Kevin Clark of The Ringer did a fun exercise with Aaron Rodgers where he asked him what he’d change about the NFL if he were commissioner for a day. There were several suggestions and you should read the whole story at least in part so I don’t feel like a context-sucking aggregator, but this part of it about the franchise tag stood out to me:
“I think I would not allow the franchise tags,” he said. “Because I think that gives the team a lot of power over your future, and they can tag you a couple of times. That, obviously, restricts player movement.”
“I think if you didn’t have it, it would encourage teams to get deals done earlier and in the long run it actually might save them money,” he said. “Because you’re doing a guy’s deal a year before he’s ready to play, especially young guys. Maybe they get him for cheap and, if he has a huge season his last year, cheaper than they would have gotten him after that season, if you sign him early.”
Rodgers, for anybody who is paying close attention, finds himself in a situation with his contract negotiations with the Packers where they could lord over him their ability to franchise tag him for two years at the end of his deal, giving him less leverage in a renegotiation. That being said, he’s also right that the NBA has become a lot more fun to converse about than the NFL in large part because of all the player movement.
Rodgers also suggested that the NFL add some of the elements of the NBA’s soft cap:
“I would allow teams to go over the cap knowing if they do, since there’s not a hard cap, they are going to be faced with some luxury tax issues and they’d change their strategy. It’s not like we’re hurting—just like the NBA, we’re not hurting for revenue. We’re doing excellent in the NFL and the NBA is doing fantastic as well.”
The element of NBA contract structures that Rodgers did not address is max contracts, which would almost assuredly cause him to be paid less per year. In the NBA, the only thing that stops LeBron James and, like, DeMar DeRozan from making the same amount of money is how many years they have been in the league. Stars like LeBron, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant are worth a whole lot more than many other players who also command the max. The franchise tag limits a lot of mobility and is in aggregate a bad deal for players of Rodgers’ caliber, but I’m actually not sure if it is a worse one than max contracts in the long run.
Again, please read the whole story.