FOXBOROUGH – With the 2014 NFL free agency period just over a month away, Patriots coach Bill Belichick has chosen to get a jump on the bidding by slapping the franchise tag designation on Lions WR Calvin Johnson Jr., despite the fact that Johnson, technically, is not eligible for the tag because he, technically, is under a multi-year contract to the Detroit Lions.
“I’m pleased to announce that we have labeled Calvin Johnson Jr. as our franchise player,” Belichick announced earlier today. “I understand that there is some controversy over this move, but that’s to be expected. Many players who are slapped with the franchise tag experience a sense of frustration over being stripped of their negotiating leverage. But I expect Calvin to put aside his resentment and show up for all Patriots OTA’s and training camp in July.”
“This has nothing to do with ‘leverage’ or ‘frustration,’ countered an enraged Martin Mayhew, G.M of the Lions. “Calvin is our wideout. He has been for seven years now. Belichick can’t just swoop in and steal our best player like he was some Jets sideline signal.”
“Look, we could stand here all day debating things like ‘who was originally under contact with who, ’or ‘which superstar coach is screwing over which inept franchise’” countered Belichick. “But none of that matters at the moment. Let’s just say that sometimes, rules gets misinterpreted and leave it at that. The important thing is that Tom Brady will finally have the quality receiver he’s been lacking, and that’s what I’m trying to focus on right now.”
The Lions, Johnson, and the NFLPA have all vowed to fight the Patriots maneuver via an independent arbitrator, but Belichick expressed confident in his chances.
“We look forward to the matter being decided by an unbiased judge,” said Belichick. “I feel certain that the official NFL arbitrator will rule in our favor, especially when the arbitrator gets a load of some of the secret footage we’ve recorded of him, his neighbor’s wife and her pet goat last Tuesday.”