It's almost time for the NFL season to begin, but don't get too excited just yet. Now that the lockout is finally over, some players are contemplating further drama by holding out for new deals.
Today we'll look at the top players renegotiating contracts and speculate asking prices for each one if a deal cannot be reached.
Because money rules the roost in the NFL, there will always be the inevitable standoffs between greedy players and stingy franchises. Sometimes the player is being ridiculous, but other times he is completely deserving of more money.
Such is the case with Chris Johnson, who is one of the top running backs in the NFL but is grossly underpaid by the Tennessee Titans.
Needless to say, if a deal between Johnson and the Titans is somehow not reached and he is put on the trading block, interested parties would have to pay an enormous price to obtain the speedster's services.
Including Johnson, here are speculative trade values of seven NFL stars who may hold out or are currently holding out for a new contract.
Source: ESPN Insider, NFL.com
Gore has missed just 12 games in his seven year career, but it seems like it's been a lot more than that. He missed the most games of his career last season, marking the development of a disturbing trend. On top of that, Gore always seems to be banged up, even when he is on the field.
If the former Miami Hurricane could shake the injury bug, though, he would thoroughly deserve to be paid like a top NFL back.
New head coach Jim Harbaugh has stated that Gore will end his holdout and report to training camp, but until there is a new agreement in writing, Gore could always change his mind.
At any rate, if Gore and the 'Niners can't reach an agreement, the asking price for his services would likely be a first-round and late-round pick.
The scuffle between Osi Umenyiora and the New York Giants has apparently not changed, according to Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News, but ESPN Insider reports they are at least trying to get a deal done.
Still, if they can't get something agreeable on the table, chances are the Giants will cut their losses and trade Umenyiora away.
The Troy product was a beast in 2010, racking up 48 tackles, 11.5 sacks and an unbelievable 10 forced fumbles. But with the re-signing of Mathias Kiwanuka and the emergence of super-athlete Jason Pierre-Paul, New York may find Umenyiora to be expendable if he wants too much money.
If that happens, the Giants will probably be able to acquire a second- and fourth-rounder for a player nearing the end of his prime.
Although Cortland Finnegan has apologized for abruptly leaving the Tennessee Titans' training camp, that doesn't change the fact that the controversial cornerback is frustrated with not getting a restructured contract.
One would wonder why, considering he is not among the elite cornerbacks in the NFL and is still set to receive $3.3 million in the last year of his current contract. Finnegan is still a very good player, though, and apparently wants to be re-signed for the long term.
Regardless, Finnegan has never been one to hide his emotions, and if things heat back up between him and his bosses, the organization may become tired of his antics and stick him on the trading block.
The Titans could probably get fourth- and fifth-round picks for Finnegan, or perhaps third- and sixth-rounders.
According to ESPN Insider, however, Forte has also stated that if he does not get a new deal, he will sit out of preseason games.
That doesn't seem like much of a threat, but if the Bears didn't make due on their word for some reason, this could end up dragging out into the season and ultimately result in Forte and Chicago parting ways.
Unlikely? Absolutely. Impossible? No. If that were to happen, Chicago would most likely be able to get something along the lines of a second- and third-round pick for the 1,000+ yard rusher.
ESPN Insider reports numerous rumors suggesting Peterson might hold out if the Vikings don't re-sign him to a long-term deal.
This is all more speculation than anything, but I could see this situation spiraling out of hand very quickly if Minnesota doesn't respond to any demands Peterson may have. With a down season on the way and the former Sooner swiftly moving towards the end of his prime years, a contract dispute may be just enough to push Peterson and the Vikes apart.
Okay, so let's get real—Minnesota couldn't possibly let that happen. But if it did, you can bet the Vikings would try to get 2012 first- and third-round picks and a 2013 first-rounder for the NFL's supreme running back.
Chris Johnson may be the most deserving holdout in this year's small crop.
Although the ECU product has rushed for an incredible 4,598 yards and 34 touchdowns on a 5.0 yards-per-carry average in just three seasons, the Tennessee Titans owe him between just $600,000 and $1.6 million based on his current contract.
When you look at his elite production and compare his pay to other top backs, that is simply unacceptable. And seeing as how DeAngelo Williams just received a five-year, $43 million contract from the Carolina Panthers, it's no wonder Johnson is holding out.
At any rate, a deal will almost assuredly get done here.
But if, for some reason beyond rational thought, the Titans cannot come to terms with their superstar, they'd likely be able to trade him for 2012 first- and third- or fourth-round picks and a 2013 first- or second-round pick, very similar to the value of Adrian Peterson.
Larry Fitzgerald is the third and final player on this list who isn't a holdout, but since he is currently negotiating a new contract with the Arizona Cardinals according to ESPN Insider and has become impatient with the team, he qualifies.
The Cardinals are walking on thin ice with Fitzgerald. They did just about all they could have done to satisfy their stud receiver, but there's still a possibility Fitzgerald will be unhappy.
If Arizona doesn't give Fitz a very attractive new deal and the Cardinals struggle yet again in 2011, he'll likely want out. The former Pittsburgh Panther has collected 8,204 yards and 65 touchdowns in an Arizona uniform, but going into his eighth year, he'll be getting more antsy about earning that particular ring that eluded him back in February of 2009.
This is another unlikely scenario, but if the Cards aren't careful, they may find themselves accepting 2012 first- and fourth-round picks and a 2013 second-round pick for the elite receiver.