Holdouts are always big news leading up to and during training camp. But the holdout game can be very costly in terms of team chemistry and injuries – just look at the 2007 Kansas City Chiefs a team that never got on track after running back Larry Johnson’s extended stay away.
Also players under contract risk large amounts of money in fines (approximately $16,000 per training camp day missed) and accruing seniority toward (under a league rule, players under contract must report at least 30 days before the overall first NFL regular season game or lose an accrued season of seniority) by holding out.
None the less, holdouts are a rite of passage during NFL training camps. However I don’t know if players are longer willing to fork over fine money or teams and agents are doing a better job, because there are only four reported NFL veteran holdouts as of August 3rd.
As for rookies after a slow start last week, first rounders are coming to terms quickly (23 of 32 signed). My guess is that Chiefs DE Tyson Jackson (3rd overall and Bengals OT Andre Smith (5th overall) will be the last first rounders in the door.
2009 Training Camp Holdouts
Raiders DE Derrick Burgess (Holding Out) – For third season in a row, this two-time Pro Bowl player is very unhappy with his current deal that will pay him $3.5 million in 2009. It is very clear that Raiders new head coach Tom Cable and his defensive coordinator John Marshall are not happy with the somewhat injury prone soon to be 31-year old defensive end. After a breakout season in 2005 where he compiled 16 sacks, Burgess’ numbers have decreased from 11 sacks in 2006 to 8 sacks in 2007 and 3.5 sacks in 2008. It doesn’t look like either side is going to budge and Burgess is looking to be traded rather than report for training camp, but where is his leverage. The Raiders are exploring their options – possible deal with the Patriots — but as of July 29th, Burgess’ wallet is getting lighter by the day. He probably wants the contract of Oakland Raiders teammate DT Tommy Kelly, seven-year, $50.5 million w/ $18.125 million in guarantees – don’t hold your breath on that one. Burgess has already accumulating fines to date totaling over $79,000 at a rate of $15,800 per training camp day missed.
Texans CB Dunta Robinson (Holding Out — Has not signed franchise deal) — Robinson is unhappy with being franchised this offseason and continued his holdout efforts from earlier OTAs. He was to have reported on July 31st, but he remained AWOL. Texans GM Rick Smith recently said of Robinson’s situation, “I think Dunta needs to be in camp, and that’s my opinion, I think he needs to be here with his teammates and when he’s coming in, that’s a decision he’s going to have to make.” This maybe a long drawn out process as Robinson, 27, already missed the opportunity as of July 15th to sign a long term deal this season. The only contract he can take is the one-year, $9.9 million tender offer the Texans have extended to him. Robinson only played in 11 games last season, starting six, after recovering from serious knee and hamstring injuries suffered in 2007. The former 2004 first round pick had 2 INTs in 2008, which was well off his career best of 6 INTs established during his 2004 rookie season.
Jets RB Leon Washington (Holding Out) – One of the best multi-purpose backs in the NFL, Washington was to have reported to Jets camp on July 30th. After a career season where he totaled career-high 2337 all-purpose yards, scored 9 TDs (6 rushing, 2 receiving, 1 kickoff) and made his first Pro Bowl appearance, Washington wants to get paid. The 27-year old is scheduled to make $535,000 this season and is not happy that he is being mentioned in competition with Thomas Jones (also unhappy) for the starting running back job, but is not being paid like a starter. The former 4th round pick in 2006 recently said regarding his holdout, “Honestly the situation is pretty much the same as it was in minicamp”. After missing all of the Jets’ OTAs, Washington means business and probably wants a deal in the neighborhood of Maurice Jones-Drew’s new four-year, $31 Million contract including $17.5 million guaranteed. Washington’s agent, Alvin Keels, and Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum have been negotiating for some time, but the two sides are far apart. However Washington should be careful as Jones and developing rookie Shonn Greene are already in camp receiving reps and new Jets head coach Rex Ryan is a no-nonsense coach.
Falcons WR Roddy White (Holding Out) – Another player who just had a “breakout” season and wants to cash-in now. He has one year remaining on his original five-year rookie contract – set to make $2.28 million –but wants a contract extension. White made his first Pro Bowl after establishing a franchise record for receiving yards (1,382) off 88 receptions with 7 TDs. The 27-year old former first round pick from UAB was to have reported to the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flowery Branch, GA on July 31st. Probably is looking for a contract close to Seattle Seahawks free agent pick-up T.J Houshmanzadeh’s five-year $40 million contract with $15 million guaranteed. With the Falcons already paying big dollars to QB Matt Ryan, DE John Abraham, and RB Michael Turner, these negotiations could become difficult. Ryan recently said of White’s holdout, “Yeah, you’d like everyone to be here and I certainly would, Roddy’s a big part of this team. But, we’re hopeful he’ll get it done soon and be out here working with us.” The player who is probably not missing White is emerging receiver 2nd-year receiver Harry Douglas (23 rec, 320 yards, and 1 TD as a rookie in 2008). Currently has fines totaling $47,664 as of August 4th.
Other Players that have reported to camp, but have been on the Watch List at one time or another this offseason
Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin (Reported – Is signed through 2010 and doesn’t look like he will be traded, so he will need his new agent Tom Condon to work his magic)
Eagles CB Sheldon Brown (Reported – Agreed with Eagles front office head Joe Banner to let cooler heads prevail. But will Brown receive the same treatment as Lito Sheppard in ’08 is the key question)
Browns WR/KR Joshua Cribbs (Reported – Talking, but threatening to holdout once the regular season starts)
Jets RB Thomas Jones (Reported – May benefit from Washington’s holdout)
Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett (Reported – Hoping that agent Drew Rosenhaus can strike a new deal for him)
Broncos WR Brandon Marshall (Reported – Is not happy about his contract, but with his off the field behavior why would the Broncos budge. Currently has an “injured” hamstring)
Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco (Reported – I guess when he is not Twittering that he and Rosenhaus will be whining about getting a new deal despite coming off a disappointing 53-catch season in 2008)
Packers DB Nick Collins (Reported)
Texans TE Owen Daniels (Reported)
Packers WR Donald Driver (Reported – Wants a new deal after just getting one in 2006)
Jaguars DT John Henderson (Reported – Maybe on trading block)
Packers WR Greg Jennings (Reported – Signed an extension in June 2009)
Redskins FS Laron Landry (Reported)
Falcons C Todd McClure (Reported)
Eagles QB Donovan McNabb (Reported – Restructured Current Contract that runs through 2010)
Bucs LB Barrett Ruud (Reported)
Bucs OG Arron Sears (Did not Report — Off the field issues)
Panthers DE Julius Peppers (Reported – Signed his 1-year Franchise Deal)
Ravens OLB/DE Terrell Suggs (Reported — Received new multi-year deal)
Chiefs LB Mike Vrabel (Reported)
Chiefs G Brian Waters (Reported)
Patriots NT Vince Wilfork (Reported)
Vikings CB Antoine Winfield (Reported — Received a new deal)
Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)