It was not a surprise that the Eagles used the franchise tag on quarterback Michael Vick on Tuesday. It was, however, a slight surprise to see it used on kicker David Akers. The transition tag had not been used in the Andy Reid era.
Eagles president Joe Banner explained why the tags were used. In a roundtable session with reporters this afternoon, Banner explained that the team was prohibited from negotiating a new contract or a contract extension with a player if he had a salary increase of 30 percent or more in 2010. It was a little-known rule that was part of the uncapped year. Both Vick and Akers surpassed that 30 percent plateau.
"This was the way we could retain the rights of both of these players under these circumstances," Banner said.
The Eagles decided to use both the franchise and the transition tag because they are operating under last year's rules. If the new Collective Bargaining Agreement does not allow for both, the Eagles will obviously have to change their plans. Banner said that no matter when the new league year, and with it free agency, begins there will have to be some window to be able to retain a team's own players.
"For the moment, we think the prudent thing to do is act as if we have those rights and we exercised them," Banner said. "If we don't act as if they do and it turns out to exist we look awfully stupid. So we're really protecting our rights by doing what we did and we believe that they will exist but we don't know that."
Banner said that the Eagles are open to negotiating a long-term deal with both players. However, the team must wait until the guidelines are set by a new Collective Bargaining Agreement before moving forward. By using these tags, Banner expects the cost to be around $20 million to retain the two players.
The Eagles used the "exclusive" version of the franchise tag on Vick meaning that he cannot negotiate with other teams. Vick will be guaranteed a one-year contract worth the amount of the average of the five-highest paid quarterbacks in the league. Vick responded to the news of the tag on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon.
"Proud to be an Eagle," Vick wrote. "2011 will be a huge success!"
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 3:28 p.m., February 15