Wednesday, January 26, 2000

NFLPA: Bengals broke rules

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Bengals could lose their free-agent franchise tag for the next four seasons if the NFL Players Association has its way.

        The NFLPA has named the Bengals as one of five teams that violated the collective bargaining agreement when they reached a five-year, $23 million deal with wide receiver Carl Pickens just before the season.

        The Bengals put the tag on Pickens by tendering him a $3.5 million offer, meaning they had the right to match any offer or receive two first-round picks as compensation if Pickens signed elsewhere. If Pickens had signed a long-term deal with the Bengals while he still had the tag, they would have lost the tag for the duration of Pickens' deal.

        As many teams do, the Bengals signed Pickens to the one-year offer, then signed the long-term deal with him a day or two later, meaning they get to use the franchise tag again this year.

        “Nine teams have done it,” Bengals President Mike Brown said. “And we checked with the management council, and they approved what we did. We thought we were following the letter of the law.”

        Brown expects an arbitrator to rule Feb. 10, the day before free agency starts.


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- NFLPA: Bengals broke rules

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