Yes Steven Jackson, I’m pointing my finger at you and everyone like you. It is because of people like you (or your agent) that the NFL is earning the “overpaid crybaby” label that the NBA currently wears like a crown of pride. The NFL is a business, which everyone is blatantly aware of, and there is some coldness to that logic.
But it still must be understood. Yes, I understand you are basically on a one-year contract in the NFL and you have to get it while it’s there. They have no obligation to you after they give you your signing bonus, so why do you owe them this steadfast allegiance?
They own the team, and therefore own you as a player. It is unfair, but it is what it is. Are you worth more than what you are making on your rookie contract? Yes you are. But should you be making the same amount of money as LaDainian Tomlinson? Not yet.
You, Steven Jackson, are one of the five best backs in the NFL; had you tried to hold out after your breakout 2006 season, I would understand more. But last year you were in and out of the lineup with injuries, and you showed that you couldn’t carry the team on your back alone.
To be fair, no one can carry a whole team. But the Rams are going to be a weak team with you, and a weak team without you. But whether you deserve a new contract or not is not my biggest problem. Clearly you do. Maybe you don’t deserve as much a contract as you are asking for, but you do deserve more. Not even the Rams disagree with that.
But you are going about it the wrong way. Sitting out and pouting in a corner like a child who has been told, “NO” not only makes you look bad in the eyes of your teammates, it makes you look bad to your fans as well. If you want a model for how to get more money on your contract, give Brian Westbrook a call.
By the way, he is better than you, and he settled for less than you are asking (he signed for around $7 million per year. Word is, you want $8 million). However, did you catch that he was a consummate professional during the whole thing? Did he skip practice or training camp? Did he miss any preseason games? No he did not.
He went along like a grown up and went to training camp like a man. And he got his money. Now, maybe last year gave you a sense of your mortality as a player in the NFL. Getting hurt is no joke, considering how cold the NFL can be. We all know the franchise tag is downright heinous.
But, please, get your agent out of your ear and handle the situation like the grown man you are. The Rams have said they won’t talk contract with you while you are absent. You are getting fined for every day you miss. Do the right thing. Get to work, and let the old guys get your contract situation settled. That is all.