The lockout has now extended to triple digits over the weekend and with the first preseason game scheduled for just over a month from now, time for resolution is growing short. A series of “secret” meetings between the NFL and the “decertified” NFLPA has hopes mounting, not only for fans but for unsatisfied players who have been biding their time, waiting for the lockout to end so they may be traded to greener pastures.
Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer leads the ranks of this offseason’s change-seekers with his headline grabbing claim that he will retire if Mike Brown doesn’t trade him. Palmer has gone so far as to sell his Cincinnati home, demonstrating his commitment to his statement.
Of course, Brown has made clear over the years his stance on trading players simply because they want to be elsewhere, denying the request to other marquee players who have made it in the past.
Speaking of the other marquee players, Cincinnati’s media darling soon to be turned gator wrangler Chad Ochocinco may finally get his trade wish granted, over three years since he first made it early in 2008. Besides Ochocinco’s constant showboating and his openly spiteful relationship with head coach Marvin Lewis, The Bengals also selected Georgia receiver A.J. Green with the fourth overall pick last April, further illustrating Ochocinco’s likely exodus.
New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora is listed as one of the primary plaintiffs in the players’ antitrust lawsuit against the NFL, partially because of his relationship with the Giants front office. In an affidavit to be filed as a part of the suit, Umenyiora outlines promises made and subsequently not kept by Giants general manager Jerry Reese regarding a restructuring of Umenyiora’s contract.
Umenyiora claims that Reese told him in 2008 that “two years from the start of the 2008 league year, if I was currently playing at a high level, we'd either renegotiate my current contract so that it would be equal to that of the top five defensive ends playing or I would be traded to a team that would do that.”
That time has long since passed and despite what LeSean McCoy thinks, and injuries aside, Umenyiora has upheld his end of the bargain amassing 11.5 sacks last season—good enough for seventh in the league.
With Mathias Kiwanuki potentially becoming a free agent under a new CBA and quiet defensive star Justin Tuck coming near a contract year that will pay him a modest $4 million, the Giants’ best move would be to trade Umenyiora to a team who can give him the contract he wants without upending the rest of the locker room.
Chris Johnson is a lightly paid—he’s due just $800,000 in 2011—running back on a team without a quarterback in place. The Tennessee Titans drafted Jake Locker eighth overall in April and look to let the previous franchise quarterback, Vince Young fall by the wayside as they rear Locker by way of a veteran signing and more carries for Johnson.
Johnson, who rushed for over 2,000 yards in his second season and who tops ESPN’s running back power rankings makes less than all but four players on the same list, including 10th ranked Darren McFadden who will earn over $7 million in 2011. NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora expects Johnson to stage a Revis-like hold out once the lockout out is lifted.
Steve Smith, the Panthers’ veteran and Cam Newton’s only hope for significant offensive support in his rookie season, has voiced a desire to play for a winning team. No one can deny that a career with Carolina would be taxing to any player, especially for one who is often considered a top player at his position, but is overlooked by many because of the market he plays in.
Smith, though, following the vast reports that his statement (along with him having cleaned out his locker and his family’s gameday suite) was really a demand for a trade has played it classy saying only positive things about the franchise’s direction with new coach Ron Rivera and their second rookie quarterback in as many years.
Reports have been surfacing lately that the Panthers would be willing to part with Smith and their $15 million commitment to him for as little as a third round pick.
Quarterback Vince Young’s days of being disgruntled may have ended along with the tenure of well-publicized arch enemy Jeff Fisher—except for the clear fact that Young’s position with the Titans has been outsourced permanently to a rookie with grand potential.
All this may ultimately work out for the best for Young: while he isn’t highly billed in any single offseason rumor, he’s still likely to be in a position for a fresh start once the lockout finally ends.
Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson’s contract drama is certainly not news and with him earning only $300,000 last season after missing so much time, it’s certainly not over either.
Jackson is looking for a long term contract which San Diego seems shockingly unwilling to grant despite their stated desire to keep him on the team—they’ve even taken a chance with an unrestricted franchise tag, crossing their fingers that there will be such a thing under the new CBA.
Kevin Kolb, one-time quarterback of the future for Philadelphia, found himself again in a backup role upon the resurgence of star QB Michael Vick.
Convinced that he is a starter-caliber player, Kolb has asked to be traded to a team that has need for his services. While Kolb will likely get his wish, he’ll pay the price of being a member of a perennial contender to join a far lesser squad like the Arizona Cardinals.
New Orleans Saints’ Reggie Bush has never quite lived up to his Heisman hype, thriving mainly in third down situations in the NFL. His limited production plus his bloated contract (he’s due $11.8 million in 2011—the final year in his contract) led New Orleans to draft another Heisman winning running back Mark Ingram in the first round of this year’s draft.
This apparently caught Bush by surprise and prompted him to tweet scornfully, “It’s been fun New Orleans” upon hearing the news.
If that doesn’t spell disgruntled, the pay cut that would be necessary in order for New Orleans to keep him on their roster certainly would get him there.
Albert Haynesworth has been unhappy with the Redskins since Mike Shanahan came in and switched to a 3-4 defense causing him to boycott OTAs last offseason. The spat culminated last December with Haynesworth being suspended for the final four games of the season without pay for “conduct detrimental to the team” and it seems violently clear that Haynesworth and his bad attitude will be dealt before the season begins.