We interrupt our post-draft analysis for a word from BRB to unhappily franchised Dunta Robinson. Actually, I guess it's not a word. It's two words that Rick Smith has little choice but to utter in response to Dunta advising the Texans that he won't report unless the team agrees not to franchise him next year. The words Smith must use, you ask? Simple:
Now, don't get me wrong. I don't blame Dunta at all for trying to employ this tactic. It's worked for other players, albeit in slightly tweaked fashion (e.g., Albert Haynesworth convincing the Titans to incorporate relatively easily attainable incentive clauses into his last contract that would allow him to waltz into unrestricted free agency without getting tagged). Dunta's problem here is that he has little to no leverage. To reiterate a point that was discussed quite a bit back in February, why would Smith and/or the Texans handicap themselves? The franchise tag is a powerful weapon for management. Why give it up at all, much less when the other side isn't giving you anything?
It'd be one thing if Dunta said, "Look, I'll play for only $1,000,000.00 in 2009 instead of the nearly $10,000,000.00 I'm entitled to under the franchise tag IF you're willing to promise me that you won't tag me next season." That'd qualify as consideration, or some basis for the Texans to agree not to tag him in 2010. Of course, Dunta would never agree to leave nearly $9,000,000.00 on the table, especially not even a year and a half removed from a horrific, potentially career-ending injury. Indeed, this entire contractual dust-up has been about money (as 99.7% of contractual dust-ups are). Dunta wants more money; the Texans aren't willing to give it to him past a certain point (rumored to be $23,000,000.00 guaranteed, an amount I'm positive no other team would give him right now). It's absurd to think that Dunta would willingly give any money away.
Secure in the truth of that statement, what on Earth would make Dunta and/or his representatives think the Texans won't stick to their guns if a long-term deal isn't reached? Principled as he might be, there's no way that Dunta Robinson will sit out a single week of the regular season. If he sits out, he doesn't get paid the hundreds of thousands of dollars he'd have coming to him each week under the terms of the franchise tag. For all the talk from Dunta about how football is a business, does anyone believe that "Dunta The Businessman" is going to make a stand that would cost him millions?
I know I don't. And I can't imagine anyone else is buying it either. So, Dunta--show up, play hard, and collect your checks. It's really all you can do. Anything else would be bad business.