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Report: Arbitrator rules in favor of Brees

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By PFW staff

Arbitrator Stephen Burbank has ruled in favor of Saints QB Drew Brees in his franchise-tag grievance, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Tuesday.

With the ruling, Brees, if he were to receive the franchise tag in 2013, would receive the greater of the following: 1) a 44 percent raise over his 2012 salary, 2) the average of the five highest salaries at the highest-paid position in '12 or 3) a 20 percent raise from the average of the five highest quarterback salaries from '12.

The grievance centered on whether the franchise-tag designation Brees received from the Chargers in 2005 counted toward determining his potential 2013 salary if he received the tag once again.

The Saints gave Brees the franchise tag earlier in the offseason. The two sides have until July 16 to reach a contract extension. Otherwise, Brees, were he to play, would have to play under the one-year franchise tender. This year's tender is worth $16.371 million.

The NFLPA released the following statement on what they called a "victory" in the grievance:

"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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