Each year it seems like more and more players are not reporting to pre season activities in order to force their team to hand over a new contract. After Le’Veon bell sat out the entire season last year, there is no longer a guarantee that players will even return before the season starts as previously expected. But are players right to sit out the season or is it just a selfish move on their part?
Players no longer want to head into their final contract year with no reassurance about their future. And big stars can do this. Teams will give their stars money before their contract runs out to ensure they stay with them and keep them content. In theory this is a no brainer for players. A good example of everyone getting a win is Michael Thomas. He has been a star since entering the league. By refusing to turn up, he turned the $1.6 million he was due to earn this year into $6.1 million with $96 million to follow over the next 5 years. With results like that, why wouldn’t he hold out. He missed minimum time away from the team while securing his future.
On the other side of things, Yannick Ngakoue ended his sit out after 11 days with no new contract. He currently is due to make just over 2 million this season on his final year of his contract. Jacksonville had been in negotiations with him this offseason and it was reported that a $19 million a year, ‘short term’ deal was on the table. However, after having a pro bowler year last season, he would be looking for a long term deal. Despite not getting his deal, it is refreshing to see Ngakoue report for training camp for the sake of his team mate.
And that is the real dividing opinion on players holding out, is it them being selfish? We saw last year multiple Stealer player speaking to the media about their dislike to Le’Veon Bell’s hold out. A hold out that ultimately ended with Bell leaving Pittsburgh and heading to New York on a deal that was smaller than originally offered to him at the start of the 2018 preseason. That doesn’t include the money he lost by sitting out last season. He might claim it was a success but can a running back going from one of the best offensive lines to one of the worst for less money consider himself in a better situation?
Currently, Melvin Gordon and Ezekiel Elliott are holding out for new deals. Both look unlikely to end their hold outs any time soon either and have stated their willingness to miss the season opener. Dallas will likely bend the knee before it comes to that but we could well see a repeat of Bell’s hold out last year in LA. Finally, a word for Trent Williams. Williams is holding out for a trade after his treatment last year by the Washington medical team. Williams had surgery last year to remove a growth in his head. And with Washington’s history with injuries, I am not surprised he has experienced issues.
NFL star players are learning that they can force teams into their demands. And in some cases, this is necessary. However, this does not always benefit the team. And in some cases, it does not benefit the player in the long run either.