With the impending drama that the Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback situation will surely bring us this offseason, one of the options that the Vikings could use would be to “toll” the contract of Teddy Bridgewater. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Vikings could do so, based on Bridgewater not being able to “perform football services” for the first six weeks of the season when he was on the Physically Unbable to Perform List.
By “tolling” Bridgewater’s contract, the team would have him under their control for another season at the same salary he received last year, which is around $2 million. However, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press says that the team could be in for a fight if they should choose to go that route.
Per NFL rules. . .the ones that were collectively bargained by the National Football League Players Association and the owners. . .any player that starts the regular season on the PUP List is not allowed to be moved to the team’s active roster until after the first six weeks of the season have passed. However, Tomasson’s source has told him that the language of the CBA could be interpreted as whether or not Bridgewater could have “performed football services” regardless of that rule.
Bridgewater returned to practice on 18 October, which was the first day that he was eligible. He said the day after that he could have returned earlier had he been eligible. According to Tomasson, if the Vikings did attempt to toll Bridgewater’s deal and a grievance was filed, the team would likely have to produce medical records and other documentation to justify their decision to start him on the PUP List in the first place.
Obviously, tolling Bridgewater’s contract would be a very cheap option for the Vikings, particularly compared to the cost of putting the franchise tag on one of their quarterbacks would be. Right now, the cost of the franchise tag is around $23 million, which is more than the Vikings paid for the four quarterbacks they had on their roster last season combined.
On the other hand, if the Vikings still see Bridgewater as the long-term solution at quarterback for this team, and that’s something they haven’t really clarified one way or the other, then they could risk a battle with Bridgewater and the NFLPA. I’m not sure how much of a grievance the NFLPA would have, given the verbiage of the rule itself, but there’s no doubt that they’d give it a go anyway.
I know I can’t wait for six more weeks of quarterback discussions, folks. This just adds another potential layer to everything.