The “franchise” tag is one of the worst things that can happen to you as an NFL player, because it forces you to accept a one-year contract at a pre-determined amount and there’s nothing you can do about it. How desperate are guys to avoid the dreaded tag? Desperate enough to deliberately get arrested?
That’s one theory about what’s going on with the Seahawks’ Leroy Hill, who was cited for misdemeanor pot possession last month when he was pulled over in suburban Atlanta for having a busted brakelight in his 1975 Buick Electra. That’s right, Leroy was rolling in a busted-up Electra. Some folks are calling shenanigans.
SEATTLE WEEKLY is among the skeptical, and they cite the blog HOTDOG & FRIENDS, who think this whole thing stinks of an athlete trying to do just enough to get run out of Seattle:
I’m supposed to believe that Leroy Hill drives a 1975 Buick Electra?
I’m supposed to believe that a dude as rich as Leroy Hill is rolling around with less than an ounce of weed? Two bags and less than an ounce?
And the taillight? Honestly, it’s like his agent took a baseball bat to the car he bought for $1700 from the junkyard. “Let’s just make sure you get pulled over.”
Hold up. The weed was in a BOOKBAG!? Suuuuuuure.
The idea here is that the Seahawks, who have professed a commitment only to “character” guys, won’t want to keep a guy getting pulled over with drugs, and they certainly won’t want to franchise him. Hill, then, would get to become a free agent and negotiate a long-term deal with any team he wants. So he basically drives around with the busted light and a little pot in a bookbag (I guess he’s taking a physics class in the offseason?) and waits to get pulled over.
It’s a calculated risk, as Hill would stand to earn more than $8 million in a one-year deal as the Hawks’ franchise player. But in football, where a career-ending injury is always just a play away, the chance to lock up more guaranteed money in a long-term contract is probably worth a misdemeanor charge.
And yes, if you’re wondering, SEATTLE WEEKLY has confirmed that it is an Electra that Sir Mix-a-Lot drives in the “My Hooptie” video.