Setting the Odds for the Most Likely NFL Holdouts

Old AccountSenior Writer IFebruary 15, 2013

Setting the Odds for the Most Likely NFL Holdouts

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    Two weeks into the 2013 NFL offseason, and the drama surrounding potential star holdouts has already begun. As free agency is less than a month away, teams will begin making crucial decisions that could affect their salary cap beyond this year.

    There are bound to be holdouts among some of the elite players in the league, but it won't be as common as in years past. Not only is there a weak group of players seeking new deals, but the new regulations in the CBA prevent young stars such as Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson to hold out for better deals.

    Who are potential marquee players that could holdout this offseason in order to receive lucrative deals? Here are the odds for those potential lockouts occurring.

7. Sean Weatherspoon

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    While there has been no speculation over a potential Sean Weatherspoon holdout, the Falcons linebacker could be the one defensive player that seeks a new deal from his team.

    With his leadership, he's emerged as a veteran leader on this defense, and ultimately the stats backing up his case for a better payday.

    After a disappointing rookie year due to injuries, Weatherspoon has accumulated 210 tackles in the last two seasons (19 games played). He's proven his worth on a defense that could part ways with some of its valuable assets.

    His presence on the Falcons defense speaks for itself. Will it lead to a big new payday? It's difficult to envision that, especially with the Matt Ryan deal lurking. Nonetheless, the third-year product could be cashing in this offseason.



    Odds: 800 to 1

6. Malcom Floyd

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    Malcolm Floyd continued to provide for the Chargers last season. With five touchdowns and 814 receiving yards, Floyd was effective in the 14 games he suited up for in a San Diego uniform.

    Could Floyd potentially look for a new deal after having arguably his best season in a Chargers uniform?

    With the offensive talent surrounding Philip Rivers in question to begin with, Floyd could take advantage of becoming the only reliable wide receiver in the offense.

    It's worth noting that Floyd isn't the most durable receiver in the league, and could wish to raise his own price in order to make some money down the line.

    There are always holdouts that franchises can't predict, and this veteran wide receiver could potentially surprise the Chargers in the next few months.



    Odds: 700 to 1

5. Matt Ryan

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    Matt Ryan came up one game winning drive short of appearing in his first career Super Bowl. Though, that won't stop him from earning a brand new deal that is expected to make him one of the higher paid quarterbacks in the league.

    The leverage is there for Ryan, who took over a franchise that had no signs of hope after the Michael Vick era. He's led the Falcons to dominance in the regular season, including two finishes as the best seed in the NFC.

    It would be quite a surprise if the Falcons didn't secure Ryan in the coming months, but we can speculate that there will certainly be a debate during the negotiations of Ryan's deal. 

    Does he want as much money that Joe Flacco will command? It's very possible. But unlike Ryan, Flacco won on the biggest stage and earned his first Super Bowl ring. Ryan doesn't have that.

    No one should rule out a holdout in its entirety just yet. Ryan will look for a big pay day, and I don't expect the Falcons to make it that easy at the negotiation table.



    Odds: 400 to 1

4. Hakeem Nicks

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    Hakeem Nicks is going to be the main priority for the Giants, who have plenty of work to do this offseason to get this team back at a championship level.

    Nicks has been the most reliable receiver when on the football field, but his durability has to be a concern for the Giants heading into these negotiations.

    The former first-round pick will demand a high raise, especially at age 25 and in the prime of his career.

    Yet, his injury history is concerning. He has not played an entire 16 game season since entering the NFL.

    New York is in quite a tough situation here. Not only do they face the risk of paying a lot of money to an injury prone receiver, but eventually the negotiations with Victor Cruz could become that much tougher.

    Nothing is guaranteed in the NFL. The Giants have never jumped the gun in negotiations before, and I don't expect that will happen this time around.



    Odds: 300 to 1

3. Victor Cruz

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    Victor Cruz is in line for a big pay day after his first quality seasons in the NFL. But that doesn't necessarily mean it will translate to an expensive multi-year deal at the moment.

    Regardless of his consistency, Cruz isn't valued as the most coveted receiver on the roster. That belongs to Hakeem Nicks, who many believe impacts Cruz's game due to his presence on the field.

    With John Mara noting how Cruz is asking too much money, it appears that the second-year receiver hasn't ruled out a potential holdout if a deal doesn't get done.

    Cruz was essential in the Giants' run to another championship in 2011, proving to be one half of a lethal passing attack that was one of the best in football.

    However, with the cap space providing challenges for every NFL team, teams need to take caution in agreeing to multiple expensive contract extensions.

    Ultimately, the Giants covet Nicks more than Cruz. The idea of a holdout should not be overlooked.



    Odds: 100 to 1

2. Joe Flacco

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    Joe Flacco has proven his worth to the Baltimore Ravens by leading them to their second title in franchise history. And after the historic postseason success Flacco found this season, the negotiations will be one of the bigger storylines of the offseason.

    It's quite simple. Flacco's agent Joe Linta believes his client is the best quarterback in the league and deserves to be paid in such a manner.

    Yet general manager Ozzie Newsome did not base his offer on the Super Bowl run, and is instead looking over the entire body of work. With that idea in mind, one could speculate that the Ravens are prepared to offer Flacco a contract that resembles Eli Manning, and not Drew Brees.

    If Flacco doesn't earn the contract he wants, a lockout cannot be ruled out. Money talks, and more importantly, the agents representing players are a very big influence.

    He's set to become one of the higher paid quarterbacks in the league, but it remains to be seen if the Ravens will offer him the record-breaking deal that he seeks.



    Odds: 75 to 1

1. Percy Harvin

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    The Percy Harvin contract saga is much clearer. He's made it known that he will hold out if the Vikings don't make him one of the higher paid receivers in the league.

    When on the field, Harvin is a threat in all facets of a game, and has leverage because of the impact he has made on Minnesota as a whole.

    There appears to be tension between both sides, leaving the possibility that Harvin could be traded.

    If that's the case, the team that acquires him should expect to sign him to a deal right away. Harvin could easily holdout for any team, especially due to having an injury history. There's no reason to risk another year while playing at a cheap price under his rookie contract.

    Unless Harvin gets his money, it's a foregone conclusion that he will use this offseason to sign an expensive contract with a team that can use his talents.



    Matt Miselis is a veteran NFL Featured Columnist for BleacherReport. Follow him on twitter @MattMiselisNFL