Its worth remembering that most of the benefit from having a Franchise tag goes to other players, not to the owners. Every salary cap dollar not spent on Franchise players is available to be spent on other players. Even if some teams don't spend to the cap, the new CBA includes a provision that increases future salary caps to compensate for this. (Last year the owners spent about $20M less than 59% of total revenues on players, so the cap for 2007-2011 [but not 2012 Miguel] went up by $134K). This isn't the only example of the union favoring a majority of its players over a minority. The Entering player pool (AKA rookie salary cap) transparently benefits veterans at the expense of rookies. The CBA even has a provision that allows owners to end the entering player pool... but only if they compensate the veteran players who earn less as a consequence.