Holdout Watchlist: Regular Season

(Philadelphia, Pa) – Holdouts are always big news during training camp, but once the regular season starts and teams get in the weekly NFL grind, holdout players often become forgotten men — See Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell last season and going back in the day Mike Richardson and Todd Bell missed out on a Super Bowl title with the 1985 champion Chicago Bears.  With teams starting to game plan for their regular season week one opponents and tough roster decisions to be made (Cutdown to 53 players is August 30th @ 4 PM), holdouts are out of sight and out of mind.

My advice to any remaining holdouts (i.e. Buffalo Bills OT Jason Peters) is “Get Your Butt in Camp” as you have already lost enough training time and dollars (fines at $15,000 per day).  At this point, you have to know that your team is not going to budge on their stance and you are only hurting yourself by not preparing for the regular season – Michael Strahan in 2007 is the exception as the veteran missed all of training camp, but still had a very productive season. 

Holdout players can try and wait to see if the way the season unfolds (injuries and bad losses) dictates the team giving in (remember Emmitt Smith’s 64-day holdout in 1993 when the Cowboys caved after going 0-2 to start the regular season… later winning their second Super Bowl in the Jimmie Johnson era) but don’t bank on it.  The key date for holdouts once the regular season starts will be Week 10 (November 6) as holdouts who don’t report by this week will lose a year’s worth of credit toward free agency.

With all of the that said let’s look at the last version of the NFL holdout list for 2008.

 Buffalo Bills OT Jason Peters (Holding Out) The big offensive tackle (6’4, 328) is still holding out and this situation is just getting worse.  The small-market Bills and their owner Ralph Wilson have decided they will not blink, as Peters is not helping his case by sniping in the media.  The upstart AFC East Bills will move on without their starting left tackle and they can only hope that one of their backup linemen can do the job. The former undrafted free agent from ‘04 is coming off his first Pro Bowl season and is looking to receive a contract in the neighborhood of Cowboys LT Flozell Adams (six-year deal for more than $43 million with $15 million guaranteed).  Peters has missed every day of camp since August 2nd causing him to have fines around $ $432,248 as of August 22nd based on a daily maximum potential fine of $15,116 dollars and I won’t even start talking about the potential game checks forfeited at $191,000 for every game he missed. Current Contract: Signed a 2005 deal for five-years worth $15 million that will pay him $3.25 million for the 2008 season.

Arizona Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin – (Reported – Still Disgruntled) The NFL’s current #1 most sitcky and public feud over money gets worse daily.  Boldin and Rosenhaus are trying to get traded as the Cardinals will not budge.  Boldin is in camp and looking to play in the first game, but he had the troubling quote “I am here just to honor my contract”.  Quotes like that will not help him the lockerroom or get $$$ like teammate Larry Fitzgerald (four-year, $40 million contract, with $30 million guaranteed).  Barring a bad injury to another top-flight receiver around the NFL, don’t expect GM Rod Graves or the Bidwell Family (owners) to do anything with this violatile situation, especially a trade until the off-season.  Current Contract: Signed a four-year, $22.67 million contract extension through 2010 on 7/31/2005. The deal included a $5 million signing bonus and contains $10 million in total guarantees w/ Boldin due $2.5 million in ’08.

Jacksonville Jaguars DE Derrick Harvey – Well it didn’t take as long as JaMarcus Russell’s holdout last year that went well into the regular season.  But on August 27th Harvey (selected 16th overall) ended his 33-day holdout becoming the last 2008 first-round pick to sign.  Harvey’s deal finally got done after the Jaguars got creative and found ways to get the talented rookie the options he wanted.  The deal has a base package 5 years at $23.8 million dollars with $17,177,500 of guarantees. The key tradeoff that ended the holdout was getting $6.2 million worth of incentives and escalators based on playing time in the deal. If Harvey becomes a Pro Bowl-caliber player, the contract could max out at $33.4 million.  Now the Jags need to get Harvey in shape for the week one opener (Septemer 8th) at Tennessee.

St. Louis Rams RB Steven Jackson – (Reported – Signed new deal on 8/21/2008) This holdout much like Brian Westbrook’s case was a situation where an elite player had clearly outplayed his current contract.  Even though fines got high at over $400,000 dollars, Jackson and his agent Eugene Parker stuck to their guns and received the new deal from the Rams new ownership group.  Jackson is now in the neighborhood of 2nd year running back Adrian Peterson (six-year, $40.5 million contract w/ 17 million guaranteed) so now he can get back to work.  The interesting thing for Jackson is that he must avoid the injury bug that befelled ’07 hold out running back Larry Johnson. New Deal: Six-year deal that will max out at just under $44 million with language where the final two years can be voided based on Jackson’s performance. If that’s the case, the four-year deal will be worth just under $30 million. The deal includes just over $20 million in guaranteed money, $11 million of which came in the form of a signing bonus.

Philadelphia Eagles RB Brian Westbrook (Reported – Signed to a new deal) B-West did things the right way in working with the Eagles top brass (i.e. Not like T.O) as he did not complain while his agent Todd France worked behind the scenes with Joe Banner. On Friday August 8th, Eagles’ fans could only exult their team’s management and not complain – no I am not talking about the Birds 16-10 loss to the Steelers – as the Birds took one to the house by locking up their jack-of-all-trades to a new deal.  There is no arguing that the former 2002 third-round draft pick out of Villanova has been the Birds best player the last two seasons producing back to back 1,100 yard plus rushing seasons, so the dollars were warranted as he outplayed his old deal.  Current Contract: Contract with the terms three years, $21 Million with $13 Million guaranteed in ‘08 and ‘09.

Tennessee Titans DT Albert Haynesworth – (Reported – Signed Franchise Deal) Begrudginly signed his 2008 “franchise” deal of $7.25 million for 1 year (wants the contract of Oakland Raiders DT Tommy Kelly, seven-year, $50.5 million w/ $18.125 million in guarantees).  I am sure by ’09 if Haynesworth plays up to ability, Titans owner Bud Adams and head coach Jeff Fisher will get him a new contract.  Current Contract: The aforementioned 1-year $7.25 million dollar “franchise” deal

Cincinnati Bengals WR Chad Johnson – (Reported) Ocho Cinco had off-season surgery on his ankle and now he is battling shoulder injury too.  Bengals clearly didn’t give in to Drew “Next Question” Rosenhaus letting the league know the Bengals will uphold contracts.  Of course all of the good PR was out the windows as they brought back noted bad boy Chris Henry. It is time to play, so it will be interesting to see if Johnson can get back on the field and produce at a Pro Bowl level. Current Contract: April 2006 contract extension w/ terms six-years , $35.5 million deal. Contract paid Johnson $16 million in bonuses and salary for 2006 and 2007. The remaining money due includes $3 million for this season, $4.5 million in 2009, $5 million in 2010 and $6 million in 2011.

Detroit Lions WR Roy Williams – (Reported) After not reporting to some OTA sessions due to “bad weather”, Williams showed up for training camp on time, but he still seems a little perturbed that he doesn’t have Terrell Owens’ four-year $34 million dollar contract extension.  Look for Williams to play out his deal in hopes that GM Matt Millen can work out a trade or extension.  My guess is the Lions will “franchise” Williams if nothing can be worked out. Current Contract: Signed a five-year, $15.25 million contract in August of 2004 and is due $5.8 million in ’08.

Philadelphia Eagles OG Shawn Andrews – (Reported) Happily I am glad to say that the Big Kid’s non-reporting had nothing to do with his contract.  Andrews reported to the Eagles right before the end of training camp and he is not working with the Eagles staff to help him battle depression.  The fines that Andrews accrued during his unexcused leave have not been talked about and my feeling is that the Eagles may forgive them due to his condition. Current Contract: In June 2006, Signed a 7-year contract extension for $40 million through 2015.

Philadelphia Eagles CB Lito Sheppard – (Reported) The former first round pick in 2002 made a power move by hiring Drew Rosenhaus as his agent.  But the Eagles want to see if Sheppard can stay healthy this season as he serves as the NFL’s best nickel corner.  With Asante Samuel healthy and Sheldon Brown in the fold, the Eagles have the best three cornerback set in the NFL.  Look to see all three on the field a lot as teams are playing three receiver sets about 60% of the time.  Unless there is a bad injury to another top flight corner around the NFL, expect to see Sheppard in an Eagles uniform versus the St. Louis Rams on September 7thCurrent Contract: Signed a 8-year, $26.3 Million deal w/ a 8.7 Million signing bonus in ‘04 season.

New Orleans Saints TE Jeremy Shockey – (Traded) The “big-mouth” tight end is happy to be a New Orleans Saint as the NY Giants traded him for a pair of draft picks in 2009 picks (2nd and 5th rounds).  Sean Payton, who somehow is on the violatile tight end’s good side should find inventive ways to use him. Current Contract:  On 10/12/2005, signed a contract extension for five-years at $26 million with $10.5 Million in guarantees

Washington Redskins DE Jason Taylor –  (Traded) “Mr. Dancing With the Stars” and his career 117 sacks came to the Washington Redskins for a second-round pick in 2009 and a sixth-rounder in 2010 to Miami.  But this story may not have a happy ending as Taylor were hurt badly in the Redskins’ second preseason game (knee sprain that could keep him out 10 to 14 days). Current Contract: In 2004, Taylor signed a three-year contract extension that put him under contract through the 2009 season. The new deal runs from ’04 to ’09 and is worth $45 million including nearly $10 million guaranteed.

New York Giants DE Osi Umenyiora – (Reported – Injured out for the season) With the retirement of Giants’ all-time sack leader Michael Strahan, the G-Men and Umenyiora appear headed toward a re-negoiation until the explosive defense end injured his knee versus the New York Jets.  Umenyiora will now have to prove he can come back from the bad knee injury before getting re-upped.  The G-Men will lean on veteran Renaldo Wynn and returning from injury former linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka in Umenyiora’s absence. Current Contract:  Signed a contract extension in December 2005 with the terms six years for $41 million w/ $15 Million guaranteed

Chicago Bears LB Brian Urlacher – (Reported – Signed an extension) Haven’t heard a peep from him since his new deal.  Current Contract:  Had four years and approximately $25.5 million remaining on his original contract extension signed in 2002 (nine-years, $56.5 million contract with a 13 Million Dollar signing bonus). Under the terms of the upgraded ’08 deal, Urlacher will receive a $6 million signing bonus along with a $1 million bump in salary each of the next four years. The sides also have agreed to extend the pact into 2012, at a salary of $7.5 million. Urlacher can earn an additional $500,000 in a workout bonus in 2012. That’s a total of roughly $43.5 million over the next five years, with $18 million in new money.

Chicago Bears WR/KR Devin Hester – (Reported – Signed an extension) – Haven’t heard a peep from him since his new deal. But now we will see if he can become a full-time qualtity receiver and not just a homerun returnman.  Current Contract:  Hester had two years left on his ’06 rookie contract (four-year, $2.86 million rookie contract that called for him to make $445,000 in 2008 and $530,000 in 2009) With his new contract extension through 2013 for four years, $30 million including $15 million guaranteed with a max out at around $40 Million. The deal features escalators of $10 million in each of the final two years featuring receptions, yardage and other targets.

Dallas Cowboys Safety Ken Hamlin – (Reported – Signed to new deal) Haven’t heard a peep from him since owner Jerry Jones seized the opening from a potention non-salary cap in 2010 by keeping Hamlin, T.O, Pacman Jones, and others happy. Current Contract: Hamlin on July 15th signed a six-year, $39 million deal including a $9 Milllion dollar signing bonus.

Green Bay Packers RB Ryan Grant – (Reported – Signed new contract) Already feeling public pressure from the Brett Favre mess, the Packers gave Grant a healthy extension.  Grant finally got his dollars, but he also got the inactive player’s injury of a pulled hamstring.  Let’s just hope the injury is not lingering or this signing may not look so great.  Current Contract:  Four-year deal w/ a cap of $30 million. Much of the money will come from performance-based escalators with the former Notre Dame star earning $4.25 million in ’09 ($3 million roster bonus at the signing and $1.25 million split up into $750,000 in base salary and an additional roster bonus worth $500,000).

Tampa Bay Bucs RB Earnest Graham – (Reported – Signed contract extension) Made his preseason debut against New England with five carries for 13 yards and a touchdown in the first half before leaving the game.  Graham said of his effort after fighting through an ankle injury, “I felt good”.  Even in a crowed backfield of Graham, Cadillac Williams, Warrick Dunn, and Michael Bennett look for Graham to be the man in the regular season.  Current Contract:  Signed a contract extension for four-years worth $11 Million.

New York Giants Plaxico Burress – (Reported) Burress disgruntly reported to training camp, but made his contract demands known – Of course everyone on the 2007 Super Bowl Champs is now looking for their payday. Burress will let his agent Drew Rosenhaus work behind the scenes, but don’t expect a new deal this year.  The lanky receiver is still working through ankle that will need to be monitored.  The good news is that he practiced without restrictions on August 25th for the first time since last winter.  Burress said of the practice “I decided to pull the old car out of the garage and see how I felt today – get some of the dust off of it, I felt pretty good. I’m feeling a lot better.  We will have to wait to see if Plaxico gets his asking price of T.O type numbers of $9 million per season.  Current Contract:  Currently signed until 2010 from a 2005 contract with terms of six-years, $25 million.

Oakland Raiders WR Joe Horn  – (Reported) Got his wish to be released after a 27 catch 243 yards w/ 1 TD season in ’07.  The Falcons clearly were going with youngsters Roddy White and Laurent Robinson followed by Michael Jenkins and ’08 third-round draft pick Harry Douglas.  Horn was subsequently signed by the Oakland Raiders after Drew Carter was injured. Current Contract:  Due $2.5 million in ‘08 from a Summer 2007 deal w/ terms four-years, $14.5 million contract (before incentives) that runs through 2010

New York Jets TE Chris Baker – (Reported) Now that QB Brett “The Jet” Favre is in town, his former security blanket from Green Bay Bubba Franks is getting a lot of work along with TE Dustin Keller.  So Baker, who is working through a back injury better get to work as his modest ’07 numbers (career high 41 catches in ’07) may further drop. Current Contract:  Entering the third year of a four-year, $6.6 million contract.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jeff Garcia – (Reported) The wiley old veteran got the vote of confidence he was looking for as the Bucs didn’t land Brett Favre.  However there are a gigillian other quarterbacks on the Bucs’ roster (Griese, Johnson, Rattay, Simms), so don’t expect a new deal for the 38-year old from CFLer. Current Contract:  Garcia is to be paid $2 Million dollars in ’08 from his March ’07 deal with terms two years, $7 million contract that included a $3 million signing bonus. The deal also had another $7.5 million available through incentives


 Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer/Analyst for Taking It to the House and an award winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)


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