O.K. every post from me isn't going to be legal or Saints related (one more on CTE) and yes, babes of the post will return. Unless Ball Hawk first wants to trot out the Ray Edwards pic again, or one with Edwards' GF. Some people are allergic to clothes but most certainly not to ink.
However this case has implications that will affect every NFL team and that of course, includes the Atlanta Falcons.
Former NFL Special Master and UPenn Law Prof Stephen Burbank heard Brees' case and ruled for Brees. To refresh in your memory that which you certainly tried to forget, a separate but equal part of the 2011 labor negotiations was a lawsuit filed by ten players challenging the right of teams to apply the franchise tag. The most prominent of the ten were Brees, previously tagged as a member of the San Diego Chargers, Patriots QB Tom Brady (never tagged) and then Colts QB, Peyton Manning (tagged once but contract signed. Manning subsequently released)
Simply put the union viewed franchise tags as price fixing and the league views it as the ability to keep important players. I was shocked when the players dropped the suit as part of the overall settlement. One of the players Vikings DE Brian Robinson signed a long term deal that allowed the Vikings to rid themselves of Ray Edwards.
The issues here have been A) if New Orleans places the franchise tag on him in 2013, he would be due an increase of this season's $16.4 million tag salary of more than $7 million which would move his total to nearly $25M for 2013 and
B) Can a player be franchised three times (the max number in the CBA) total or three times per team, Brees having been franchised once as a member of the Chargers. In the CBA "any club" using the tag a third time on a player would have to tender that player at 144 percent of his previous year's salary, but not specifying if it had to be the same club tagging the player each time. The ruling really throws the ball into the Saints court. Either way you look at it sometime within the next three years Drew Brees will make $20M a season, maybe all three. While I don't normally make fun of the handicapped ...it is the Saints.
While teams can use the tag in order to not give a long term deal to an aging or suspect (in terms of making long term commitment) player, think Matt Forte or Brent Grimes or Wes Welker, they can't use it to restrict long term any key player or face serious financial penalty. I don't think the Falcons do this but I think a clear case can be made that the Bears and Patriots do it as policy.
Players involved in original suit:
Tom Brady - signed to long term deal at time of lawsuit
Peyton Manning - franchised, injured, released
Drew Brees - currently franchised
Ben Leber- signed deal Vikings
Brian Robison - signed deal Vikings
Logan Mankins - franchised, signed long term deal
Osi Umenyiora - franchised, signed one year deal
Vincent Jackson - franchised, signed with Bucs
Mike Vrabel - Out of the league
Von Miller - Unsigned rookie at time of suit, NFL def. rookie of the year 2011, Pro Bowl starter