Two of the NFL's top quarterbacks — Drew Brees of the Saints and Peyton Manning of the Colts — have asked to be exempt from the franchise tag as part of the settlement of the "Tom Brady vs. NFL" antitrust lawsuit case, Greg A. Bedard of the Boston Globe is reporting.
With a new Collective Bargaining Agreement almost agreed upon by the players and owners, lawyers for both sides are trying to close all of the outstanding court cases involving the lockout. That includes the "Brady" case, and several of the plaintiffs are expected to ask for compensation in exchange for dropping the case. It was reported earlier Tuesday by Yahoo! Sports that two other plaintiffs, Patriots OG Logan Mankins and Chargers WR Vincent Jackson, also had asked for deals.
Brees and Manning, two of the nine active players involved in the lawsuit, both have a vested interest in not being franchised. Brees' contract is up following the 2011 season and Manning was franchised before the lockout began. If the NFL agrees to these terms, it would allow Brees to work out a long-term deal with the Saints or potentially hit the open market next spring. Manning would be an unrestricted free agent as soon as the league opens its doors.
Last week, both Manning and Brees, along with Brady, issued a statement stating they wanted the lockout to be done in a fair manner for everybody involved.
"We believe the overall proposal made by the players is fair for both sides and it is time to get this deal done," the statement read. "This is the time of year we as players turn our attention to the game on the field. We hope the owners feel the same way."
The way we see it
This has the potential to be a huge wrench in the plans of the owners, players and NFL fans. If the league is unwilling to meet the demands of these plaintiffs, the players could opt to not drop their lawsuit. A new CBA won't be signed when nine active players are still suing the league, prolonging the lockout even longer. With training camps set to open as soon as this weekend, the two sides need to reach some sort of agreement soon to avoid any further delays.