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Drew Brees Wins Franchise Tag Grievance

Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Pepsi

 The stalemate in negotiations between the New Orleans Saints and quarterback Drew Brees may pick up steam today as an arbitrator ruled in favor of Brees and his franchise tag greivance.

The result gives Brees and agent Tom Condon more leverage moving forward in contract discussions.

As a result of the ruling, if Drew plays on a franchise tag tender this season, he will be eligible for a 44 percent pay raise if he receives the franchise tag again next offseason. That would come out to $23,574,240, all of which would count against the salary cap. Add that to the $16.37 million that would be paid to Brees is he plays this season under a franchise tag, and his two year earnings would net him $39,945,240 (a little less than $20 million a year). If the ruling had not been ruled in Brees’ favor, it money would be about $4 million less.

The Saints have offered Brees a deal that pays him around $20 million a year for the first few years of a potential 5 year deal. Brees and Condon are reportedly seeking around $22 to $23 in the first few years of a deal (about $4 million more).

The NFLPA released the following statement today in response to the ruling:

“We are very pleased that that the arbitrator agreed with the NFLPA that the correct interpretation of the “third time” Franchise Player designation in the CBA applies across clubs, and a player’s rights will not be unfairly hindered if different clubs designate him as a Franchise Player during his career.

The arbitrator properly rejected the NFL’s strained interpretation of the CBA language, which ignored the fact that a Franchise Player designation is a narrow exception to the overall free agency structure. This ruling will help all Franchise Players in the future.

We are very happy that Drew Brees has clarification on this matter, and we hope that it facilitates a successful negotiation for Drew and the Saints.”

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