Vikings Tag Greenway, Rice To Become FA?
By Brian Miller
The Minnesota Vikings have been making some noise in this still early off-season. Mainly because they are in desperate need of a new CBA in order to fill all the holes on their roster. From QB to defense, the team is a mess and Zygie Wulf is hoping that a new CBA will allow him to start adding free agents in two weeks to get his team ready for the 2011 season.
Today, the team took a step in one direction while taking a step back in another. They used the hotly contested franchise tag on LB Chad Greenway. Greenway has been very good in the Tampa 2 style defense run by the Vikings and there is logic in the choice. So while they have secured a top defender by tagging CG, they have opted to not apply that tag to speedy WR Sidney Rice. Insiders also believe that the team will skip the use of the transition tag on Rice as well.
The NFL contends they can still use the tags despite the ongoing CBA negotiations. The NFLPA say they can not. The next CBA will determine which side is right. Under the current rules, NFL teams can use one franchise and one transition tag or two transition tags. Both come with top end draft compensation if another team signs the players. In the case of the franchise tag, a player is guaranteed the average of the top 5 salaries in the NFL at his position.
Rice is coming off an injury plagued season, but when he is healthy he is a home run threat. A legitimate down-field option who can stretch the field. In Miami, he would be that outside player that would free up safety coverage over Brandon Marshall and would allow the Dolphins to use motion to get LB’s attached to outside WR’s in coverages.
The question is will Rice want or demand a high end salary given his injury history or will he be a top free agent who may come as bargain because of it? Rice is likely to sign a large incentive laden contract, if and when he does become a free agent. Will the Dolphins have any interest? He could be that missing speed guy the Dolphins say they need.
UPDATE: Rice is a 5 year restricted free agent. What transpires with the next CBA will dictate whether or not he will be tendered as a 5 years RFA or if he will become an UFA.