Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Welker trade violated CBA?

The NFL Players Association is asking both the Patriots and Dolphins for an explanation of how the Wes Welker trade was conducted. There are some concerns that it may have violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The controversy arose after Welker's agent complained that the Patriots offer of an additional seventh-round pick ultimately devalued his client. Initial reports said that the Patriots were prepared to sign Welker to a restricted free agent offer sheet worth $38.5 million over 7 years. This cost, in addition to a rumored "poison pill" clause in the contract, would likely have prevented Miami from matching the Patriot's offer. However, not wanting to take the chance of Miami matching the offer, New England threw in a seventh-round pick to their original offer of a second-round pick. Miami accepted, and New England signed Welker to a 5-year deal worth $18.1 million - about half their original offer. They didn't need to hand out such a prohibitively large deal since Miami would not have a chance to match the offer.

However, unless Welker's agent makes a big deal out of this, the league is unlikely to take any action. In fact, most of these inquiries "go nowhere" according to one agent.


- The Dolphins have shown interest in 27 year old free agent G Matt Lehr. Lehr, a fifth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 2001, spent the last two seasons helping the Falcons achieve the top-ranked rushing offense in the NFL. He has experience playing both guard positions as well as center. He also has familiarity with OL coach Hudson Houck, having played for him in Dallas in 2001.

- The team is still trying to trade Olindo Mare for a draft pick. Discussions are ongoing with the Giants, Falcons, Saints, and Browns.

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