Chad Greenway Was “Excited” About Franchise Tag
The Mount Vernon native is preparing for his sixth season as a linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings. But the NFL lockout has been in place since early March, making it impossible for the team to conduct regular football operations, such as its annual minicamp this summer.
“We’ve been training and working out, but nothing’s the same as playing football,” Greenway said after his fifth annual dual sports camp Monday at Joe Quintal Field.
Greenway is in a better position than many NFL players, though.
On Feb. 21, the Vikings designated Greenway as the team’s franchise player, which eliminated his free agent status and gave him a one-year contract. Because of the lockout, many players in the NFL — such as Vermillion native Ben Leber — are free agents and are stuck without a team to play for. Leber played for the Vikings last year. Free agents cannot talk with teams until a collective bargaining agreement is reached by the players’ association and the NFL owners.
“I was excited, knowing the lockout was coming,” Greenway said of when he was notified of receiving the team’s franchise tag. “To be a free agent right now wouldn’t be a good situation to be in. Being the franchise player makes me know the Vikings want me and they want me to be here. I want to be in Minnesota, so it goes hand-in-hand.”
At the conclusion of the 2010-11 season, Greenway finished his five-year rookie contract, but when the Vikings designated him their franchise player, they agreed to pay Greenway the average of the top five highest paid linebackers in the NFL. Last year, Greenway led the Vikings with 144 tackles, a bright spot in the team’s 6-10 season.
Greenway, a 2006 first-round draft pick, made about $1.3 million in 2010 in the last year of his rookie deal. As a gauge for his pay next season, the top-five linebacker salary last season averaged $9.68 million.
“Chad’s an important part of our team and his play speaks for itself,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier told Vikings.com in February. “He’s productive and has continued to improve each year he has been in the NFL. He’s a leader for us in the locker room and on the field.”
Greenway, who played football at the University of Iowa, said he’s looking forward to getting a long-term deal done with the Vikings. He said there were some talks about a longer deal before the lockout started.
He said he has no intention of holding out if the NFL season starts.
“I love to play the game, and I’m in a good position because they’ve taken care of me and never lied to me,” Greenway said, “so I shouldn’t play hardball with them. If someone’s been good to me, I should be good to them back.”
John Sullivan, center for the Vikings, attended the dual sports camp Monday and said he’s happy to have Greenway on the team for another year.
“He’s one of my best friends on the team,” Sullivan said. “I realize it’s business, but at the same time when you can keep around quality people, you’re always happy and that’s what they’ve done by placing the franchise tag.”
Chad Greenway is an integral part to the Vikings defense so it was important that the Vikings placed the franchise on him. However, by placing Greenway as the teams franchise player they had to take the risk of Sidney Rice leaving via free agency. While Greenway has been more consistent for this team, I would have placed the franchise tag on Rice and the transition tag on Greenway. Regardless, look for the Vikings to make huge efforts to sign both Greenway and Rice to long term contracts once the lockout is lifted.