The Maurice Jones-Drew situation, and the way people were criticizing him was completely unfair. I know I’m biased, but I’m all for NFL players holding out, especially if they’re running backs.
Let me explain.
We’re in the midst an era where running backs are becoming more and more of a commodity.
For the record, I’m not on the inside on anything dealing with MJD’s situation. I’m just going on a short rant, and using his situation as an example.
Running Backs Gotta “Get It” While They Can
Check out this short list of backs, and tell me what they all have in-common:
- Adrian Peterson
- Arian Foster
- Chris Johnson
- Ray Rice
- LeSean McCoy
- Matt Forte
What do they have in-common?
That’s right, they all made immediate impacts in the game of pro football.
This means that the clock has started, and it ticks-away quickly for top-tier running backs.
Combine that with the fact that running backs are one play away from their careers being over when you consider that they get hit, or have to hit, somebody on just about every play.
Combine that with the length of the average NFL back of three years.
“Honor the Contract,” You Say? Get Real.
And I get tired of people that say “he signed the contract, he should’ve honored it.” Are you serious?
Well if MJD was supposed to just honor the contract he signed, explain to me why that principle doesn’t apply to the NFL teams when they release players that are still under contract?
Why is it fair for them not to honor it, and it’s not ok for the player to do so?
Combine that with the fact that most players will only get one (“maybe two) chances to get a big payday before it’s “on to the next” running back from the team’s perspective.
Most running backs, who have an average career of just under three years in the league, never get to see that second pay day.
Combine that with the fact that if you’re a top-tier running back who got drafted in the first round, a team can lock you up for six years, if they chose to.
How? Well first round deals are four-year deals with an optional fifth year. So that’s five years, then if they franchise him for the sixth year, now we’re at six.
Plus, quite often, a player’s g-money (guaranteed money) is paid out on the first couple years of their tenure with a team. Once that guaranteed money is all paid out, teams will quickly hit you with the ultimatum of “renegotiate your contract, or we’ll cut you.”
That’s exactly what happened to Ladainian Tomlinson in 2008.
Bottom line, in the NFL (especially if you’re a running back), you’d better cash-out on as many payday opportunities as you can.
I personally think the fans and media that blast players for holding out either don’t understand the player’s perspective, or simply don’t care.
With that being the case, NFL players shouldn’t care what the media or fans think either when it comes to holding out for a payday.
After all, it’s just business.
What do you think? Is it wrong for player’s to hold out? Leave a comment below.
Follow me on Twitter. @alvingrier