As NFL teams start their training camps, top players use this opportunity to examine their contract situations.
Considering how short a career is for a typical football player, it makes sense for the athletes to maximize their value to get as much money as they can. This is especially true for the biggest stars coming off of career seasons.
Everyone seems to have different methods for the process, ranging from in-person negotiations to complete training camp holdouts. No matter what the strategy, they all want to be as successful as Jamaal Charles, who was quickly able to agree to an extension with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Here is a look at a few more players looking to increase their salaries, although not all of them will necessarily be successful.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Over the past few years, Marshawn Lynch has been the workhorse in Seattle. He has averaged over 300 carries in the past three seasons, totaling at least 1,200 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns each year.
Only LeSean McCoy had more rushing attempts in 2013, as Lynch remained the best offensive force on the Super Bowl champions.
Although this seems like a good time to try to extend his contract, the Seahawks are apparently not going to give in to his recent holdout, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com:
The #Seahawks learned in the last few days that Marshawn Lynch would hold out for camp. And no, they still don’t plan on paying him.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 24, 2014
Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap points out that Lynch does not deserve a new deal quite like Charles, because Lynch is already well compensated as one of the highest-paid running backs in the league.
Additionally, Seattle is prepared in case it loses its starting running back. Robert Turbin has been a quality backup, while Christine Michael has the potential to be a star down the line. Brad Evans of Yahoo Sports reports Michael was set to take over the job before long anyway:
News of Lynch's holdout adds more fuel to Michael fire. Could get ugly. Insiders claim Beast Mode will be cut loose after '14. Be leery.— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) July 24, 2014
As a result, there is no reason for the Seahawks to pay extra money for a 28-year-old running back who is likely heading toward the end of his career. With many other young players on the roster for the team to sign, this does not look like it will end well for Lynch.
Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers
After a fantastic season with the Green Bay Packers, Jordy Nelson is looking for a significant raise, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com:
Demovsky also quotes Nelson in explaining how he left money on the table on his last contract (three-year, $12.6 million):
When I signed it, I don't think I did. I think everyone, when I signed, thought it was a good deal. No one would have known I'd have 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns [in 2011]. Obviously, hindsight is 20/20 but, again, I'm not worried about that at all. I've been comfortable with my decision.
Obviously, Nelson has broken out of his shell since then with a few big years. Last season, the former second-round pick posted career highs with 85 catches and 1,314 receiving yards, which was an impressive mark considering Aaron Rodgers missed a significant portion of the year.
While other receivers like Greg Jennings and James Jones were quickly replaced, Nelson has clearly separated himself as one of the top players in the league at his position.
Joel Corry of the National Football Post notes that past Packers negotiations make Nelson's demands reasonable:
No surprise on Jordy Nelson's $10M per year contract demands. Green Bay offered Greg Jennings $8M per year before he signed with Minnesota.— Joel Corry (@corryjoel) July 24, 2014
At 29 years old, Nelson is still in his prime and has clearly earned the trust of Rodgers. If Green Bay wants to bring home another Super Bowl, it might be smart to pay the receiver his demands.
Ndamukong Suh, DT, Detroit Lions
Unlike the first two situations on this list, the Detroit Lions desperately want to negotiate a new contract with Ndamukong Suh. Unfortunately, this seems unlikely to get completed, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen:
Lions are not optimistic about signing Ndamukong Suh to a new contract. He enters camp counting 22,412,500 against sal cap.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) July 24, 2014
If Lions can't get Suh signed, his franchise tender would be $26.7 million in 2015 - or he becomes a unrestricted free agent in his prime— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) July 24, 2014
Neither alternative would be a good thing for the Lions. Either they would fill the salary cap to a point where they cannot afford anyone else, or they would be forced to let Suh walk after next season.
Considering the defensive tackle has been in the league four seasons and has already made three Pro Bowls and two All-Pro first teams, letting him go would be a mistake. He is also a big reason the team ranked sixth in the NFL in rushing yards allowed in 2013.
However, the problem for Suh is that he was able to join the league before rookie salary caps. This was a good thing for him the first time, but he should not expect to make this much again, as noted by Pete Damilatis of Pro Football Focus:
Regardless of how good they are, Ndamukong Suh & Gerald McCoy's next contracts won't match their ridiculous rookie deals.— Pete Damilatis (@PFF_Pete) July 24, 2014
This is going to lead to some very separated negotiations, which could likely lead to the defensive tackle eventually becoming a free agent. Fortunately, Suh is likely to become a very wanted man if he does hit the open market.
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