The NFL has declared that teams are allowed to use the franchise and transition tags beginning Feb. 10 for the 2011 season, even if there's a lockout starting March 4. But the NFL Players Association contends the franchise/transition tags aren't allowed and will file a court challenge. 

"We would challenge any attempt to franchise a player and to make him the victim of it by a contract that he signs,” NFLPA general counsel Richard Berthelsen said today at a press briefing. "There’s no franchise tag without a new CBA, it’s as simple as that. We have a lot of things in the agreement that say ‘in each year covered by this agreement….’ But when the agreement ends, those rights don’t survive. It’s very simple. This isn’t rocket science.”

“This is nothing more than the owners agreeing among themselves what they think they should be able to do,” Berthelsen said. “The collective bargaining agreement clearly says that they get one franchise player for every season covered by this agreement. They already had it for 2010; 2011 isn’t covered by this agreement so that means the right to have it ends. We don’t have a deal for 2011 that means they don’t have a right to do it for 2011. It’s as simple as that. But if they want to get together and say we’re going to do it anyhow, we can’t stop them from doing that. But the agreement doesn’t allow it.”

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