As the calendar turns ever closer to the opening of training camp and start of football season, there are still dozens of disgruntled players around the league who are stuck in unfair contracts. They're unable to negotiate new contracts with their respective clubs due to the uncertainty with the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and the rules currently in place that limit player movement and the amount of money teams can offer certain athletes. I'm sure you're all very concerned about their plight.
Among the players who either threatened to hold out or have already, and probably the most egregious example of the underpaid, was Chris Johnson. Last year the Tennessee running back became the sixth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards, yet he was slated to enter this season as the lowest paid runner on the roster.
The Titans finally said no mas and caved to Johnson's demands... sort of. The 2010 Offensive Player of the Year gets a salary bump for the upcoming season, but does it affect somebody like DeSean Jackson, who has also made it known he is looking for a reworked deal?
The Inquirer's Jeff McLane explains it's "unlikely." While Chris Johnson and DeSean are similar in that they are both entering their third year in the league, and have had explosive impacts the previous two seasons, for starters they are playing under two very different contracts. Johnson, who went late in the first round of the draft, is locked up in a five year deal and has a ways to go before he can become a free agent, while Jackson received a shorter four year offer in the second round.
According to McLane's sources, the thinking is the Eagles won't bother to renegotiate with DeSean because he'll already be on the final year of his existing contract in 2011, which is when teams generally try to work on extensions anyway.
A holdout or even publicly asking for a restructured deal would not benefit Jackson, who has one less year on his deal than Johnson and thus a shorter road to free agency. And once you're a good player - which Jackson obviously is - the most valuable thing you can have is a shorter road to free agency.
The other issue at hand for Jackson is CJ didn't really win his battle. Instead, he's merely been temporarily appeased. The back is now slated to earn $2.5 million in 2010, which is far better than $500k he would have earned otherwise, but it's far from representative of one of the most dynamic players in the league. Not only that, but the team technically didn't even give him a raise. They simply moved money from the final year of the current deal into this season.
That type of settlement isn't really indicative of DJac or other unhappy players suddenly striking it rich. It seems organizations have their hands tied in many of these cases, while some may just be content to point to the lack of a CBA one year from now. Luckily, McLane seems to come to the conclusion DeSean won't have too much of a problem with all of this.
Jackson's best route, according to the league source, is to wait another year before asking for a new contract.
>> McLane: Unhappy Jackson unlikely to get revised deal [Inquirer]