Welcome To The Holdout Season

By Lloyd Vance
Updated: June 6, 2008

PHILADELPHIA — The holdout watch continues…I don’t know if it is the offseason kicking in or if players are just plain bored, but there is an overwhelming number of players making holdout statements then like athird grader instituting “takebacks” when money could potentially start flying out of their pocket.

The funny thing is players love to draw lines in the sand and talk tough when OTA’s are “voluntary”.But when fines could potentially pile up at a cost of approximately $8,600 plus per day for a missed mandatory OTA and $14,000 per missed training camp day somehow holdout talk magically disappears.

A perfect example is Bengal receiver Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson, who through his agent Drew Rosenhaus was talking very tough all offseason from February into June.

However with mandatory OTA’s and training camp coming up in mid June and July, Ocho Cinco stubbornly recognized that the Bengals were not going to blink.The Bengals called Johnson’s bluff, so “takebacks’ were in order to play in the NFL, keep his dollars up, and avoid being fined.

The loquacious receiver wrote in a guest column for ESPN the Magazine, “Am I coming back? Of course I am. I told my coaches I’m going to California to act, but the truth is I may come back to the Bengals as early as June”.

Ocho Cinco added, “I may be crazy but I’m not stupid.”I may not agree with No. 85 on everything that he says or does, but his last statement sums up the way NFL players think when it comes to holdout talk with potential fines piling up and not getting paid.

Johnson is not the only player coming back on bended knee as Chicago Bears LB Brian Urlacher also reported for duty avoiding fines.However Urlacher was in a surly mood and would not discuss his unhappiness with his current 9-year, $56.655 million contract that he signed in June 2003 including a $13 million signing bonus.

Unfortunately until the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is changed, players on the Holdout Watch List need to understand that NFL owners are holding the hammer.

Clearly when it comes to non-guaranteed contracts, the NFL is slanted towards the owners causing an obstinate “Go Pound Sand” attitude toward disgruntled players.

Most NFL owners, outside of the Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones, once they get a signature on a contract know that players are obligated to the terms and that they can potentially fine disgruntled players plus not pay them during a holdout.

Players need to really think about “how” good the terms of a contract or extension are — where the player is in their career (rising player, veteran, or rookie), how their peers are paid, contract length, etc — before signing a deal.

Once the ink is dry the player has a better chance of seeing huge free agent defensive tackle Grady Jackson (370+ pounds) in a thong than an owner eagerly renegotiating.


Eagles CB Lito Sheppard – Did not report to recent voluntary OTA on June 3.It will be interesting to see if Asante Samuel’s hamstring may change his mind.Eagles contract capologist Joe Banner has already indictated that Sheppard is expected to be on the team in ’08.GOOD LUCK in trying to make the mountain come to you Lito!!!

Titans DT Albert Haynesworth - Has not reported to OTA’s and is still unhappy with “franchise” deal.Watch for the date July 22nd (Last day to sign FA’s)

Bengals WR Chad Johnson – Ocho Cinco did a total 180 degree turn this week by saying he would report to mandatory OTA’s.It sure didn’t take much for Johnson and Drew “Next Question” Rosenhaus to back down.

Lions WR Roy Williams – Missed recent voluntary OTA, but is still on the team and it will be interesting to see if he reports when the fines start.Williams is said to be envious of T.O’s new four-year $34 million dollar contract extension.Still on the team with the expectation by head coach Rod Marinelli that he will be on the team for training camp.

Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin- Missed recent voluntary OTA on May 22nd, but is still on the team and it will be interesting to see if he reports when the fines start.Has contract that runs through 2010, so Fitzgerald’s contract still bothering him.

Giants TE Jeremy Shockey – Has missed “voluntary” OTA’s while working out in Miami at the “U”.Still no trade movement and GM Jerry Reese expects him back even though the team won it all without him.

Browns TE Kellen Winslow – Didn’t report to OTA’s.Apparently after one Pro Bowl season, K2 has quickly forgotten how the Browns stoody by him after his foolish 2005 motorcycle accident.The Browns could have easily cut Winslow without a cent plus sought a portion of tight end’s signing bonus after he violated the terms of his contract.I have heard that the team probably will wait Winslow out as they gather money to pay receiver Braylon Edwards.

Dolphins DE Jason Taylor – The NFL’s most interesting Soap Opera got ever better as the Dolphins (head coach Tony Sparano) said that they wanted Taylor back.However Taylor stressed he wants to be on a “winner” while infurring that if he “had to” play for the 1-15 team, he would. So where is Jason???, I will tell you where, he is mulling over finishing his career with a rebuilding team as a trade is not imminent or putting the whole fiasco behind him by going to Tinseltown for good.

Eagles OG Scott Young – Does anybody really care that a backup offensive guard best known for a crucial false-start penalty on a 4th down in a playoff loss is unhappy.

Falcons WR Joe Horn- Continuing his holdout, but at age 36 he really has no leverage and will probably be released.

Rams RB Steven Jackson – Reported to OTA’s, but in the last year of his contract with RB’s not getting big deals.Plus has 4 years wear and tear on his odometer.

Giants DE Osi Umenyiora – Reported to OTA’s, but unhappy with contract and what is going on with Strahan and why was Renaldo Wynn signed.

Bears LB Brian Urlacher – Reported to OTA’s, but sulked his way through recent mandatory OTA.This situation has to be watched as the Bears notoriously don’t give in to player contract demands.

Bucs QB Jeff Garcia – Reported to OTA’s, but is very unhappy about being “mistreated” in his opinion.Rumored to be looking at retirement at age 38, but my question is “Doesn’t Gruden already have enough QBs??”

Dallas Safety Ken Hamlin – Much like Haynesworth, he has also not reported due to his “franchise” deal. I have heard rumblings that open-pockted owner Jerry Jones is working on an extension for Hamlin.

Bucs RB Earnest Graham – Has not reported to all six OTA’s after a breakout season in ’07.GM Bruce Allen and head coach John Gruden have other running back options though with Cadillac Williams, Warrick Dunn, and Michael Bennett all at workouts.

Jets TE Chris Baker – Disgruntly reported to OTA’s, but why is he even thinking of holding out on a non-playoff team that just drafted TE Dustin Keller in the first round.BTW: How many catches did he have in ’07 ??