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Andre Johnson Back at OTAs, but Should His Bad Contract Be Texans' Problem?

HOUSTON - DECEMBER 13:  Wide receiver Andre Johnson #80 of the Houston Texans looks on during pre-game warmups before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Reliant Stadium on December 13, 2009 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images
Brett StephenAnalyst IIMay 20, 2010

As Andre Johnson rejoins his team at OTAs, tension still remains between the star wide receiver and Houston Texans ownership over his contract.

There are two sides to every story, and this is no exception.

In the NFL, a league where each play can literally be a player’s last, players in their prime must ensure that they make as much money as possible to secure their future financially.

Johnson is obviously an elite player, arguably the best or second best wide receiver in the game today.

His contract does not pay him what he is currently worth, but should the Texans be responsible for renegotiating a contract that both parties agreed to?

This topic is debated almost every offseason when inevitably an elite player feels that he is not being paid what he (or more importantly, his agent) believes he is worth.

So should NFL teams renegotiate with players that are unhappy with their current contracts?

My first answer is NO.

However, I do understand that there are many players that come into the league as relative unknowns and thus have to sign contracts that they eventually outplay (Chris Johnson, for example).

In my opinion, situations like this should never become an issue because teams should recognize and reward players that exceed expectations without ever having it come to a forcing of their hand by way of a player holdout.

Then there is the situation in which an already elite player pushes for a long-term deal (as is the case with Johnson) and then realizes that it was a bad contract.

Why players want long-term deals is beyond me.

In the NFL, guaranteed money is all that really counts.

A player can be cut at any time, and the team is not responsible for paying any non-guaranteed money remaining on the contract.

So if I’m an elite player in the NFL, I’m never signing more than a two-year deal.

I would want the opportunity to renegotiate at current market value as often as possible.

If a player’s production goes down, or if he is injured, the team is going to cut him anyway, so why try to value yourself five to seven years into the future?

From an NFL team point of view, why should they renegotiate a contract that both sides agreed upon?

If the player gets hurt, is he willing to give back some of his guaranteed money?

Of course not.

So why should the team pay more than what they agreed upon?

As with Anquan Boldin, Johnson is at the team’s mercy from here until the end of his contract.

Yes, he can sit out of OTAs and training camp, but when he starts getting money taken out of his pocket for missing mandatory team practices, he’ll show up.

Fortunately for Texans fans, Johnson has reported back to OTAs and seems to be willing to work professionally with the team to get this deal restructured.

The Texans also seem very willing to restructure the deal to keep their star happy.

So there are two sides to the debate.

There is the player side that says that the player needs to get what he can, when he can.

Then there is the team side that feels that it shouldn’t be punished because the player signed a contract that ultimately worked out better for the team.

My opinion is that the player signs a contract and should be held to it.

If you think you’re going to be a productive player and your value will go up, then either put incentives into the contract or push for a shorter-term deal and renegotiate when it’s completed.

The NFL is the only business in which this ridiculous practice exists.

Owners and general managers need to start holding these guys accountable for their decisions.

Please let me know what you think below and follow me on Twitter.

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