Heading into the weekend, there was a good feeling in the sports world that the NFL Lockout was so close to lifting and that we wouldn’t have anything to worry about. Expectations were so high that the World Wide Leader was reporting that teams could have been negotiating with and signing undrafted free agents and their own free agents as early as yesterday, while others even believed that the lockout could be completely over by the end of this week, thus sparking the greatest, most bombastic free agency period in professional sports history. Turns out that was all a big bunch of poop. You can thank Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Vincent Jackson and Logan Mankins for that.
For starters, Jackson and Mankins, who both sat out for most of last season due to failed contract negotiations, have their own specific demands:
Yahoo! Sports has learned through multiple sources that the agents for wide receiver Vincent Jackson(notes) and guard Logan Mankins(notes) have requested that their players either become unrestricted free agents when the lockout is over or that they receive $10 million each as part of the settlement. (Yahoo!)
Manning and Brees, though, want to make sure that they can never be given the franchise tag. Manning just received the Colts’ tag in February before the lockout began and Brees would most likely receive the Saints’ tag after this season when he becomes a free agent.
An NFL source with direct knowledge of negotiations said Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints are requesting to be exempt from the franchise tag for the rest of their careers.
The NFL feels this is a last-ditch power play being orchestrated by NFLPA lead counsel Jeff Kessler, who has long been a thorn in the NFL’s side, and powerful agent Tom Condon, who represents Manning and Brees. (Boston Globe)
So that brings us to the banner image above, which is a Tweet by Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe from earlier today. As pointed out by Pro Football Talk, this is likely the first of what will be many negative reactions from the blue collar NFL players who don’t necessarily sympathize with or appreciate Manning, Brees, Jackson or Mankins holding up their paychecks to make sure they receive preferential treatment. At least I’m hoping that the Colts offensive line doesn’t appreciate it.
As for Kluwe, I think his Twitter name is fantastic.