Posted by Ryan Wilson
Players from several teams may have gotten word that they will be reporting for work this weekend, but there are still several things to iron out before there's a new collective bargaining agreement in place and the 2011 season can officially begin. One issue will be finding a compromise with the 10 plaintiffs named in the Brady v. the NFL lawsuit.
Yahoo! Sports' Jason Cole has learned through multiple sources that agents for two of the plaintiffs, Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson and Patriots guard Logan Mankins, "have requested that their players either become unrestricted free agents when the lockout is over or that they receive $10 million each as part of the settlement."
Jackson and Mankins missed much of the 2010 season when they couldn't reach long-term deals with their respective teams, before eventually reporting and playing out the remainder of the year. At the time, the players were hoping to become unrestricted free agents in 2011, but both were designated franchise players in February.
According to an ESPN story last October, "Jackson and Mankins were among the players caught in significant changes because of an uncapped year that moved unrestricted free agency from four years to six years. Jackson and Mankins became part of a large class of restricted free agents when their contracts expired after their fifth season (2009). Both declined to sign their restricted free agent contract tenders, a requirement before players can report to their teams."
Per one Cole source, two other plaintiffs, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, "don’t really have that much to gain [by seeking compensation] because they’re both quarterbacks … They pretty much have all the leverage they could want. But I think some other guys are going to expect to be compensated.” Manning and Brees also signed a joint statement with Tom Brady last week calling for a settlement.
Cole also explains why the six remaining plaintiffs are in no position to demand "drastic compensation for damages."
Linebacker Ben Leber and defensive end Brian Robison could get some compensation because they are free agents who have been unable to sign with teams, but that figures to be minimal. New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora and Brady are under contract already. Denver Broncos rookie linebacker Von Miller has yet to sign a deal and linebacker Mike Vrabel has retired.Which brings us back to Jackson and Mankins. Neither player's agent would comment on the matter but Cole writes that "Both agents have been involved in bitter disputes with the teams over the past two years. Jackson and Mankins were among a group of players who have had to wait six years to reach unrestricted free agency because of previous rules."
And an NFL Players Association source tells Cole: “They’re asking for something they believe – and I think most people would believe – is fair compensation for what they’ve had to go through. My guess would be that the owners or the league will pay them.”
Cole adds that the league will consider all its options in the matter but that it "might be more inclined to pay Jackson and Mankins because removing the franchise tag would set a precedent for Manning to ask for the same thing now and Brees to do so next year if he doesn’t get a new contract from the New Orleans Saints."
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