I want to conduct a little social experiment.
I want all the readers out there to walk into their bosses office and demand more money or else.
Done? Good. Now give me your job location and requirements so I can apply for your old job.
Ah, don't you wish you lived in the same world NFL players do?
You know the one were you can make any demands you want, never suffer the consequences of your arrogance and get someone to give you exactly what you want?
Let me make it clear; I like Sheldon Brown. He's a solid corner, hard-working, never missed a game and guess what? Before stories of his contract dispute broke, I wanted him to get a new deal. Not because he played particularly great last year, (only one interception for a starting corner just ain't cutting it) but because he's been dependable.
But in the nine to five world that doesn't get you a raise. It's get's you an "Attaboy" and you keep your job. So why do we expect it to be differently in the NFL?
It's true the contracts aren't guaranteed, but as long as you're consistent you can keep a job. How long has former Eagle, James Thrash been on an NFL roster?
As much as I loathe bringing stats into these kind of debates, Lito Shephard played in 19 fewer career games (93 to Brown's 112) and still had more interceptions (18 vs 14). If Lito wasn't given a new deal, what's the basis for Sheldon's supposed ultimatum? Sheldon's not the only one—this offseason has been full of disgruntled employees.
Not only do players make demands when they feel they're underpaid, but also when they don't like the team they're on. It's like a guy is saying: "Hey I know you guys are the reason I'm a millionaire as it is and you've invested a lot of time and energy into helping me develop, but you guys suck so can you trade me to a winner?"
Now guys are even wanting off a team if they feel the management and or fans aren't as in love with them as they are themselves. Braylon Edwards comes to mind: "Hey guys I know you drafted me to be a part of this organization's future but the media and everybody is getting on me too much. I need to be traded where I'll be showered with the affection I deserve."
It's these reasons that as a fan I don't want my team to pick up a Boldin, or a Gonzalez or a whoever. The attitude of a lot of these NFL players is that they're owed something by just showing up and if they aren't compensated in the way they deem fair they make their demands. Even worse is that nine times out of 10 they get someone to meet those demands.
There's a particularly funny exchange in a movie called Mr. Deeds that I always fall back on at times like this. It's between the team's starting quarterback and the new owner of the team. It goes something like this.
"I figured since I played good I could get a new contract and ya'll could pay me more money."
"If you didn't play, could we pay you less money?"
"S#^! No! I mean no."
That exchange encapsulates the lopsidedness of the typical player hold out. If you cut a guy you normally still owe them mone. If you trade them you rarely get back what they were worth to your team and if you pay them everyone else will have their hands out.
I know no one is shedding a tear for the poor billionaire who these things affect, but it affects the fans too. If it didn't, T.O. might still be an Eagle...well I guess there is a good side to it but still...
I'd love it if at the end of a year NFL teams could say, "Well (insert name) in reviewing your game footage last season, your stats do not reflect your pay, so we're gonna go ahead and reduce your salary by $700,000 next season."
That wouldn't be fair though, because a contract is a contract right?