Franchise tag has made lockout easier for Chad Greenway

It’s refreshing to find a player from time to time who embraces the idea of the franchise tag.

Typically, all you hear is complaints as players kick and scream when they have been tagged, a mechanism that keeps them off the free market.

But the franchise tag the Minnesota Vikings placed on linebacker Chad Greenway before the NFL’s lockout began has made him happy.

"I was excited (to receive the franchise tag), knowing the lockout was coming," Greenway said, according to Luke Hagen of the Daily Republic. "To be a free agent right now wouldn't be a good situation to be in. Being the franchise player makes me know the Vikings want me and they want me to be here. I want to be in Minnesota, so it goes hand-in-hand."

It also guarantees he’ll be among the five-highest paid players at his position for the 2011 season. The Vikings had a tough choice to make between Greenway, one of the main cogs in their defense, and wide receiver Sidney Rice. They obviously chose Greenway and he’s grateful for that.

“I love to play the game, and I'm in a good position because they've taken care of me and never lied to me," Greenway said, "so I shouldn't play hardball with them. If someone's been good to me, I should be good to them back."

The Vikings are going to try to bring Rice back but they’ll face some competition for his services, no question about that. Rice had hip surgery last summer and really only produced one big season in four years with the club. In that respect, Greenway was the shrewd choice to get the tag.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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