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Hawks to match offer to Hutch...sorta.

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Hawks to match offer to Hutch...sorta.

Postby Dystopia » Thu Mar 16, 2006 5:28 pm

From PFT.com:

A league source tells us that the Seattle Seahawks plan to match the seven-year, $49 million offer sheet signed by guard Steve Hutchinson. On Sunday, the Vikings and Hutchinson reached agreement on the deal, which includes a cap number of more than $13 million in 2006 and a poison pill provision that will make the full contract guaranteed if Hutchinson is not the highest paid member of the team's offensive line.

The Seahawks, however, will not match this provision, which would result automatically in a full guarantee of the Hutchinson deal, due to the long-term contract signed a year ago by left tackle Walter Jones. Instead, the Seahawks will take the position that the guarantee is not a "Principal Term" of the offer, and that the term need not be matched in order to permit the Seahawks to retain their 2006 transition player.

Under the relevant provisions of the CBA, a provision guaranteeing the contract appears to be a "Principal Term." The Seahawks, however, might be able to argue that, as a procedural matter, a guarantee provision only is a "Principal Term" if the guarantee is reflected by a modification or addition to the offer sheet made by the player. Indeed, Article XIX, Section 3(e)(ii) seems to indicate that a guarantee becomes a "Principal Term" only if the player asks for the guarantee, and if the new team agrees.

The battle could, in the end, elevate form over substance, with the Seahawks arguing that the Vikings proposed the guarantee in order to defeat Seattle's ability to match the offer, and the Vikings arguing that it wasn't their idea and that Hutchinson and his agent asked for the guarantee.

Regardless, there most likely will be a battle, similar to the legal brouhaha that unfolded three years ago between the Redskins and the Jets regarding the rights to Chad Morton. In that case, the Jets failed to match one of the provisions of the offer sheet. Arbitrator Richard Bloch found that the unmatched provision was a "Principal Term," which meant that the Jets had not matched the offer, which meant that the Redskins received the rights to Morton.

This time around, the Seahawks are willing to take their chances as to the question of whether the guarantee is a "Principal Term." If they prevail, the Seahawks keep Hutchinson, without the guarantee. If the Seahawks lose, the Vikings will be awarded Hutchinson, with the potential guarantee in place (but with the guarantee meaningless since Hutchinson will be the highest paid offensive lineman on the team). Per Article XIX, Section 4 of the CBA, the arbitrator will be required to resolve the dispute within 10 days after the grievance is filed.

The Seahawks will receive no compensation for Hutchinson, if they fail to match the offer sheet.


I apologize if this has been posted before, I didn't see any news on this bumped to the top.
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Postby mattb47 » Thu Mar 16, 2006 5:34 pm

I think it may be difficult to prove that Hutch didn't ask for the guaranteed money. I don't see a whole ton of substance to Seattle's argument but if I were them I would try it too....they should have just franchise tagged Hutch in the first place.
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Postby moonhead » Thu Mar 16, 2006 5:48 pm

mattb47 wrote:I think it may be difficult to prove that Hutch didn't ask for the guaranteed money. I don't see a whole ton of substance to Seattle's argument but if I were them I would try it too....they should have just franchise tagged Hutch in the first place.


yeah that was a HUGE oops.
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Postby saundman2000 » Thu Mar 16, 2006 5:51 pm

That was a very slick move by the Vikings to slip that "Highest Paid Offensive Lineman" clause in there.

Dang it must really suck for Huchinson to wonder where he's going to go next year. On the other hand, he is going to get major dough either way, so he's probably not too worried.
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Postby biju » Thu Mar 16, 2006 6:11 pm

I'm not sure how the Seahawks could possibly win in that situation. The player wants the money guaranteed so he's going to say he asked for it; the Vikings want the player so they're going to say he asked for it; the agent wants the deal to go through and would stick a chicken up his butt if anyone said that would prove something. Therefore you have a losing argument going into it with the only chance of getting that clause to stick by having one of those parties effectively "ratting out" the others.

Good luck.

Maybe the evidence would have to work the other way? :-o
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Postby maddog60 » Thu Mar 16, 2006 6:14 pm

I have no doubt that claus was the Vikings doing, but good luck proving it. I think its fair to say the Hawks are losing Hutch, and all because they didn't want to pay a measly couple hundred thousand more to franchise him.
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Postby Alkaholik » Thu Mar 16, 2006 6:14 pm

Yea, doesnt look too good for the Hawks....I think it's somewhat of a Win / Win situation....if we get him, our offense is back just to what it was, if we lose him, we have plenty of money to cash in some WR's and Defensive players.
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Postby fantasizing » Thu Mar 16, 2006 9:46 pm

Alkaholik wrote:if we lose him, we have plenty of money to cash in some WR's and Defensive players.


that's exactly what they should do. Forget Hutchin.
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Postby The Balanced Man » Thu Mar 16, 2006 10:14 pm

saundman2000 wrote:That was a very slick move by the Vikings to slip that "Highest Paid Offensive Lineman" clause in there.


my thoughts exactly ;-D
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Postby Steve_L » Thu Mar 16, 2006 11:13 pm

Yea, it'll be interesting to see what happens because this puts the Vikings offensive line shopping on hold seeing as how the don't know what their line will be next year. My guess is the Vikings win.
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