Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

19 Jul 2011

Sources: Jackson, Mankins Push For Compensation

One of the last hurdles in the way of a new CBA appears to be settling with the plaintiffs of Brady vs. the NFL. While most of the players involved don't have much of a reason to ask for special treatment, a pair of players embittered by the franchise tag are speaking up. Logan Mankins and Vincent Jackson are demanding to either become unrestricted free agents or be compensated a cool $10 million for their troubles landing a long-term deal with the Patriots and Chargers, respectively.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 19 Jul 2011

55 comments, Last at 25 Jul 2011, 10:27am by Bnonymous


by dryheat :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 9:01am

I saw this report...but I'm not sure why their agents want to do this...other than maybe it can't hurt to ask for an extra 10 million. This, as well as the 320 million payment the players are asking for now for unpaid benefits in 2010, seems inane. Under the terms of the uncapped year, agreed to by the NFLPA, the owners did not have to pay those benefits, and free agency required 6 years to achieve.

What am I missing? I've been anti-both sides for the most part, but this looks like the players demanding a hand-out because of a perception that the owners are under significant pressure to get a deal done.

I'll be pissed if this scuttles the deal.

by JasonK :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 10:14am

Because there officially is no union at present, there cannot be any actual collective bargaining. So the negotiations going on are actually the negotiations to settle the class-action lawsuit. (Presumably, the eventual agreement settling the lawsuit will include the text of a CBA that the owners will be ordered to present as their "offer" at the next collective bargaining session with a certified union representing NFL players.) But a class-action lawsuit settlement requires consent from the named plaintiffs who brought the suit, so they could conceivably withhold their approval for special treatment.

If I recall correctly, the named plainiffs in the Reggie White free agency lawsuit back in the early 90s got a lifetime exemption from Franchise/Transition tags.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 8:40pm

If the rest of the players withdraw from the lawsuit is it still a class action? If the NFLPA then becomes a union again and makes the agreement, wouldn't that completely deflate the case?

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 9:51am

These two players were the only ones to take a stand when their teams and the NFL were royally screwing them. They had both earned new contracts and the money they were offered last year was a joke. The NFL should just nod this through, it only hurts two teams who have had six years to resign these two. I don't agree with the notion that all teh named plaintiffs should be made free agents though, most of those players have never been hurt by this clusterf**k of a labor negotiation at all.

As for the $320 million, the old CBA didn't include it so the players have no right to it. It isn't much more complex than that. The NFLPA* is probably asking for the money in return for dropping the lockout insurance case.

by FooBarFooFoo (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 10:30am

What exactly is "royally screwing" when being offered a multi-year contract (Mankins) which would have made him one of the three highest paid guards in the league? Sorry, but the Patriots can still operate under certain economical conditions and decide they don't want to pay him more.
I think Mankins was ready to accept the deal, but apparently wanted additional money for the fifth year of his rookie deal. Maybe that was promised, maybe not. I guess that was the dealbreaker.

I understand that the regulations of the last CBA hit Mankins harder than any other player (five year rookie deal, six year restricted FA in 2010), but that is the regulations the players agreed to in the last CBA. It's ridiculous to go for additional money just because you don't like the rules. And if other teams are stupid enough to change existing contracts (CJ2K) ... the Patriots don't have to. A deal is a deal.

As per VJax: The guy acts like a turd, and I understand that the Chargers' GM doesn't want to give him a multi year deal. He is one arrest away from a longer suspension, and the signing bonus is gone.

by Neoplatonist Bolthead (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 4:16pm

VJax got screwed last year. Throwing a hissyfit certainly didn't do him any favors. But the Chargers did have him by the shorthairs, and I don't believe him for being unhappy about it.

by Neoplatonist Bolthead (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 4:16pm

*blame, not believe.

by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 10:39am

The Patriots offered Mankins a $50M deal. How is that a joke?

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 1:03pm

He felt (and I agree) that that offer was at least $1 million short of what he was worth.

by dryheat :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 10:47am

You'll have to explain to me how conducting business by collectively bargained rules amounts to a "royal screwing".

These were the players who took a stand? They volunteered to put their names on the lawsuit, but haven't shown up for a single hearing or, in the case of Mankins, a single negotiating session.

I expect the players' association to talk them out of this frivolity, and quickly.

by Aaron Brooks' Good Twin (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 12:25pm

Ask the owners. They've thought the last CBA amounted to a screwing.

by tuluse :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 4:28pm

You'll have to explain to me how conducting business by collectively bargained rules amounts to a "royal screwing".

Well that's easy enough, one side didn't do a good job bargaining.

Edit: I don't mean specifically in this case, but surely you can see a theoretical where a union or owner just does an awful job at the bargaining table and gets royally screwed?

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 12:58pm

Probably easier to reply to myself rather than make 5 posts.

I think that they got screwed because I think that the teams shouldn't have reduced the salaries for Jackson and Mankins to the bare minimum after they held out. I thought that was small minded of the Pats and the Chargers and if I was either player I'd never play for them again.

As for what they suffered relatively to the other plaintiffs, I don't care how much time they spent in the damn room, the plaintiffs are mainly figureheads. They are the only two players to sacrifice half a year of their career and money in this labor struggle, they deserve to avoid the tag.

This has been presented by the NFL as two selfish players interfering with 1900 others' payday but it can just as easily be shown as two selfish teams stopping 30 others from getting a CBA.

by dryheat :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 1:15pm

You can argue whether or not it was good business for NE or SD to reduce the salaries, but that reduction came only after the players refused to sign their tender...and again, the Pats and Chargers used mechanisms available to them by a CBA. Frankly, if a player isn't going to show up, why not reduce his salary?

Mankins and Jackson CHOSE to sacrifice a half year of their careers. Any suffering/sacrificing was self-inflicted. That's on them. They decided it wasn't worth the injury risk, wounded pride, or whatever to play for what was a significant one-year salary. Which is fine -- I don't begrudge them for being risk-averse with no long-term security. But it was their choice. Mankins wasn't going to play any additional games at the one-year tender then he did on the reduced tender, so why shouldn't the Patriots use the cash and cap room elsewhere? The only good reason not to would be to not further upset a player who's already pissed off and refusing to sign the tender. Which isn't a bad reason if you're interested in re-signing the player, but I don't find it a particularly compelling one from a business perspective either.

by Neoplatonist Bolthead (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 4:21pm

They had fair warning. They could have worked out a deal in the offseason. Marcus McNeill was just being dumb, and he didn't pay any price, really. Vincent Jackson knew his choice was between playing 13 games at $3.2M or 5 games at $200k. He chose to forgo the $3M because, uh, because, well, umm... I have no clue. It was really dumb.

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 5:35pm

They chose to skip the first part of the season because they didn't feel that $3 million dollars was worth the risk of injury with very little long term security. If they are hoping for a 7 year $56 million dollar deal with a $20 million signing bonus then I can see how playing 6 games is preferable to 16 if it only means losing $3 million.

by Whatev :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 7:35pm

But then isn't what you're saying that they took a calculated risk and lost?

by tuluse :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 7:53pm

Only if they don't get what they want through the lawsuit.

by Neoplatonist Bolthead (not verified) :: Wed, 07/20/2011 - 1:32am

You'll never know if they lost. They didn't get hurt, did they?

by Podge (not verified) :: Wed, 07/20/2011 - 4:18am

He's getting $11m this year in the franchise tag. I'm assuming the figure of $3.2m (200k per game) last year is accurate.

$11m + 1m for playing 23 games (5 last year, 16 this) = ~$520k per game
$11m + $3.2m for playing 32 games = ~440k per game

So by holding out last season, he's gonna earn more money per game with a reduced risk of injury last year.

And remember that $11m under the Franchise tag was basically the minimum guaranteed money he would get, assuming he avoided injury. If the Chargers decided not to tag him, he would have commanded at least $15m-20m guaranteed on the open market. Easily.

Say he got a bad injury last year, I don't know what his guaranteed money would be this year, but say it was such that he was basically going to have to get a 1-year "prove it" kind of deal, even if it was a great deal for that, it would be maybe $8m for the year. I think losing the $2.2m over the first 10 games of the year was worth it to avoid the risk of losing at least $11m guaranteed next year.

I don't think it was so much calculated risk as it was basically just working out the odds.

by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 07/20/2011 - 5:49am

Plus the Chargers will never know if having a full season of Jackson would have put them in the playoffs.

by JasonK :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 10:13am

A thought: If the named plaintiffs in the Brady v. NFL suit get exemptions from Franchise/Transition tags, how much more does Peyton Manning get paid when free agency begins?

by dryheat :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 10:45am

That's Reason #1 that the owners will never agree to the exemptions.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 1:39pm

They'll likely agree to it because it's small potatoes and a tiny point in a much larger deal. They're talking billions whereas this handful of guys maybe get a few million more each. If the owners can negotiate it down or get the larger deal done without caving, they will. But if it becomes a pain, they'll just settle to keep things on track.

by dryheat :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 1:44pm

You think Irsay is going to allow Manning to be exempt from the franchise tag? Or the NFL in general? They'll shut down for the year first.

by Podge (not verified) :: Wed, 07/20/2011 - 4:22am

I would guess "basically exactly the same as he will get when he signs the contract that will have been all but agreed before the lockout started."

I'm sure that the Colts have a deal with Manning, subject to revisiting it once they know what the rules are under the new CBA. There's no way a) its not the richest deal ever signed and b) that Manning doesn't have a deal by the time free agency starts.

by Dean :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 11:48am

Now that we're this close, and all this work has been done by the players and the owners to try to get a deal done before any games are lost, it would be a genuine shame if a couple greedy players stood in the way of football in an attempt at a naked cash grab. If this were Jerry Jones or Mike Brown attempting a comparable maneuver, there would be (justifyable) howls of derision from all quarters.

In general, I have no issue with individuals and businesses acting in their own self interest. However, the players have never intended to do anything but collectively bargain a new agreement. When individual players act as if they're somehow bigger than the collective like this, all it does is shit all over the entire process for players, owners and fans alike.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 1:29pm

The entire thing has been a naked cash grab by all parties involved--the owners, players, you name it--not sure how anybody stands out as more greedy than the rest. The problem with the entire process is that in many ways, individual star players ARE bigger than the collective. The plaintiffs in the suit bear almost no resemblance to the garden variety NFL player who'll play a couple years on special teams before having to move on to a regular job.

by dryheat :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 1:28pm

Of course, it didn't take long for Manning and Brees to announce that they too would prefer their own set of rules.

by Dave0 :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 2:37pm

It is extremely clever how Mankins and Jackson approached this. I expect them to make this move and don't fault them for it whereas with Manning and Brees it looks like rampant opportunism.

by Neoplatonist Bolthead (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 4:24pm

You mean that Mankins and Jackson have already damaged their reputations, so they don't look so bad when they fight dirty? Sure. But don't credit them with it like it's some kind of virtue.

by herm :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 4:43pm

I suppose their reputations are dirty if a player's reputation is judged by how much he defers to management.

by morganja :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 3:08pm

If I was Mankins I wouldn't drop the lawsuit at all. I would demand a public apology from Kraft for being an unscrupulous douche-bag, and then go ahead and keep the lawsuit anyhow. These players got royally screwed. They want to be free agents, paid off to their market value, or guaranteed that they won't be franchised again. Absolutely reasonable to people of American disposition.

If the owners don't want to do the piddling minimal to resolve this issue, let them take their chances in court.

by dryheat :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 3:21pm

Your stance on all things Patriot is well known, but this is ridiculous. I'm sure every player would like to be a free agent. That doesn't mean the owners should make it so. I am, in fact, an American....and I don't find it reasonable that someone doesn't like the rules that his Union agreed to, therefore sue to make up new rules to benefit you. That, to me as an American, seems completely unreasonable. There is absolutely no legal grounds for Mankins to claim any particular unfair treatment other than the overarching legality of the lockout.

The Union wanted an uncapped year. The price they agreed to pay was that owners didn't have to fund certain benefits for the year and that six years, and not four, would be required to reach unrestricted free agency. If Mankins and Jackson want to sue somebody, they should be suing the Union...if it existed.

It's not even a pro-management stance...it's one of common sense, which admittedly hasn't been common in these precedings.

by morganja :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 3:46pm

You are confused by the facts. If Mankins doesn't have a legal position than you might call the NFL, the players and the court system because they take a very different stance. Clearly Mankins can decide to continue his lawsuit. I might remind you that there is no union.

In America we think that people should be able to look after their own interests. You think that Mankins should sacrifice his interests to the benefit of the union and the owners cartel. Marx would be proud of you.

by dryheat :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 4:02pm

Yes, Mankins (and Jackson) can continue their lawsuits. I expect that they will remove themselves from the class and do just that. Brady et al alleges that the lockout is illegal. Unfortunately, the "what's in it for me?" attitude is very American. Mankins is looking for a handout. His beef has nothing to do with the lockout being illegal...he wants to be either a free agent or a 10 million cash payment that he is no more entitled to than any other player in the NFL. If I were at the owners table, I wouldn't give him one dime, and let he and Jackson be known as the guys who cost the entire league a year's salary and a year off their careers while chasing their own, unrelated interest. It would be no different than Von Miller refusing to settle the lawsuit unless the league passes a rule mandating that offenses only be allowed to block him with a running back. He's not entitled to that, and neither Mankins or Jackson is entitled to free agency or a cash payout in lieu of. I can't wait until the next lawsuit, when every NFL and NCAA player is a named plaintiff so they can all cut their own deals before signing off on a settlement.

I'm not claiming that Mankins can't sue the league. Of course he can. I can too. He just doesn't have a leg to stand on. If you can give me a legal argument, go right ahead.

Of course we both know that if this were say...Steve Hutchinson and not Logan Mankins, your original post would be much, much different.

by morganja :: Wed, 07/20/2011 - 9:03pm

No it wouldn't. I happen to believe in free market economics and basic human liberty. You believe the opposite. If you had even the tiniest inkling of basic economics you would know that Mankins has a very real beef. I would recommend you take a break from throwing petty insults my direction because I don't worship the Patriots to your satisfaction, read some economics books and try to understand the issues. By your silly use of the word 'entitlement' it's clear that you get all of your 'information' from talk radio. Open a book. Study. Don't be such a tool.

by dryheat :: Wed, 07/20/2011 - 9:54pm

Wow. Every single statement you made about me is 100% false. For example, I'm an economist in practice, not just a degree gathering dust on a book shelf. I don't listen to any radio, let alone talk. I have a library's worth of economics books. And Mankins has no beef whatsoever railing against an agreement that his Union collectively bargained in a CBA that was heavily weighed towards the players and essentially holding the rest of labor hostage. I've been on this site a long time, have read your posts for years, and I was suggesting only that your intense hatred of the Patriots organization could be clouding your judgment on the issue...if you go back to your first post, I think you'd understand why I'd think that. If you say I'm wrong in that, I believe you. Let's just disagree and drop the whole thread. Mods may delete with my blessing.

by morganja :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 8:02pm

The you must be an extremely poor economist. Do you really not comprehend what Mankins is upset about? Really? Because it baffles the imagination that someone can claim to have knowledge of basic economics and draw a blank when trying to figure out what Mankins and other players might be upset about. Perhaps its just hormones? A bad period maybe? Anything?

by Bnonymous (not verified) :: Mon, 07/25/2011 - 10:27am

You really do fit into that troll template from a while back... Personal attacks. Manipulating others statements into warped misrepresentations of their entire worldview...

At least try something new.

by Neoplatonist Bolthead (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 4:27pm

Can we leave questions of "who's more American?" out of this? "American" isn't a theme, it's an identity, shared by all parties in the discussion, and irrelevant in any case.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 07/20/2011 - 7:23pm

Fuck yeah.

by FooBarFooFoo (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 4:17pm

Can anybody explain what Mankins has to gain? I bet not much.

The problem with Mankins is that he wants to be paid real dollars for the past two seasons ... the fifth year of his rookie deal and the reduced RFA tender last year. The only thing is that absolutely no team will pay him additional dollars for the past two years. He will get a high deal for the future years, but not even much more than the Pats offered him.

If the franchise tag cannot be used on Mankins, he won't make more over the course of the deal than the franchise tag this year. I know he is one of the best, but he is still a guard (less $ than tackles). He won't make more than 10 Mio on average.

I don't understand what the players hate about the franchise tag. An being franchised for two years means more $ than any two or multi year contract would ever pay.

The only thing Mankins can do is to stick it to the Pats for apparent broken promises. Dunno whether he would even hurt his market value if he does a power play.

I think he needs to accept that he won't get any more money for the past two years.

by Neoplatonist Bolthead (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 4:37pm

$10M. The Pats and Chargers don't want to sign these guys to big deals before the season. In fact, the Chargers probably can't offer him any more up-front money if they want to keep their defense intact. (I don't know about the Pats.) So they'd like to get that $10M from the League, which they would ... IF they have Brady and Manning.

It's kind of a prisoner's game for Brady and Manning. $10M would be nice, but is it worth sullying their reputations over? I mean, it's only a prospect, no matter what. Without Brady and Manning aboard, Mankins and VJ are arguing against a franchise tag, which is probably a very bad move.

Being a Chargers follower, I'll just focus on Jackson. Ol' Number 83 is probably looking for a contract that's going to average right around the franchise number, so a tag is like a one-year extension, only he'll have to wait a year for the big bonus (with no guarantee he'll get it, should he be hurt). But the Chargers probably can't give him a huge deal this year; it's probable that the franchise tag is about as much as they can afford given their huge menu of UFA players to sign or replace. So what if Jackson decides to follow the money somewhere else? It's probably some place without Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates, and WRs coming from good offenses to bad offenses have a bad track record. He might not get to play out his contract. Suddenly, one more year in sunny San Diego is just like one more year on his new contract, the best deal he'll ever have.

by FooBarFooFoo (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 5:21pm

You are comparing apples to bananas.

What you are looking for in a new deal for VJax is the phony maximum total value of the contract divided by number of seasons. These contracts are always phony, with only a small part guaranteed, usually not everything guaranteed as a signing bonus but option bonus to be paid later. And usually one or two seasons at the end with extremely high base salaries to bump up the total value. No player will ever see these final years.
You need to look at the guaranteed money ... The franchise tag is fully guaranteed for skill and injury once it is signed. 2nd year franchised means 20 percent more money.

I doubt any multi yerat contracts guarantee more money than to franchise tags. Makes no sense for the teams.
Just look at what problems the Cardinals had with Fitz once the escalators bumped the final years of his contract north of 10 Mio. They couldn't sign anybody else.

by morganja :: Wed, 07/20/2011 - 8:54pm

If players uniformly despise the franchise tag, and owners universally love it, well, you do the math.

by Misty (not verified) :: Thu, 07/21/2011 - 9:01pm

There are about as many players that like being franchised as there are owners who rarely to never use the tag as they think it's not extremely useful other than in some edge cases.

To cut a long story short: your comment is polemic hot air without anything to it.

by morganja :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 7:56pm

Absolutely correct! Players LOOOOOOVE the franchise tag!!!! Ummm. Can you name a single player who preferred to be franchised? A single one? If you are going to pretend that your opinion is reality, leave the silly insults out of it.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 3:13pm


by ChicagoRaider :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 3:30pm

It is all in the representations made in the negotiations. If lead counsel for the plaintiffs had a carve-out for the named plaintiffs in the hopper, then fine. If not, it is backing out on a deal.

So to me, the question isn't special treatment, it is whether this is a last-minute stick-up job. If it is not, send it to arbitration. Stupid individual provisions should not be holding the league up for now.

Or decertify the class, and let these two individuals keep going on alone.

by Whatev :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 7:46pm

This may just be my bias, but to me the whole thing smacks of "what other people are telling you to do." In particular I think there's a tendency for agents and lawyers and the like to see a lawsuit or deal as its own pocket universe, compartmentalized from the rest of the world, and conclude that the best possible outcome for their clients is the maximum settlement or contract on that one case that they can obtain, no matter how many bridges they have to burn to get there. At least it's not divorce court, I guess.

by tuluse :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 7:55pm

The lawyers get paid a lot more if their clients win money, right?

by Scott C :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 9:52pm

Or if the case drags on and on and they can bill more hours.

by ChicagoRaider :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 12:12pm

Depends. On the hourly model, as long as the meter is running, the lawyers are making money which may bias in favor of arguing more. If it is a fixed-fee arrangement, the lawyers have an incentive to get to done as soon as possible. If it is contingency, then the question is whether an incremental amount of work will result in an incremental return, and whether that incremental return is worth the work.

And while some of those lawyers make more than the league minimum in a year of work, none of them is anywhere near what Nnamdi Asomugha is going to get this offseason. Or Kirk Morrison.

by Whatev :: Sat, 07/23/2011 - 4:31am

The thing is that there are lawyers that are total douchebags by nature, probably even by proportion over the rest of the population, but I've known quite a few lawyers and law students and they were pretty much all decent people. Also, if you keep screwing your clients you won't have a good reputation, so even if they are being entirely selfish it's a tradeoff between the prospect of money now and business later. What I'm trying to say is that I think most lawyers actually do act based on what they perceive their clients' best interests to be, but by training they perceive every dispute in a very adversarial, zero-sum way and thus tend to be unnecessarily combative.