NFL: Chris Johnson and the Problem with NFL Contracts

Troy BinghamContributor IIIAugust 24, 2011

I've heard it said that NFL players exist in a disposable culture.  The average length of an NFL career is roughly 3.3 years. 

That being said, I have found that most people are against players such as Chris Johnson holding out of camp and pursuing a more lucrative contract.  He has been labeled as greedy and self serving.

His original contract was estimated to be a five year deal worth a total of $6,885,000, which by my standards is pretty phenomenal.  I believe that's where the disconnect from the fans of the game takes place. 

We look at the money NFL players make, compare it to our own salary and wonder what in the world they have to complain about.  Would I be happy with a multi-million dollar contract, especially in this economy?  No doubt about it.

The NFL is a business first and foremost with owners and players trying to make as much money as possible.  So why is it that the players are labeled as the greedy ones in situations like these?  Does the owner need to share the blame?

The problem is that in the NFL, contracts are not guaranteed.  At any given time, a player can be released and then not paid the remainder of his contract.  Salary cap restraints, injuries and roster cuts are all reasons that a franchise can terminate a player's contract in the blink of an eye.

So if a player's job is not guaranteed, why would they worry about signing another contract that can later not be honored by the respective team?  The answer is simple.  It's the guaranteed money.

Chris Johnson is not holding out because he wants the Tennessee Titans to promise him that he will have a job with them in five years.  He's not expecting the entire length of this contract to be honored.

What he is looking for is the guaranteed money.  While the entire contract as a whole does not have to be honored, the guaranteed money portion of the contract does.  For example take the recently signed Larry Fitzgerald contract.  The deal was for eight years at $120 million.  If he was cut today, how much would he get?  If he didn't play another down of football for the Arizona Cardinals he would make roughly $50 million dollars since that was the amount guaranteed to him.

Chris Johnson wants a new deal to cash in with as much guaranteed money as possible.  He is looking for the ultimate financial security that can only come from signing a new deal.  

So which side of the fence are you on?  Do you agree with the owner who feels that if the player signed a contract, they should honor it to the end?  Do you side with the player and agree with them holding out or causing a locker room disruption until a new contract can be reached? 

Thanks for reading. Vote in the poll or leave me a comment letting me know which side you are on.  As always, God bless!