Predicting the Outcome for These 10 NFL Players That Sat out of Minicamp
Drew Brees isn't happy with the New Orleans Saints. He has said he will not sign the franchise tender the team offered him, and they haven't offered him the long-term deal he wants.
To show his displeasure, Brees sat out of team OTAs and mandatory minicamp. But he's just one of 10 star players in the NFL who have decided to forgo these spring activities for one reason or another—most of them contract-related.
So where do these stars go from here?
Will those who don't want to sign their franchise tenders get the long-term deals they desire before the July 16 deadline ends their chances?
Will those who want to renegotiate their contracts end up getting what they desire, or will they continue to hold out into training camp?
I will answer these questions and more as I predict the outcome for each star player who held out of minicamps this month.
Chris Clemons, Seattle Seahawks
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Chris Clemons will get the long-term deal he wants.
Right now, Clemons and the Seahawks are in the middle of contract negotiations to extend his current deal. He's scheduled to make $4.5 million this year, but after posting 11 sacks in each of his last two seasons, Clemons has outplayed that contract.
He knows it and the Seahawks know it, and now the game of cat and mouse begins as the two sides attempt to get the most out of one another.
Sports Xchange's Len Pasquarelli reported that the Seahawks offered Clemons a three-year, $18 million extension that would pay him $8 million the first year. The second year would be for $4.5 million and the third year would be for $5.5 million.
Pasquarelli also reported that Clemons turned the deal down, but a report from Eric Williams of The News Tribune the next day repudiates that claim. Apparently, the club hasn't received a formal rejection offer and is hopeful they can work out a deal.
In the end, the Seahawks will up their offer and Clemons will show up for camp. He's too valuable to the success of their defense, and I don't see the front office allowing this to linger into training camp.
Cliff Avril, Detroit Lions
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Cliff Avril will be with the Lions in training camp, with or without a long-term deal.
Avril is too valuable to the success of the Lions defense not to give him a long-term contract. He's only 26 years old, and in his four years as a pro, Avril has improved every year.
General manager Martin Mayhew isn't worried about this becoming a big issue, according to the Detroit Free Press, and neither is Avril.
He talked to NFL.com about his contract situation, which Mayhew called, "a very complicated deal," according to the Detroit Free Press report: "If they're going to give me a deal, we'll eventually get it. If not, I'll have to unfortunately play under the tag and be in the same situation again next year."
When asked about whether he'd be in camp, Avril replied, "I don't know. I really don't know. The deadline for me right now is July 16, that's the last chance we have to get a deal done, and I'm anticipating getting a deal done before then. We'll see."
That doesn't sound like a man who is willing to put his career on hold for a long-term contract, nor should he. Avril can make his case for a long-term deal stronger this year if he does end up coming back and playing under the franchise tag by continuing his dominant play.
Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs
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Dwayne Bowe will sign the franchise offer after the July 16 deadline and play out the season for the Kansas City Chiefs.
From what I can tell, the Chiefs aren't convinced Bowe is worth signing to a big, long-term contract. They haven't offered him any deal except the $9.4 million franchise tender.
In five seasons as a pro, Bowe has gone through ups and downs that have proven to be problematic for the Chiefs when determining whether he's worth a big contract.
The Kansas City Star's Ken Babb recently talked to "several people around the Chiefs organization" about this very thing:
They admitted they just had no idea which Bowe would arrive at the practice facility, and that unknown is dangerous considering such a financial leap of faith. If the Chiefs extend Bowe and he flops, it’ll put Pioli in a pinch when left tackle Branden Albert and defensive end Glenn Dorsey have expiring contracts.
It's obvious that the Chiefs aren't going to budge here, and Bowe would be foolish to turn down the money. He'll sign the franchise tender and either prove he's worth a big contract by having a huge season, or he'll flop.
Dashon Goldson, San Francisco 49ers
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Dashon Goldson will sign the franchise offer and play out the season for the San Francisco 49ers.
Goldson has the ability to make game-changing plays. His six interceptions and one forced fumble last year are proof of that. That said, he's a terribly inconsistent player who finds himself out of position more often than not.
If he weren't playing on the league's best defense, Goldson would stick out like a sore thumb. If you don't believe me, then check out this brilliant article posted by Ben Stockwell of ProFootballFocus.com.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com has reported that the 49ers and Goldson are in negotiations for a long-term deal, and he thinks the five-year, $35 million contract Michael Griffin received from the Tennessee Titans is one they could base their deal on.
I don't believe they will pay him that kind of money, though.
He will realize soon enough that the 49ers aren't going to give him the mega-deal he wants, and then he'll grudgingly sign the franchise tag and show up for training camp.
Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
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Matt Forte will get the long-term deal he wants.
He deserves it, too.
Forte has made it known to the Bears organization that he means business.
In a recent interview, Forte went so far as to say, "Not playing at all? That actually is an option, but there's a slight chance of that happening. There's another option of not being in camp and that stuff. There's two sides to it," according to ESPNChicago.com.
The two sides are talking, according to Forte, via the Chicago Sun-Times, and in the end, he will get paid the money he deserves.
Ed Reed, Baltimore Ravens
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Ed Reed will be back with the Baltimore Ravens at the start of training camp.
Nobody knows what goes on in the mind or Reed except for Reed. There haven't been any reports about why he missed his team's mandatory minicamp, but this is standard springtime behavior for the man I like to call, "The Shadow."
He's the best in the league at what he does—intercept passes when his team needs him the most.
Reed will be roaming center field once again for the Ravens in 2012. Of that I'm sure.
Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
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Ray Rice will sign franchise tender after July 16 deadline.
There were contradictory reports in May coming from NFL Network's Jason La Canfora and ESPN's Adam Schefter regarding whether the two sides were making progress on a long-term deal that would be sewn up before the July 16 deadline.
Mighty Mouse is in a tough spot here, as the Baltimore Ravens reportedly have the least amount of cap space available, at $606,000, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com.
That makes signing Rice to a long-term contract a difficult proposition. In the end, though, Rice will end up accepting the $7.7 million franchise offer and wait another year for his big payday.
Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers
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Mike Wallace will grudgingly sign his $2.7 million tender after the two sides fail to come to an agreement on a long-term deal.
Wallace is in a similar position to that of Ray Rice. The Pittsburgh Steelers are only $3.58 million under the cap, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com, so they're not in a good position to offer him the kind of deal he's looking for.
That isn't going to happen.
Wallace will have to play out the 2012 season and hope he can land a big-time deal next year. That's just the way it is.
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars
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Maurice Jones-Drew will hold out of training camp, and things are going to get ugly between him and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
MJD wants to get paid. He has two years left on the deal he signed in 2009, and he's set to earn $4.45 million and $4.94 million the next two seasons.
That isn't enough for his tastes after leading the NFL in rushing in 2011, and Jones-Drew is determined to either get paid what he believes he's worth or sit out.
Per to the Florida Times-Union, "According to people with knowledge of his thinking, Jones-Drew could stay away into the regular season."
That is bad news for all parties involved, because Jaguars general manager Gene Smith has said he has no plans to renegotiate a new contract with Jones-Drew at this time.
It's hard to believe that a player would sit out an entire year, but if anyone might do it, it's Jones-Drew.
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
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Drew Brees will get the deal he wants before the July 16 deadline.
What are the New Orleans Saints without Brees? A second-rate team with no chance to make the playoffs.
Brees knows it, and the Saints organization knows it.
For reasons unknown to me, Mickey Loomis has been dragging this whole thing out longer than is appropriate under the circumstances. The franchise is in utter ruin, and the best possible thing that could happen at this point is that Brees is signed.
Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com reports that the two sides are still butting heads and that the deal could go down to the last minute.
He also says that a hearing on June 27 regarding the interpretation of franchise rules could force the two sides together "before the money swings one way or the other."
No matter how far apart the two sides may be at this point, they will come to an agreement before the July 16 deadline. If the Saints fail to do so, it could be the undoing of their entire franchise for years to come.