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ESPN's Pasquarelli: Walter Jones Bashes the Franchise Tag System

Maybe this is why Bryant Gumbel tore Gene Upshaw a backhanded new one awhile back. ESPN's Len Pasquarelli has an interesting piece about franchising tagging from the viewpoint of the players. It can be stated that they're none too happy with it.

Walter Jones, who managed to remain a Seahawk with a bizarre series of year-by-year contracts until we had the good sense to wrap him up on a multi-year deal, gives the most pointed quote in the piece:

"The system [stinks]," said Seattle Seahawks seven-time Pro Bowl left offensive tackle Walter Jones, designated three straight years, 2002-2004, as a franchise player. "Maybe when it was invented, it was good, I don't know. Teams tell you how much you should be flattered that they think enough of you to make you their franchise guy. It's like their attitude is that they're doing you a favor. You know, like, 'How could you not be thrilled to get a guarantee that averages what the top five players at your position are making?' But it's not a thriller. No way. It's a killer watching all the deals get signed with huge bonuses and you're not getting the big money upfront. [It's a] lousy system."

All personal (and admittedly cliched) feelings about people making salaries much larger than my own aside, I agree with Walter. Whatever it means for the hometown team, the designation system is creating a skewed reality between year-in-year-out talents, and the flashes in the pan who can get outsized deals they may not deserve. It's a schemata that needs some tinkering. What are your thoughts?

I gotta go franchise my (would-be) in-laws for dinner.