We all know the story by now: Darrelle Revis is holding out from Jets training camp for more money. He was actually offered $100 million, which he turned down!
Boy, I wish somebody offered me $100 million. I would never turn them down.
The problem is that's what fans use as an argument why holdouts are unfair. They think that if you sign a contract you should honour it, and in the case of Revis, $100 million sounds beyond fair.
On the other hand, there is Nick Mangold.
They did not even offer him a contract extension yet! Part of that may be due to the Revis scenario. The thing about him is he refused to skip workouts because it does not help anybody. Now people point to him and say that is what you should do because you signed a contract, now honour it.
However, as much as I respect Mangold for what he has done so far, I have to say, I think holdouts are good. The reason I say this is because of the way the CBA is currently structured, a team can just release a player and not pay him another dime, except if there is more guaranteed money owed to him. So the fans say holding out is unfair, but then nobody complains when they are released?
I am not advocating holdouts. I think they create a messy and unprofessional situation between the team and the player. However it is currently fair because if the owners have an option to not honour the contract, why not the player?
The only tweak I think should be made is it should be written in the contract you cannot hold out before x number of years. This way, just as the players get guaranteed money, the owners will get guaranteed years from these players. This restriction should keep them both in check.
For the next CBA, my recommendation would be to get rid of the holdouts, and the rights to release a player without penalty. Instead institute a rule similar to the NBA and NHL where a certain amount will count towards cap hit if you decide to buyout the player.
This has another effect: With only a certain percentage of the total money guaranteed (say two-thirds), we will not have long, drawn-out contract negotiations about how much money is guaranteed, as some amounts are ridiculously low and some are very high.
This will also help players not destroy their relationships with their clubs.