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Why the Seahawks quickly pulled franchise tag

4/28/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Seahawks' decision to quickly withdraw the franchise-player designation from Leroy Hill upon drafting Aaron Curry seemed hasty, but there was a method to the team's quick action.

The timing was important because rules allowed Hill to sign the one-year, $8.3 million franchise offer at any time, at which point the salary would have become guaranteed. In retrospect, this was a case of Seattle protecting itself from having massive sums invested in one position.

I wasn't sure whether franchise players needed their teams' cooperation to sign the one-year offers, or if they could sign the contracts at their whim. An NFL executive I spoke with Tuesday said franchise players can sign at any time. That would explain why the Seahawks were so quick to act once they realized Curry would be their choice with the fourth overall selection in the draft.