Despite the uncertainty the labor situation brings to the NFL and despite the fact that the franchise tag may or may not be relevant in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement, nearly half of the NFL’s franchises have chosen to apply the franchise tag to one of their potential free agents.
The Vikings are one of the teams that have used their franchise tag and they applied it to LB Chad Greenway, ensuring that the 5-year veteran will remain a part of the team for at least one more season and increasing the likelihood that he’ll eventually sign a long-term contract with the Purple. As positive a development as that was for the Vikings, it did leave in question whether or not WR Sidney Rice will return to the club in 2010.
Depending on the rules of the next CBA, Rice could be an unrestricted free agent. If that happens, he’s sure to draw interest from other teams. With all of that said, both Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier and VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman were asked about the club’s decision to tag Greenway instead of Rice.
“Sidney is an outstanding player and he’s done a great job for us,” Frazier said on Friday. “But we really like where Chad is right now in his career and what he’s been able to do in staying on the field and getting better every single year, and what he’s done off the field in our community, that was the way to go.
“That doesn’t mean that we don’t want Sidney as a Minnesota Viking, because we do.”
Spielman also talked about the value Greenway brings to the defense as a versatile and reliable defender.
“Chad is a valuable part of our organization,” Spielman said on Thursday. “When you look at that and look at what he brings to our defense, and you weigh in the fact that he is a three-down linebacker who is never off the field, he is very important to us. On first and second down, but what he brings to us on third down as well.”
So while Frazier and Spielman spoke highly of Greenway in the same manner, they were also on the same page in how they spoke highly of Rice and feel strongly that Rice is a player the team would like to keep for the long haul.
“He is a high, high priority,” Frazier said of Rice, “and I didn’t want him to be sensitive about the fact that it was Chad being franchised versus Sidney. That does not mean that we’re not going to do right by Sidney. It’s just we couldn’t franchise both of them. We want to get Sidney signed and take care of him because he’s been taking care of our football team.”
Spielman, who along with Vikings VP of Football Operations Rob Brzezinski spent time on Thursday afternoon meeting with agents of players on the Vikings roster, was clear in saying Rice is in the Vikings long-term plans.
“Our goal and objective is to continue to work with his agent,” Spielman said of Rice, “and get a long-term deal done with Chad.”
Tags: 2011 NFL Draft, Chad Greenway, Leslie Frazier, Rick Spielman, Sidney Rice
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