Tag, That's It: Vick Signs, but Akers Unhappy

Tag, That's It: Vick Signs, but Akers Unhappy

Big NFL news today that will have a major impact on reaching a new collective bargaining agreement. The Players Association won a key battle last night when a judge ruled the league can't collect money from their enormous television contracts during a lockout. We'll look at the decision and what it means in greater detail a little later, but let's just say the players gained some leverage.

That apparently did not stop Mike Vick from signing his franchise tender. The Eagles' quarterback reportedly put his mark on a one-year contract today worth an estimated $16 million, ensuring he'll be at the helm whenever the 2011 season begins.

David Akers, on the other hand, will not be inking any binding documents in the immediate future, per Jeff McLane. The club's most tenured player is still disappointed by the transition designation, a qualifying one-year offer worth about $2.8 mil. Are the Birds doing Akers dirty, or should he take what he can get?

The transition tag works a bit different from the franchise tag. Teams often won't negotiate with a franchise player due to the high price of signing, a first- and a third-round pick. In Vick's and other "exclusive rights" cases, teams simply were not allowed not make an offer.

There are no such restrictions on a transition player. Any team in the league can make Akers an offer, but the Eagles then have seven days to match.

That really doesn't seem so bad on the surface. However, some front offices won't even bother looking at Akers once free agency begins, anticipating the Eagles would likely match any reasonable offer. That limits his ability to get the best possible deal. In the event that it prevents any team at all from jumping into the fray, he'll be stuck working on a one-year deal. Sure, it's good money, but time and time again we say it: players want the security of a multi-year deal.

Of course, it makes sense for Akers to stand pat before testing the free agent waters. It's questionable whether any organization would be willing to make the kind of offer necessary to pry a transition status kicker away. It's not impossible though. A contending franchise with a kicking game that "left something to be desired" last season might be willing to break the bank on a two- or three-year deal. Maybe, maybe not.

From an organizational standpoint, it appears the Eagles could be setting up for life without Akers. At 36-years-old, his days as an elite kicker are coming to an end, and their willingness to only give one-year may be a sign the organization will soon move in another direction entirely. Or, perhaps it's just part of their stance on not doing business during an uncertain labor period, and a long term cotnract could still be on the table once that gets resolved.

One thing that remains clear is David Akers isn't harboring any ill-will over his supposed run-in with Andy Reid's bus, at least not out in the open. His agent reiterated Akers wants to stay in Philadelphia, but he is simply seeking a multi-year deal, one that might endure for the remainder of his career. Is that too much to ask, or are the Eagles taking the right approach, which is business as usual?

But hey, Mike Vick.

>> Eagles sign Vick to one-year deal [CSN]
>> Akers won't sign transition tender [Birds' Eye View]
AP Photo

CSN, TCN to air 25 of Union's 34 games in 2017

CSN, TCN to air 25 of Union's 34 games in 2017

Twenty-five of the Union’s 34 games in 2017 will be featured on CSN and TCN, as Jim Curtin’s club vies for a second straight playoff berth.

Twenty matches will air on TCN, while five can be seen on CSN. The nine others will be appear across 6ABC, ESPN and FOX Sports 1.

The Union’s season opener on March 5 at the Vancouver Whitecaps will broadcast on TCN and the team’s home opener on March 11 against Toronto FC will air on CSN. The next three games — March 18 at Orlando City SC, April 1 at D.C. United and April 8 vs. the Portland Timbers — will be shown on TCN.

The Union are coming off an 11-14-9 season and their second-ever trip to the MLS playoffs in which they suffered a first-round exit to Toronto FC.

For the Union’s full 2017 schedule, click here.

Best of NHL: Toews nets hat trick in Blackhawks' win over Wild

Best of NHL: Toews nets hat trick in Blackhawks' win over Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Jonathan Toews had three goals and two assists and the Chicago Blackhawks beat rival Minnesota 5-3 on Tuesday night for their second win over the Western Conference-leading Wild in less than two weeks.

Toews notched his fourth career hat trick on an empty-netter with 1:02 left to stave off a spirited rally by the Wild, who began a franchise-record eight-game homestand on Feb. 8 with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Blackhawks. Toews had a goal and two assists in that one and has 37 points in 35 career games against Minnesota.

Chicago's captain has been chewing up almost everyone else, too, with 20 points in his last 12 games. Toews' wing men Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik had the other goals, giving the Blackhawks 34 goals in their last eight games. Their first line totaled nine points.

Mikael Granlund's second power-play goal for the Wild brought them within 4-3, before Ryan Suter hit the crossbar with a shot that nearly tied it (see full recap).

Islanders open 9-game road trip with win
DETROIT -- Calvin de Haan was credited with a go-ahead goal that caromed off an opponent late in the second period and the New York Islanders went on to beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 Tuesday night.

De Haan's shot from above the left circle was stopped by Petr Mrazek, but the rebound went off Detroit defenseman Xavier Ouellet and the back of the goaltender's left leg and into the net. John Tavares scored early in the third period to give the Islanders a two-goal lead and they coasted to the victory.

Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist, and Thomas Greiss stopped 26 shots for New York.

Henrik Zetterberg scored for Detroit and Mrazek finished with 19 saves.

The Islanders, in contention for a wild-card spot, began a stretch of nine straight road games by winning for the third time in four games and improved to 8-13-4 away from home (see full recap).

Crosby, Penguins take care of Hurricanes
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Sidney Crosby scored the go-ahead goal on a deflection in the second period, and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Evgeni Malkin and Scott Wilson also scored to help the reigning Stanley Cup champions bounce back from their only loss since the All-Star break. Pittsburgh moved three points behind East-leading Washington and is 7-1-3 since the break.

Jeff Skinner scored for the last-place Hurricanes, who have their second five-game losing streak in the past five weeks. They have been outscored 19-4 during the current slide.

Matt Murray made 29 saves for the Penguins while Cam Ward stopped 19 shots for Carolina (see full recap).