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LeBron James and the NFL's Franchise Tag

Seeing as today is LeBron James "big day" I figured some kind of post was necessary. After all, the 49ers remain under the cap and might be able to sign the big forward. I see him as a tight end, and I really don't think Vernon Davis wants to share with him, but you never know. I'd say the 49ers have as much a chance of landing LeBron as the Warriors.

But seriously, LeBron-mania is sweeping the nation as he'll be announcing on ESPN at 6pm pacific tonight where he's signing. It's turned into quite the circus, and I think we're getting a lot of backlash about all this. Jason Whitlock had probably my favorite tweet about the whole thing:

Geraldo/Capone vault RT @Adam_Schefter: Rip event & man all u'd like. But Thurs 9 pm will be "I remember where I was when I heard" moments.

For those who don't remember, the general idea was that after discovering what was supposedly a secret vault belonging to Al Capone, Geraldo was going to open it on live, national TV to reveal what was inside. It was basically empty.

This whole LeBron-athon is centered on the NBA, but PFT had an interesting article two days ago about the whole situation. As the NFL and NFLPA have worked towards a new labor deal, one issue is whether or not the franchise tag would return. PFT thinks that in light of the LeBron circus, the NFL would never let go of the power of the franchise tag:

Today, there's simply no way that an elite player would be able to hold the entire NFL hostage by nonchalantly entertaining huge-money offers and pulling the sheet off his selection in a cheesy made-for-TV event. The best NFL players don't become unrestricted free agents; they sign long-term extensions, they toil as year-to-year franchise players, or they get traded to a team that will give them the long-term deal they covet.

It's certainly reasonable, although the NFL also has a stronger hold over their players union than the other leagues. All the player unions have a good deal of power, but given the lack of guaranteed contracts in the NFL, the league has done better than others in certain regards.

As we approach what really will be the end of what has been the most-talked about offseason in NBA history, one has to wonder if this really is a good thing? Some argue any publicity is good publicity. However, the backlash is building about this free agency period. I don't think it necessarily will affect the way the NFL does business, but they'd be stupid not to be paying attention to the LeBron circus.

Although there might be changes in structure, I agree with PFT that I don't see the franchise tag going anywhere. If you want to spin this into a 49ers-related story, there's always the chance the 49ers hold off making a deal with Vernon Davis and instead use a potential franchise tag on Davis. Of course, as the labor situation remains tenuous, who knows whether such a tag will even exist a year from now.