Darrelle Revis' Pending Holdout and Ugly Situations Brewing for 2012 NFL Season
The NFL landscape in 2012 is quite a bit less unsettled than it was a year ago, when the lockout all but devoured the offseason.
However, that doesn't mean there aren't dark clouds on the horizon for some teams around the league, as the potential distractions of contentious contract holdouts loom large for several NFL clubs.
Here's a look at some of the latest on those situations, from a star defensive back to a stud running back, with a couple of elite pass-rushers thrown in for good measure.
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Less than two years ago Revis held out through much of training camp before receiving a four-year, $46 million contract in September of 2010.
With that said, as USA Today's Kyle Ratke reports, that contract was frontloaded.
Now that Revis has already received over $32 million and will only be the 17th-highest paid cornerback in the NFL this season the four-time Pro Bowler is apparently ready to put the Jets through the ringer again, telling Ratke that he's unsure if he'll be in attendance when training camp begins.
"I don't know," Revis said when asked if he'd be present at the beginning of training camp. "That's what I'm telling you, I don't know. ... I'm getting ready for the season."
It appears that New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora has decided to take a different track in his ongoing contract impasse with the team, as the 10th-year veteran recently parted ways with agent Tony Agnone according to an e-mail Umenyiora sent the Newark Star-Ledger.
"Fired is too harsh a word," Umenyiora wrote, though he made it clear that's what's occurred. "I just came to the conclusion that this situation I don't think he can help me with."
"I have no agent currently," he wrote, "and I'm not really looking for one."
Umenyiora hired Agnone as his agent shortly after inking a six-year contract extension in 2007. That deal will pay Umenyiora just under $4 million in 2012, the final year of the deal.
The two-time Pro Bowl performer held out briefly a season ago before being given permission to seek a trade that never materialized, And with the team and Umenyiora reportedly nowhere close to agreeing to terms on another extension, it looks like Umenyiora may be headed down the holdout path yet again.
UPDATE: Or not, as the New York Daily News reported Friday that Umenyiora and the Giants have agreed to terms with Umenyiora on a restructuring of the final year of his contract.
Guess he just didn't want to give Agnone a cut.
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The 33-year-old signal-caller, who threw for an NFL-record 5,476 yards last season, is unhappy that the team placed the franchise tag on him rather than a long-term extension.
Brees has made that unhappiness known by skipping workouts to this point. The team has until July 16th to agree to terms on a deal before Brees would be forced to play the 2012 season for the franchise tag amount of $16.3 million.
There's always the possibility that Brees could play hardball with the team and hold out into training camp or even the regular season. But as interim head coach Joe Vitt recently told the Associated Press (via the Boston Herald) he doesn't feel it will come to that.
When asked why he’s confident Brees will be back from his contract holdout, Vitt cracked, “what else is he going to do? He can’t sing or dance.”
“I don’t think anybody thought this was going to be easy,” Vitt said. “There’s a lot of revolving pieces here that Mickey’s got to get fit in with the (salary) cap and get people signed, and so on and so forth, and it’s all going to fit into the future. This is going to get done.”
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Although running back Matt Forte has gained at least 1,400 total yards in each of his four seasons with the team, the Chicago Bears have seemed to be in no rush to lock up the 26 year-old long term, instead choosing to slap Forte with the franchise tag for this season.
This didn't sit too well with Forte, and given his unhappiness over his contract situation and the fact that the Bears signed free agent running back Michael Bush in the offseason, it appears that both sides may be dug in for an extended impasse.
It now appears that some of the reasoning behind the Bears' reservations may have come to light. The Chicago Tribune's David Haugh reported earlier this week that Chicago may have concerns about the long-term viability of Forte's knees, which ended his season after 12 games a season ago.
A major sticking point could stem from the Bears' worry over how long Forte's knees will hold up, a source suggested to the Tribune. The wear and tear on Forte's knees drew the attention of several teams, including the Bears, before the 2008 NFL draft when he came out of Tulane.
According to the source, given Forte's past the Bears cannot rule out arthritis setting in and becoming a chronic problem for the fifth-year running back with 1,237 career NFL touches who turns 27 in December.
It didn't take long for Forte to fire back via Twitter, and not surprisingly he insists his knees are fine.
— Matt Forte (@MattForte22) May 27, 2012
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After a career year in which the 26-year-old defensive end tallied 11 sacks and six forced fumbles, Cliff Avril of the Detroit Lions is seeking a long-term deal that will guarantee him over $20 million and pay him in excess of $10 million annually, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The team is believed to be offering somewhere in the $8 million range in annual compensation, leaving the two sides at a roadblock and Avril skipping workouts rather than sign his $10.6 million franchise tender for 2012.
As with Brees, the two teams have until July to work out a long-term deal. And much like with Brees, the Lions don't seem to be overly concerned about Avril's situation—at least if the comments recently made by Detroit team president Tom Lewand to the Free Press are any indication.
"We've had conversations and we continue to have dialogue," Lewand said. "We'll leave the dialogue open. I talked to (Avril's agent) Brian (Mackler) recently, and we have an ongoing dialogue. We've said all along, we'd like Cliff to be here. We've made some very substantial offers to him. We haven't been able to work a deal out.
"We'll continue to talk with an eye toward getting something done, but if he's here on a one-year deal, then he'll be like many of the other guys that we had this year, the Stephen Tulloch's and Jeff Backus' of the world."