Chris Johnson Gets Paid; DeSean Jackson, Probably Not

Chris Johnson Gets Paid; DeSean Jackson, Probably Not

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]

Eagles-Vikings predictions by our (cough) experts

Eagles-Vikings predictions by our (cough) experts

The Eagles are coming off two straight losses and the slate doesn't get any easier with the 5-0 Vikings coming to town.

It also marks the return of Sam Bradford, who was traded just before Week 1, paving the way for rookie Carson Wentz to start.

The Eagles kick off against Minnesota at the Linc on Sunday at 1 p.m., so it's time for our (cough) experts' predictions for the Week 7 matchup.

Dave Zangaro (2-3)
I'll admit, this game just has a weird feel. It has the feeling like the Eagles might be able to catch the Vikings sleeping after their bye week and hand them their first loss of the season.

I was almost tempted to pick the Birds in this one.

But I'm not.

Ultimately, the Vikings are just the better team. I'm not sure how the Eagles are going to put up points against them. And I'm not convinced the Eagles' defense will be able to stop anyone after what we saw last weekend.

They keep it close, but the Birds fall to 3-3.

Vikings 20, Eagles 17

Derrick Gunn (2-3)
The good news is Minnesota's offense is ranked 30th in the league and the Vikings' run game is dead last averaging 70.6 yards per game. 

The bad news is the Vikings' defense is a monster, ranked 2nd overall and first in points allowed at 12.6.

There is not a weak link in the Vikings' D and they are fundamentally sound across the board. The Eagles' defense vows that what happened to them at Washington — allowing 230 rushing yards — won't happen again. 

Carson Wentz got roughed up by the Redskins' pass rush, and unless the Eagles' offensive line plugs the leaks, more of the same could happen this Sunday. The Birds have every reason to rebound at home, but I just don't like the overall matchup. 

Vikings 20, Eagles 13

Ray Didinger (2-3)
The Vikings aren't going undefeated. You don't go 16-0 in the NFL with a 30th ranked offense which is what the Vikings have. Yes, their defense is very good. Going back to last season they have held each of their last nine opponents to 17 points or less. They are deep, fast and well-coached by Mike Zimmer. But the offense led by Sam Bradford coughs and sputters a lot.
As a result, the Vikings will play a lot of close, low-scoring games and somewhere along the line they are going to lose. It could even happen this week when they play the Eagles. Special teams could be huge. The Eagles have a big edge with kicker Caleb Sturgis. Vikings kicker Blair Walsh has already missed three field goals and two PATs. However, the Vikings return men -- Marcus Sherels on punts, Cordarrelle Patterson on kickoffs -- are very dangerous. I expect the Eagles to keep it close but in the end I have to go with the superior defense.
Vikings 21, Eagles 16

Andrew Kulp (2-3)
Which Eagles defense shows up on Sunday? If they can limit Minnesota's anemic ground attack, which ranks dead last in the NFL, this should be a close game. Sam Bradford is playing really well, but it's not like he's airing it out all over the place.

Then it becomes a question of how Halapoulivaati Vaitai responds to a rough debut. The Vikings pass-rush is fierce, so it doesn't get any easier this week. As long as the protection gives Carson Wentz a chance, that will at least give the rookie signal-caller a shot at making a few big plays.

For some reason, I like their chances at both. It's going to be another ugly one, but the Eagles do just enough to squeak by.

Eagles 20, Vikings 19

Corey Seidman (2-3)
I foresee a low-scoring game in which the Eagles are more competitive than some might think.

But in the end, the Vikings have the personnel and the defensive-minded head coach (Mike Zimmer) to get key stops down the stretch.

Vikings 20, Eagles 16

Andy Schwartz (1-4)
You’re still reading? 

Well good for you. Much appreciated. 

Because clearly I certainly don’t know what to expect from this team. 

But let’s forget all that for the moment and look at the Bradford Bowl. 

The Vikings’ offense is hardly scary (30th in the league in yards per game behind the Rams and Niners), but their defense is (second in yards per game behind Seattle).

The Eagles’ offense is hardly scary (22nd in yards per game), and their defense (sixth in yards per game) was pretty scary a few weeks ago.

So let’s look at the intangibles. Which team needs this game more? The Eagles. And they’re at home. 

But given the outcomes the last two weeks and that Minnesota is unbeaten and coming off a bye, it certainly makes sense to pick the Vikes, who are favored by 2.5.

Then again, the Eagles not too long ago were unbeaten and coming off a bye … and we all know what happened.

So I’ll say the Birds pull off another upset and remain unbeaten at the Linc. 

Just don’t bet on it.

Eagles 6, Vikings 5