether the Patriots let him walk or ship him out is a different story.