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Published on September 6, 2007 By terpfan1980 In Football

As I was riding home from work tonite and listening to the pre-game hype for the season opener tonite (Colt's vs. Saints in Indianapolis) the NFL rumor reporter was being asked about the JaMarcus Russell situation.  If you aren't aware of who Russell is, he's the #1 pick from the most recent NFL draft.  He was the #1 number 1.  First pick in the draft.  Drafted by the Raiders, a team that could use some good luck for a change.

Sadly, their luck with the Russell hasn't been what they would have hoped.  As usual, Russell is holding out for more money, feeling that as the #1 number 1 he should be able to demand a kings ransom and then some before he signs with the Raiders.

Russell isn't the first player to do this, and I'm sure he probably won't be the last, but it is yet another sign of just how screwed up things in the NFL are.  Older players get kicked to the curb barely hearing a thank you, and more frequently hearing nothing at all as they are replaced with players that cost the teams less in salary in bonuses, and can perhaps play only slightly worse, or maybe a little better than those same cast off players.  I've seen too many players find their careers over with early, and I know that the average career, in number of years, in the NFL is woefully small.  Most players rarely even see a second contract, with the exceptions being the star Quarterback, or perhaps Runningback.  Maybe a star defensive player here and there too.

Heaven forbid though that you are a lineman on either side of the ball.  If so, you may see a 3 or 4 year career before you are taken out by injury, or before you are replaced by someone else that will cost less than what you are worth in your next contract.

This all reminds me that the NFL, and their teams (like the Raiders), need to stop the madness.  They need to take a hardline against these players and their greedy agents and say enough is enough.  Come up with a reasonable offer, say that this is the offer, take it or leave it by this deadline or find yourself sitting around waiting for another season and some other team to draft you and do the exact same thing.

The Raiders will likely not be the first team to actually follow-thru on that approach, and I really don't know which team might do it (if it was baseball I was writing about, I could point at Jerry Reinsdorf and tell you that he would certainly be the type to try it), but I hope that sooner, rather than later, some team in the NFL does it.  Let some stupid player and their more stupid agent hold out for a ton of money and let 'em sit and rot for not just one season, but 2 or more if possible.  Set first one example, and then have a few teams join in on the fun and do the same thing.  Let 'em all institute some financial restraint and let them all get smarter about using the money to pay the players that are still on the teams, still practicing, and still playing.

I wish that the owners would work with the players union to shift the money around and get it out of the rookie salary pool and into the pool for established players, or even better get it into the pool of money that helps provide benefits for prior generations -- players that gave up their bodies and long term health for a chance to play in the NFL.  Anywhere but into the hands of the greedy rookies and even greedier agents.  Let those folks work for huge performance bonuses if they'll agree to it, but cap the salary levels back down near Earthly levels and use the guaranteed money to pay for players that actually deserve it.


Comments
on Sep 06, 2007
Just another few $0.02 worth of my thoughts.
on Sep 07, 2007
The Raiders just do not know how to deal with the 1-1.  IN negotiations.  But they made his demands moot when they picked up Daunte Culpepper.  The problem with Russell is that while he shows great potential, he has not done a thing yet.  Culpepper has proven to be a winner.  Better the known asset than the high risk one.
on Sep 07, 2007
I've always wondered what would happen if the teams just sat out a season and didn't draft any of the young hotshots. I mean really, none of them will be worth their paychecks for a year or two anyway, so what would it hurt?

In the short run it would hurt the young player who has worked so hard to make it to the draft in the first place... but in the long run, it might just mean one less season on the bench for most the games.

Where it would really hit hard would be the managers. They would be hit be an entire season's revenue. But then again, maybe they are the ones who need to take a hit for once.
on Sep 07, 2007
If you have a young team, by all mean, go for it. But if your team is getting to that point, you're going to need some young guys coming up to take their spots - and I'd rather have them on my team now, working with my players, than waiting a year to get them.
on Sep 07, 2007

The Raiders just do not know how to deal with the 1-1. IN negotiations. But they made his demands moot when they picked up Daunte Culpepper. The problem with Russell is that while he shows great potential, he has not done a thing yet. Culpepper has proven to be a winner. Better the known asset than the high risk one.

That's why I wish more of teams would, if you'll forgive the baseball term when talking about football, play hardball with these players (drafted rookies) and their agents when it comes to their contracts.  Do exactly as the Raiders have done and go get a veteran that can play right now and do the job for you and tell the young punk that whatever amount of money you are offering is *it*, *all* and no more will be coming.

The agents always sit back telling the players that they'll get 'em more and somehow or the other they always seem to do it because eventually the teams cave and pay whatever amount of money is being demanded.  If the teams opted to stop caving -- yeah, I know it would probably be collusion like happened in baseball back some years ago -- and started being hardliners about these contracts, the players and agents would be less likely to pull this holdout crap and instead would take the offers that are being made.

The early round draft picks generally are making a ton of money out of these deals.  The difference between the $20 million (give or take) in salary and bonuses that the team is offering and the $35 million that the player/agent want is a lot, but at some point fans look at the numbers and start asking when enough is enough?  If someone gave me $20 million and said that was all I was gonna get for doing my job, personally I think I could survive just fine.  If they offered me $35 million instead, I'd be very happy, but I don't know that I'd ever be able to sit back and say $20 million isn't enough, I must have $35 or I will take nothing.

on Sep 07, 2007

If you have a young team, by all mean, go for it. But if your team is getting to that point, you're going to need some young guys coming up to take their spots - and I'd rather have them on my team now, working with my players, than waiting a year to get them.

Well, the draft is a perverse situtation anyway.  The worst teams are typically drafting the supposedly better players, so there's an inverse relationship to how good a team is versus how high their draft picks would be.

Good teams, teams that are in the playoff hunt, typically don't have problems with their draft picks signing the contracts and coming into camp because at that point in the whole financial process the players know that the teams only have a fixed pool of money to spend (because of the rookie salary pool) and that if the lower round draft picks start signing and taking up that money, the team will not have enough to sign the picks in the early rounds.

So, as much as you may want to see these guys come in, join the team, and start playing sooner rather than later, if you are one of the teams that have drafted one of these supposed can't miss super-star rookies you have to be aware that your team is probably still missing several pieces that will be needed to get them over the hump and into the playoffs -- i.e., all the more reason you shouldn't be rushing to meet the demands of a spoiled-rotten agent and his/her even more spoiled star athelete.

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