NFL Players Need to Stop Holdouts and Respect Their Contracts
By Joel Deering
Several big name NFL players such as Julio Jones, Khalil Mack, and Aaron Donald are currently holding out because they want new contracts. This is a situation a lot of NFL teams have to face every year, most of the time with their star players. If I was an NFL owner I don’t think I could deal with players like this. It frustrates me every time I hear about a player holding out because they want a new contract.
Here’s what I don’t understand. When an NFL player signs a contract, let’s say a four year deal worth $40 million, that means they’re agreeing to play for that team every year for the next four years. I’m almost 100% certain players don’t sign a contract stating, “I will play for this team for four years and $40 million until the last year of my contract or until I want more money, and then I won’t play until you give me a contract extension worth more.” When an NFL player signs a contract they willingly chose to sign, there should be no tolerance of a holdout.
Part of the reason these guys want new contracts is because there are several guys at the same position who they’re better than, but they make less money than. For example, Julio Jones makes less money right now than Jarvis Landry, Davante Adams, and Sammy Watkins. Julio Jones is far better than any of those guys, but guess what Julio? When you signed your last contract, the market wasn’t as high for receivers then! At the time Julio Jones signed his deal, he was the second highest paid receiver in the NFL, but since then the market has changed. Is it his fault the market changed for receivers? No, but it is his fault he signed his current deal saying he would play for the Falcons for five years worth $71.25 million.
Then we have players like Aaron Donald or Khalil Mack, who are playing on their rookie deals. They both knowingly signed deals that allowed their teams to pick up their fifth year options. I’m pretty sure the deals don’t say, “I can holdout and not play for you if you pick up my fifth year option.” If you didn’t want to have a fifth year option, don’t sign the contract saying the team can do that. I’m sure contracts are more complicated than I’m making them sound, but you get the point.
For players like Julio Jones, he needs to respect his contract and wait his turn for a new contract. If his play is still top notch when his current deal is up, guess who will likely be the highest paid receiver in the NFL? Julio Jones. Is $71.25 million really not enough money? For players like Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack, do they really think they’re teams aren’t going to pay them? These guys are the best in the NFL at their positions. Their teams aren’t letting them get away, but right now they’re still under contract.
Then we’ve got the franchise tag situation, which is a little bit different. If a player gets the franchise tag, they have to stay with that team for at least one more year, but the key thing here is if the player signs the deal or not. If they don’t sign the deal, then it makes sense to holdout because they want a long term contract after their old one has expired. If a player does sign the one year contract, but still holds out, then it bothers me. They knowingly signed a contract for one year saying they’d play for the team, but then they hold out anyway? No respect for the contract.
I’m just annoyed because to me it seems like contracts don’t mean anything anymore. As soon as another player at the same position makes more, it’s holdout time. These NFL players have no respect and no patience. Their time will come if they can wait, but it all has to be right now. In my opinion, there needs to be a greater consequence for holding out, but the NFL lets anyone who wants to holdout get away with it every time.