Tom Condon, the agent for Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, on Wednesday tried to clear up a report that both made personal demands to avoid receiving the franchise tag in negotiations with NFL owners on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
During an interview with Rich Eisen of NFL Network, Condon shot down Tuesday’s report that Brees and Manning, who are part of an antitrust lawsuit filed against league owners stemming from a lockout that began in March, sought special treatment for their role in helping broker a new CBA.
Condon said it was his understanding that part of the players’ offer - which would limit a team to placing the franchise tag on a player just once in his career - would be for all players, not just Brees and Manning.
Both quarterbacks have been franchised in the past, so that would exempt them from the tag when their contracts are up. Manning’s contract expired after the 2010 season and the six-year deal Brees signed with the Saints in 2006 runs out after this season.
The report drew the ire of some NFL players because it appeared that Brees and Manning were looking out for themselves.
Condon noted the story came from an unnamed source and later pointed out that Brees, Manning and Tom Brady, another named plaintiff in the suit, had recently encouraged owners to accept an offer from the NFL Players Association so they could get to work.
“The story came from an unnamed source, certainly not from Drew or Peyton,” Condon told Eisen. “Drew, Peyton and Tom Brady made a statement a week or so ago that they were completely supportive of the players’ position.
“They thought it was a fair offer,” he said, “and they encouraged management to accept the offer and to get back to playing football.”
Condon said the one-time franchise exemption was part of the proposal players and their executive committee made to the NFL’s Management Council.
Brees, a member of the NFLPA’s executive committee who has been part of the negotiations, made three posts to his Twitter account Tuesday night denying the report.
“I hesitate to even dignify the false media reports with a response, but obviously they are leading people astray,” Brees tweeted.
Then, he posted this tweet: “I want no special perks. My job is to get a fair deal for all players, and I am proud to represent them all - past, present and future.”
Finally, he wrote, “All media claims about me wanting a personal reward for this deal are false. I hope you all know me better than that.”
When asked about a contract extension for Brees, Condon said the lockout prevented the two sides from working on a new deal for the five-time Pro Bowl pick.
Condon said it’s unlikely anything will be done soon after the lockout ends because the Saints will be trying to sign their own free agents and draft choices and looking at unrestricted free agents from other teams.
“When all of that is done, then I would guess that they’ll move on to securing the core player or the elite player for the long-term,” Condon said.