2010 NFL Holdout Watchlist – Updated as August 10th

There are still a few stalwarts that are away from camp as players, like San Diego Chargers OT Marcus McNeill, are Holding Out

Now that all NFL teams are in training camp, holdout talk has really heated-up.  There are currently three major holdout situations that are on the NFL’s front page: New York Jets vs. Pro Bowl CB Darrelle Revis, the San Diego Chargers vs. their 3 restricted free agents (OT Marcus McNeill, LB Shawn Merriman, and WR Vincent Jackson), and the New England Patriots vs. OG Logan Mankins.

Sure “holdouts” are a rite of passage, because star players always believe that they have “outperformed” their existing contracts.  In looking back at league history, in 1975, former Miami Dolphins superstars Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick and Paul Warfield jumped to the World Football League (WFL) in an effort to be paid what they thought they deserved. This year more than ever, the uncertain times around the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement has caused both players and owners to talk tough. 

The owners are pointing to the 30% rule in the current CBA and an uncapped 2010 season.  But they are also not saying, at least publicly, if a deal is in place to not put too many new deals on the table, given there maybe a lockout in 2011.  Surprisingly an uncapped year has also shown that there is “no floor” too.  Owners seem less likely than ever to pay guaranteed money including signing bonuses on new player deals because they could potentially cover lost salary during a lockout – heck even future Hall of Famers Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are in the last year of their deals.  “Underpaid” star players are countering by holding out in hopes that their value to their team will sway their respective owners to open their checkbooks even with the CBA situation. 

You don’t have to be an NFL capologist to know that the longer that a holdout goes on, the more likely it will turn “ugly” quickly.  It is a test of wills between players/agents and teams and someone has to blink first.  Usually in the NFL’s world of non-guaranteed contracts – described by ESPN’s Mark Schlereth with the saying “The contracts should be written on toilet paper” — it is the players who come off their stances quicker. The owners are clearly holding the proverbial “Hammer”. Players under contract have to worry about the league’s 30-day rule (August 10th deadline), fines — $14,000 to $16,500 dollars daily for missed training camp days — and possible missing game checks. 

Also teams love to point to the case of 1985 Chicago Bears where highly valued players Safety Todd Bell and LB Al Harris held-out the entire season but their team still went on to win the Super Bowl without them.  Players have to always be mindful that the “NFL Never Sleeps” — the Saints and Vikings will kick-off the season as scheduled on September 9th — and that everything will go on with or without them.

So with 256 of 257 drafted rookies already signed including all 32 first-round picks, everyone’s holdout attention is now focused on the veterans still sitting on the sidelines.  Hopefully Revis, McNeill, Jackson, and the rest of the NFL’s holdouts will workout their respective situations as holdouts are a no-win situation for everyone involved.

2010 Holdout Watchlist (updated as of August 10th)

New York Jets CB Darrelle Revis – Arguably the best corner in the NFL is very unhappy about his current contract and is holding out.  Revis, who now owes over $128,000 dollars in fines for each missed camp day at $16,523 per, is currently slated to make $1 million in the 4th year of his 6-year rookie contract.  After a season where he basically carried the NY Jets to the AFC Championship Game, the former University of Pittsburgh star wants to be paid like an All-Pro.  Revis wants a deal similar to fellow Pro Bowl player and highest-paid corner, Oakland Raiders’ Nnamdi Asomugha – signed a 3-year, $45.3 million extension in ‘09. However it is going to be tough for the NY Jets to find a way of paying Revis on Asmougha’s level, especially after already extending OT D’Brickshaw Ferguson (six-years, $60M), plus signing free agents LaDainian Tomlinson, Jason Taylor, and others.  There is no doubt that NY Jets head coach Rex Ryan wants Revis – 2009 stats of 54 TKLs, 31 passes defensed and 6 INTs in 16 starts – in camp badly.  But management (owner Woody Johnson and GM Mike Tannenbaum) and the star cornerback’s side (includes family member / mentor and former NFL holdout Sean Gilbert) seem entrenched in a bad way.  Hopefully the NFL Films / HBO cameras for Hard Knocks are ready as this one may get real “ugly”.   There is no doubt, that it is incumbent on both sides to find a compromise as the J-E-T-S have no chance of going far into the playoffs without Revis Island on their side.

New England Patriots OG Logan Mankins – While everyone is talking about Revis and the Chargers’ Big 3 as the biggest holdouts in the NFL, quietly their is a very important contract impasse taking place in New England.  Mankins a former 2-time Pro Bowl player has been at odds with the Patriots’ brass (i.e. Bill Belichick) over his contract situation.  The 28-year old former first rounder out of Fresno State believes that the Patriots current restricted free agent tend offer of 1-year, $1.54 million is too low (down from $3.268 million after June 15th).  Mankins really would like a contract more in the neighborhood of the Saints’ OG Jahri Evans — recently extended with the terms 7-years, $56.7M w/ $19M in year 1).  Though many people don’t think of the value of a very good interior offensive lineman…trust me it certainly is on the mind of QB Tom Brady.  Mankins says he wants to be traded or there is the possibility of him sitting out the whole year — I don’t see either of those options happening.  However Brady’s protector may have some leverage as his replacement Nick Kaczur maybe lost for the season with a back injury and deep back-up Dan Connolly doesn’t have much experience. This situation will definitely get interesting as a Patriots insider has told me, “Mankins is just stubborn enough to sit out the entire 2010 season”.

Chargers OT Marcus McNeill — Outside of Darrelle Revis’ fight with the NY Jets, this maybe the NFL’s most compelling holdout.  McNeill, a Pro Bowl offensive tackle, is not happy at all about his contract situation and he refused to sign his restricted free agent tender.  Frustrated Chargers GM AJ Smith then on June 15th reduced McNeill’s offer from 1-year, $3.168M to $600,000 dollars.  Both camps seem to have dug in deep, but it maybe San Diego who blinks in this one.  It probably didn’t help matters when the NY Jets gave Ferguson his big deal.  The Chargers signed veteran OT Tra Thomas as insurance, but already he is out after recently having his knee scoped.  San Diego in turn then went with the desperate act of moving OG Tyronne Green (6’2, 309) to left tackle.  We will see if Green can protect franchise QB Philip Rivers’ blindside, but I am not confident he can on a daily basis so I am sure McNeill will be getting a call soon.

Chargers WR Vincent Jackson – Much like McNeill, Jackson seems intent on making Smith’s life miserable.  Vincent also has not signed his restricted free agent tender – started out at 1-year, $3.268M, which was reduced to $600,000 on June 15th — and is “holding out”.  The Pro Bowl receiver is coming off a big year — 68 catches for 1,167 yards and 9 TDs – and was hoping to get a Brandon Marshall-type deal (four-year deal worth $47.5 million with $24 million guaranteed).  You know that Smith isn’t even thinking about hooking Jackson up with a deal like Marshall’s, especially after the star receiver got in trouble again for DUI, resulting in a 3-game NFL suspension.  I guess after Smith figures out how to make McNeill happy that Jackson is next, but his case is not as pressing with receivers Malcolm Floyd, Antonio Gates, Vincent Jackson,  Leegudu Nanee and Craig Davis already in camp.

 Chargers LB Shawne Merriman – You would have thought after not producing at a level that he did in the past — 4 sacks in the past two years over 15 total games — that Merriman would be in camp.  However the NFL’s former poster outside linebacker has not signed his Restricted F/A Tender (1-yr, $3.269M) and is “holding out”.  I guess Merriman is caught-up in the fight between Chargers GM AJ Smith and fellow restricted free agents Marcus McNeil and Vincent Jackson.

 SF 49ers NT Aubrayo Franklin – Hopefully the Niners larger fire hydrant 3-4 nose will wake-up to the fact that his team overpaid for him and end his holdout by signing his “franchise player” deal – 1-year, $7,003,000 dollars.  Franklin, who is not being fined since he is unsigned, was lucky enough to be part of the franchise player class as New England Patriots NT Vince Wilfork and Green Bay Packers Ryan Pickett.  But in my opinion he is not on those two players level.

Chiefs safety Jarrad Page – This restricted free agent has yet to sign his 1-year tender offer — 1-YR, $1.759M – and is “holding out”.  Page is a solid on a rebuilding team, but I don’t know how much leverage that he has in not signing his deal.  I am sure the new Chiefs’ braintrust of GM Scott Pioli and head coach Todd Haley are not one bit happy with Page being on the sidelines.  He better come in soon as Kansas City has Brandon Flowers and Mike Brown already in camp.

Other “resolved” possible Holdouts

Redskins DT Albert Haynesworth (reported – finally passed his conditioning test on his 4th try and will now try to be the 100 Million Dollar Man that head coach Mike Shanahan expects)

Vikings WR Sidney Rice (Reported — Has “hurt” hip and is not happy about being slated to make $550,000 in ’10)

Titans RB Chris Johnson (received $2M escalator payment early and reported)

Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett (reported — Rosenhaus and Dockett will have to wait until ’11)

Saints OT Jermon Bushrod (Signed his Restricted F/A Tender and reported)

Ravens OT Jared Gaither (Signed Restricted F/A Tender and reported)

Redskins OT Jammal Brown (Traded to the Redskins from Saints, signed his 1-year tender and reported)

Redskins LB Rocky McIntosh (Signed Restricted F/A Tender and reported)

Titans TE Bo Scaife (Signed his Restricted F/A Tender and reported)

Ravens QB Troy Smith (Signed his Restricted F/A Tender and reported)

St. Louis Rams FS O.J. Atogwe (Re-Signed with the Rams and reported)

Cleveland Browns LB D’Qwell Jackson (Signed his Restricted F/A Tender and reported)

Denver Broncos DE/OLB Elvis Dumervil (Received a six-year, $61.5 million extension and reported)

NY Jets LB David Harris (reported)

Eagles WR DeSean Jackson (reported)

Jaguars CB Rashean Mathis (reported)

Browns safety Abe Elam (Signed his Restricted F/A Tender and reported)

NY Jets center Nick Mangold (reported — Jets trying to get Revis’ deal done first)

Texans WR Andre Johnson (reported and is expected to get an extension around 1st preseason game)

Cowboys WR Patrick Crayton (reported — Not much leverage and is fighting for a roster spot)

Browns LB Matt Roth (Signed his Restricted F/A Tender and reported)

Giants DE Osi Umenyiora (Reported, but has a bad hip injury)

Browns K Phil Dawson (Reported)

Redskins FS Laron Landry (reported)

Chiefs G Brian Waters (reported)

Cowboys DL Marcus Spears (Signed his Restricted F/A Tender and reported)

Colts WR Reggie Wayne (Reported)

Colts QB Peyton Manning (Reported and will probably get an extension before last year of contract runs out)

Colts DE Robert Mathis (Reported)

Patriots QB Tom Brady (Reported and will probably get an extension before last year of contract runs out)

Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley (Reported — Steelers have said no extensions in ’10)

Bills RB Marshawn Lynch (Reported)

Vikings DE Ray Edwards (Signed his Restricted F/A Tender and reported)

SF 49ers OLB Manny Lawson (Reported)

Buccaneers LB Barrett Ruud (Reported — Threatening a “walkout”)

Panthers CB Richard Marshall (Signed his Restricted F/A Tender and reported)

 

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

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3 Responses

  1. Are you sure that David Harris got a contract extension? I don’t remember reading or hearing anything of the sort.

    • You are right…David Harris is still working on a four-year, $3.5 million contract signed in ’07. He hoped to get an extension, but he will have to wait until next year.

  2. Spanos: Jackson, McNeill to blame for holdouts, not Chargers…

    I found your entry interesting to I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

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