In light of the on-going Michael Crabtree holdout, the NFL is in a situation that could blemish their image for some time to come. There was always the constant thought in the back of the fans’ mind that some of the players in the NFL were only in it for the money and in all rights, is a fair statement for some. However, there is an ever growing trend of holdouts and contract ultimatums that are sweeping through the NFL every year. Players are demanding more money at the first on-site of success and it seems like nobody is ever happy with their contracts. These increasing trends have fueled sour emotions from NFL enthusiasts. With the recent talk of removing the salary cap in the NFL, it does not seem like the money issues will be going away anytime in the near future. College players are often proposed huge amounts of money before they ever step on the field. These players often want more money before they prove themselves at the next level. Then you have players who have breakout seasons and what’s the first thing they do they do? They cash in on the statistics, demanding for raises and contract re-negotiations. We take a look at 5 of the greediest players in the NFL over the past few seasons and give you some insight in to how foolish some of these contract debacles play out.
#5. WR Roddy White (Atlanta Falcons) – Roddy White became a force for the Atlanta Falcons in his 3rd season, catching 83 receptions for 1,202 yards and 6 scores. A year later in the 2008 season those numbers improved with help from one of the best rookie quarterbacks that ever stepped on the field. White ended 2008 with 88 catches and ranked 4th in the NFL with 1,382 yards. However, following the breakout season that resulted in White’s first trip to a Pro Bowl things took an ugly turn. Entering the 2009 off-season, White was to begin the 5th year of a 5 year contract worth 2.28 million for the season. However, that was not nearly good enough for Roddy, when he announced he would not return to the team until he got the type of money he deserves for being an elite NFL target. It just happened to workout for White. After days of negotiation, White was offered a contract for 6 years worth 50 million dollars, becoming the 2nd highest paid receiver in the NFL. The proposal was good enough to get White back on the practice fields immediately and satisfied for at least a few more years. However, the deal has not appeared to be beneficial to the Falcons considering White has caught just 15 passes for 119 yards through his first 3 games in 2009. At this rate, he will be worth around $13,000 for every yard he produces for the Falcons organization.
#4. CB Dunta Robinson (Houston Texans) – Dunta Robinson was a first round pick for the Texans back in 2004. He jumped out to an impressive start in his rookie season picking off 6 passes. The early success brought some big bucks to the Texans star cornerback. However, Robinson has failed to repeat the success he has had in his rookie season. Robinson has had a season high, 2 interceptions since the 2004 season, and when his contract expired at the end of last season things got interesting. Robinson wanted money that a top 5 corner in the NFL would receive (around 23 million). However, Houston administration offered him just 18 million and evidently that was an insult to the young defensive back. While 5 million is a lot of money, it’s definitely not a soft proposal due to Robinson’s production in the NFL. However, Robinson held out from signing a long term contract and settled for 1 year deal making fewer than 10 million for the 2009 season. Robinson made even more headlines this season when his cleats were inscribed with the words “Pay me Rick” on the hill of the shoe. A statement aimed at Texans general manager Rick Smith. The move by Robinson to withhold from long term contract, reportedly cost the Texans cornerback 23 million in guaranteed funds.
#3. Terrell Owens (Buffalo Bills) – Owens’ contract propaganda, like his career, may be coming to an end. But, that does not take away from the multiple contract tirades that were given over the course of his career. Owens burst on the scene 1996 with the San Francisco 49ers and did not really breakout until the 2001 season. After a few pay increases and stable years, Owens became unhappy during the 2003 season and wanted to “explore his options.” The move was to land a bigger contract and that he did in 2004, when the Philadelphia Eagles gave him a 7 year deal worth 48 million dollars. Evidently the contract was not good enough. A year later after making 7.5 million the season prior, Owens openly stated that he needed a new contract “to feed his family.” After tons of controversy during his tenure with the Eagles, Owens was given a 2nd chance by the Dallas Cowboys, when they gave him a 3 year deal worth 25 million. Owens became an effective force in Dallas in lure of an elite passing offense destined for success. After posting a 1,355 yard season in 2007, Owens received another contract renewal for 4 years equaling 34 millions and more importantly, a 12 million signing bonus. While the deal was never made a public affair, it was reported the Owens requested a salary increase following the big year for the Cowboys. However, that would be the last of the salary saga for the controversial wide receiver. Owens was cut from Dallas following 2008 after internal conflict and picked up by the Buffalo Bills, where he has yet to produce this season catching just 8 passes for 158 yards (as of week 4)
#2. QB JaMarcus Russell (Oakland Raiders) – JaMarcus Russell was selected as the number 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft, but when the contract negotiations did not add up. Russell’s career went from the highest of high to the lowest of lows. In retrospect, the holdout was simply ridiculous. Russell was offered a 6 year deal for 60 million dollar contract with a guaranteed amount of 26.5 million. However, that was not good enough for the rookie who had never stepped on the field. The lucrative part of the story was not that Russell was unsatisfied with the yearly figures, but was looking for 30 million in guaranteed money. It almost seemed like he had 28 million in credit card debt that had to be taken care of right away. The holdout lasted several weeks which was enough time for the Raiders future quarterback to miss both training camps and all of the preseason. As a result, Russell was so far behind that he played catch up for the remainder of the 2007 season, starting just 4 games. To make matters worse, Russell has yet to have any success in the NFL after demanding all the money before ever proving his worthiness. Russell currently sits ranked dead last out of all starters for 2009 with a quarterback rating of 42.4 which has included just 1 touchdown pass all year with 4 other interceptions. In 2009, Al Davis is currently paying JaMarcus around 1.6 million dollars per touchdown pass.
#1. WR Michael Crabtree (San Francisco 49ers) – Whatever happened to proving your worth in your profession? Up until week 5, where negotiations were opened up again, the Michael Crabtree holdout was beginning to look like it could have ended up being the most ridiculous and foolish holdout in NFL history. After months of non-negotiations and each passing week of regular season action, it appeared that Crabtree was not going to play at all in his rookie season. The 49ers’ tenth overall pick in the 2009 draft was expected to be the first receiver selected in the NFL draft, but went 2nd behind Maryland’s Darius Heyward-Bey. Heyward-Bey and the Raiders reached a 5 year deal worth 38 millions, with 23.5 million guaranteed. However, Crabtree assumed that because of his name, he was worth more then what Heyward-Bey was paid by the Raiders. He demanded that he get more than the 23.5 million guaranteed that Heyward-Bey received. Evidently the 49ers have no interest in paying him that kind of money and doing so would give future rookies the impression that they can re-write the “slotting system” rules of rookie contract negotiations. So, “Crabs” and the 49ers organization haven’t reached any type of agreement after four weeks of NFL action. At this point, he has missed so much time of development and may no longer be worth the 20 million (plus incentives) that the 49ers originally offered him. Crabtree now has put himself into a foolish situation where he could miss the entire 2009 season. The question a lot of people are asking is what other team would want negotiate a deal with him for 2010 after missing an entire year of football? Even if a team were to negotiate with him, it would be unwise to offer him the type of money initially offered by the 49ers. However, the saga continues to put a bad taste on the perception of greed in the NFL. Crabtree’s public perception is also being ruined by this holdout, and if he doesn’t change his ways, so could his career in the NFL.
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