Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

27 Jun 2005

MMQB: Law Lingers

Peter King on the biggest free agent left -- and the biggest free agent question -- Ty Law. Best corner in football, hobbled has-been, or something in between? Peter also believes the Eagles will consider dealing T.O., and that Nick Saban wants Ricky Williams back as trade bait. I really hope no team is dumb enough to deal a late-second or early-third round pick for Williams, which is what King suggests is Saban's goal.

This is the last MMQB before a three-week hiatus, so please can we not have the usual discussion full of comments from people who don't like Peter King about how they don't like Peter King, and instead talk about what is actually written in this column? If you don't like Peter King, we don't care. Let's talk about Ty Law, OK?

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 27 Jun 2005

137 comments, Last at 02 Jul 2005, 10:17am by malene, cph, dk

Comments

1
by Led (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 2:39pm

Is it me, or do Law's comments smell a little bit of desperation? I think he's going to have to accept either a one year deal for decent money and play for one last big contract, or a long-term deal that's heavily backloaded, and he knows it.

Wouldn't you think Law's current weight would be a useful piece of information to put in the story, particularly after raising it as an issue?

2
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 2:41pm

I'd be surprised if Law gets the kind of situation he wants. He was injured during the 2003 season (only missed one game, but hobbled in several games), spent the majority of last season injured, and still isn't back to 100%. What contender wants to tie themselves (via a long-term contract with a large bonus) to a player who has that kind of injury history?

3
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 2:41pm

"Worried about the youth of America? Come see the Bears this summer. Then you won't be worried."

Sure they're 10 years old and serverly sunburnt and already hooked on Starbucks but, ummm, they really like softball?

4
by MDS (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 2:42pm

Actually, I really liked the way he opened with Ty Law, who is the most interesting of the players currently not signed. I wouldn't offer Law more than about $1 million for a one-year deal, though. He's old, he's hurt, he's overweight. He was great in 2003 but I don't think he's the same player anymore.

By the way, Peter should not be telling under-10-year-old girls with swollen eyes and bright red faces to go back out and play in 97-degree heat. I say this not to criticize Peter (anyone who volunteers to coach kids, especially when the kids aren't his own, deserves praise) but because I was badly sunburned one day when I was a kid and my doctor told me that that one day significantly increases the chances that I'll get skin cancer some day.

5
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 2:48pm

For Law, I think in a few weeks he'll take the 2.5 Mill offer from Indy and play with them for a year.

6
by Led (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 2:53pm

MDS: But is Law still overweight? King certainly leads us to believe that, but he never actually says anything about his current weight. That makes me suspicious.

7
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 3:02pm

I'm pretty sure King didn't tell us, because Law didn't tell him. Law's a pretty smart guy, he wouldn't tell a reporter that kind of obvious problem. And King's a pretty smart guy, so he implied like heck that Law was overweight without actually writing it out.

8
by KR (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 3:16pm

"As we enter the real offseason (when only hard-liners like Tom Brady will be working out at facilities now -- and I'm not kidding about that one)"

He sure does have a thing for brady.

9
by Led (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 3:21pm

Did King ask his current weight? If he did, and Law didn't tell him, that's definitely news. Why not report it? If he didn't even ask, that's crappy journalism. But not asking and "implying like heck" that Law is currently overweight is unfair to Law.

10
by Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 3:35pm

The last time Owens got traded, it was for an injured backup DE and a 5th round pick. I doubt the Eagles would accept a similar deal. Plus, who is going to pay his (exorbitant) price for a 31-year-old WR whose proven himself an ass in two cities? He has no fan support and there is no pressure on the team to make a move. If T.O. plays this year it will be for the Eagles. And, I think that, until he plays or the Birds deal him, he still owes the Eagles his 2005 contract year, no matter when he decides to end his holdout.

11
by Adam H. (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 4:13pm

I agree on Owens. His only logical choice is to play. He could pull a Joey Galloway and hold out for most of the season and still get his money, but that would only hurt his chances for landing a big money deal from anyone. The sad part is that I really believe if he hadn't switched agents the Eagles probably would have moved some money around for him and made his deal a little more player friendly. I guess Rosenhaus's kids need braces or something that he's willing to destroy relations with half the league just to get his 3% right now.

12
by Keith Cockrell (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 4:14pm

Guys, relax. T.O. is gonna play, and play for the Eagles. As a Cowboys fan I wish it wasn't true, but it is. He tried the hold-out card, but it hasn't worked out. Rosenhaus is sharp and has already set the stage for getting T.O. back in the line-up I've LOVED the controversy, but he's coming back.

13
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 4:21pm

B #5

Have you read/heard the Colts made that offer, or is it your conjecture?

14
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 4:25pm

Quoted from Law in the article:
"Indianapolis is in it. I got an offer, sight unseen for $2.5 million for one year."
I interpreted that as an offer from Indy, but in the context of the quote, it's unclear if Indy was the team who made the offer or not.

15
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 4:27pm

Regardless of which team it came from (and if it actually exists...I think he's been coached by Carl Poison to say so), if that team has a chance to win, I think he'd be a fool not to take it.

16
by Vern (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 5:00pm

I'm surprised he did not raise Law in the context of players renegotiating deals. Law is the poster child for "take the deal they offer you" in that the deal the Pats offered him last year offseason was far better than anything he'll get now. At the time, he called it a "slap in the face". Even if the Pats had cut him this year, he'd have got more money out of the signing bonus in that deal than he'll ever see now. It's a shame. I hope he still can cash in somewhere.

Speaking of which, I like how he is up front about his motivations to make more. So many players feel a need to take a shot at their team or claiming a lack of "respect". I don't begrudge a guy who's decided he wants to chase money, just be honest about it.

17
by bsr (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 5:01pm

I don't think it is in Law's best interests to play in a dome on astro turf. Not only because of his ankle, but I also don't think it suits his style of play.

18
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 5:14pm

Is it just my imagination or are the Dolphins really in a no-win situation with Ricky Williams? If they cut/release him, I think he gets off the hook for a bunch (all?) of the signing bonus that he owes them. And the Dolphins get hit with a big salary cap hit. If he's on the roster, he's a big distraction and eats up a big portion of their salary cap.

Is their only hope that he quits again when camp gets underway?

19
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 5:42pm

mabrew: my impression with the Dolphins/Ricky situation is Ricky doesn't want to play, and the Dolphins don't want to play him, but if Ricky quits, he forfeits the money, and if the Dolphins cut him, they forfeit the money. So now both sides are waiting for the other side to blink. My guess is he'll end up riding the pine for the dolphins for a year, as part of the 53 man roster but never suited up for a game.

20
by year of the dolphin (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 5:57pm

i would say law is nuts to think he's gonna get that money now but ricky williams is back with the dolphins so anything can happen.
i'll disagree with B about the ricky williams thing - it can't get any worse than last year for the dolphins, and if ricky comes back in game 5 and averages 5 yards a carry (a man can dream, no?) as a load sharer with ronnie brown, its good. let's not forget that this is a guy who put up two 200 yard games and another 180+ yard game in november/december a couple years ago. heck, even TO wasnt a disturbing force in the locker room in Philly for a year (or at least minimally so) - if the team is winning and ricky has something to do with it, no one in miami will care that he quit

21
by Johonny (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 6:02pm

My impression with the Dolphins/Ricky situation is Rickey will or won't come back, will or won't be in shape, will or won't make it through camp and will or won't play this season. I really think it's that clear.

22
by andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 6:06pm

Saban lost his trust in Spielman only after Spielman voiced interest in Charlie Frye? I'd think just looking at his record the past five years might've played a factor...

23
by Cory (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 6:16pm

I thought I'd read something that said that the Dolphins got a judgment against Ricky for the amount of the signing bonus, and that he owes it to them regardless. I'm sure there's something in there about showing up and not having to pay it back, but I'm doubtfull that a half-a$$ effort by Ricky to play again would mean he could keep the $8 mil.

24
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 6:46pm

"He has no fan support and there is no pressure on the team to make a move."

1. He has the top jersey in NFL sales.
2. Pressure increases if TO decides to retire, sit out a year, then return to football, which would do his body some good. He can come back as a 32-year-old WR the following season, if I recall, with a new k.

25
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 6:51pm

Pressure increases if TO decides to retire, sit out a year, then return to football, which would do his body some good. He can come back as a 32-year-old WR the following season, if I recall, with a new k

How is this different than what Ricky Williams did, though? Wouldn't this lead to the Eagles sueing for part of the signing bonus back? That'd be a $10M retirement. Kinda silly if he's holding out because of money reasons, especially because I doubt he'd get a $10M+ signing bonus from anyone else.

26
by snarf (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 7:01pm

I don't really think TO sitting out/retiring for the entire season makes any sense for him. The whole reason he wants a new contract now is because his current contract gets big next year meaning the eagles will likely cut him and/or renegotiate then. Sitting out this year TO would be

1) forfeiting this years salary and possibly part of the signing bonus.

2)raising questions about how he'll play after a year of from football in his 30s

3) Essentially be in the same position contract wise as if he had just played the season

There's a reason you don't see very many hold-outs last into the season

27
by Rufus O. Pifflepooster (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 7:08pm

"I think I can't believe Travis Henry is still a Buffalo Bill. The Bills should get a third-rounder in the 2006 draft for him from some team."

O, poor, poor MMQ. One would think he actually talked to GMs from time to time, instead of 45 minute phone conversations so replete with imagery that he can divine Law's weight.

There is NO market for Henry that allow him to exit for a third round draft pick. King is asking some GM to acquire a second-string RB for a third round draft pick AND they'll have to pay him his contracted pay.

I can't see this, especially because the Bills want to keep a RB on the shelf in case their primary back gets hurt, which is likely.

"I think the most important thing about Ricky Williams to Dolphins coach Nick Saban is what the running back can produce in the form of a trade bait."

Yes, the market for griping RBs is so good, GMs are lining up to give the Bills a third round draft pick for Travis Henry.

Can we finally admit that RBs, even very talented feature backs, are somewhat fungible, and get more so with the more carries they get?

"None of my friends watch the NBA. I wish I could get into it, but I just can't. Bores the stuffing out of me."

Yeah, game 7 of the NBA finals isn't nearly so interesting as the one-handed journalism turned in after watching Brady practicing alone in Boston.

"His was the most unique voice, in the history of sportscasting."

Cope was Cope, but Harry Carry, Dizzy Dean and Red Barber might have added something to the discussion about the most interesting voices (and personalities) in broadcasting.

Two of them were with KMOX, and Barber was a Dixie gem in New York.

Of course, baseball to MMQ is probably boring, like game 7 of the NBA finals.

"My in-laws lived there, and I can't tell you how many people in that town turned down the sound on the TV to listen to Myron."

Ironically, in Pittsburgh over the last few years that's been a bit hard to do. That's because the local affliate delayed the broadcast by a few seconds. Had one listened to the radio, one would have been ahead of the plays on TV, which is a most disturbing sort of way to watch games.

www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA181143.html?display=Top+of+the+Week

"Insightful, tough when he has to be, and a lover of the inside of the game."

King said that about Ilkin. What he conveniently forgets, of course, is that Tunch was the NFLPA rep who helped negotiate the CBA in 1993 and who would hardly have endorsed King's charges of "Milloyism" among players.

But, then again, Tunch wasn't as dreamy as Brady.

Squish, squish, squish.

28
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 7:27pm

What Pat and Snarf forget is that TO has some bargaining power with the Eagles. He certainly is the best player on the team, is a proven WR and his loss would certainly hurt the team's chances next year.

While the team might be able to spin this by saying TO is wrong (see also Dolphins and Ricky Williams) -- and certainly with a waiting list of 60,000 potential season ticket holders, they won't be losing money next year -- if they fail to even make the NFC finals next year without TO, one might suggest a reason.

As for relinquishing part of the signing bonus, Snarf, TO would be more than happy to repay it. Why? He would command more on the open market now than he was rewarded last year.

Quite frankly, he's not making the market value for his services, and the Eagles likely will cut him next year when he edges closer to his actual worth.

Last year, he earned a mere $660,000 in base and a deferred bonus of $8.5 million.

Well, what if he offered to return the $4 million or so of the pro-rated signing bonus to retire? That would call the Eagles to bargain.

The question, then, is whether he's worth an extra $4 million or so to keep happy? Or do call his bluff and let him earn nothing next year, with the expectation of getting a great deal more under shared revenues in the next CBA?

If I'm TO, I'm in a great position. I can walk away, rest my healing body for a year, and pick up a new deal with another team with a rising DGR bar the following year under the new CBA.

Or I can coax another $4 million or so out of the remaining k and dare them to let me go, in which case he will still sign for decent money, most likely with a division rival.

Because of the lack of guaranteed contracts in the NFL, usually it's not feasible for a player to push back. They take what the teams give them under the auspices of the CBA.

But for a select few players, it makes sense to fight. TO is one of those NFL athletes who is uniquely able to garner interest from a large number of teams that don't play organized football in Philadelphia.

They are willing to pay him more guaranteed money than Philadelphia will. They are willing to renegotiate his terms if the Eagles cut him or trade him. And they will hire him if he takes a year off.

Just remember that TO's signing bonus ranked 16th among NFL receivers last year. Do you really think TO and his agent believe they can't get more up front money than Rashaun Woods, Andre Johnson and Chris Chambers?

29
by malene, cph. dk (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 7:41pm

RE:
"3) Essentially be in the same position contract wise as if he had just played the season"

well, actually he'd be worse, since he'd have to suit up for six games for the season to count. he'd not only be forfeiting the salary, he'd also commence next season at the same point in his contract as he is now. This is why pats fans are mostly not overly concerned about the Seymour situation, since even if he wanted to sit out the year, he would still be 2 years from free agency. He needs to play at least 6 games both years to 'get away', and playing just 12 games in 2 years would severely damage his value, imo, and his agents probably realize that. Ok, rant over, sorry for the hi-jacking.

30
by Richie (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 8:15pm

On the NFL Channel on Sirius today, Adam Schein said something to the effect that the Oakland Raiders are going to be a run-first team with Lamont Jordan.

31
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 8:16pm

Carl:

And they will hire him if he takes a year off.

But why would he take a year off? If the Eagles don't cut him next year, then he makes more staying with them (if they don't renegotiate) than leaving. If the Eagles cut him, then why take the year off?

The only reason to retire and come back is to get yourself out of the contract, right? But the only thing TO would want is to get out of the contract this year and play for someone else, and he has no ability to do that. Part of the reason that he's complaining so much is because next year is the "likely to be cut" year.

What's the advantage to retiring and coming back? The downside is about $5M. I'm a bit confused as to how he could actually recoup that cost (in a way that he wouldn't, without playing). The only upside I can see is no risk of injury.

32
by Steve (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 9:11pm

"Pressure increases if TO decides to retire, sit out a year, then return to football, which would do his body some good. He can come back as a 32-year-old WR the following season, if I recall, with a new k."

I could be wrong, but I don't think he can do this. He would still be under contract. I seem to remember when Deion was planning on making a comeback a few yrs. ago (Raiders I think), the Redskins would have has to have effectively released him.

"While the team might be able to spin this by saying TO is wrong (see also Dolphins and Ricky Williams) – and certainly with a waiting list of 60,000 potential season ticket holders, they won’t be losing money next year – if they fail to even make the NFC finals next year without TO, one might suggest a reason."

Look, TO undoubtedly makes the Eagles a better team, but they effectively made it to the Super Bowl last year without him (and please don't tell me they wouldn't have had home field w/o him -- they had it for the last two years and the NFC was weaker than ever last year).

"As for relinquishing part of the signing bonus, Snarf, TO would be more than happy to repay it. Why? He would command more on the open market now than he was rewarded last year."

If he returns most of his signing bonus plus doesn't get paid for this year, he would have to get paid $10m more than either (a) what the Eagles were slated to pay him in 2006 or (b) what he would have made in the open market if he played for the Eagles this year and they cut him. I have my doubts.

I think the Eagles will play hardball if he doesn't comeback and let him sit out as long as he wants. They don't have to pay him, he doesn't count against the cap and each year he sits he owes them more of his signing bonus. If he really wants to get out of Philly, his best tactic is to comeback and play the malcontent role (which like his receiving skills is virtually unmatched). Of course, that probably kills his value on the free agent market. You'll have someone who was a malcontent in SF but said he wasn't being treated properly and the 49ers weren't dedicated to putting a winning team on the field. Some teams already wanted nothing to do with him, but others thought, "Well, he shows up to play every Sunday, keeps himself in incredible shape, he's worth the risk." Philly was one of those teams -- in fact, they were TO's first choice. He walked into a winning situation and for a year was adored by the fans in Philly like few other athletes in that city's history. But that wasn't enough. If I'm a GM, I'd consider signing him if he's a final piece of the puzzle and the team has a very real super bowl chance. Otherwise, I see a player who, even if he's making a few million more, will turn on his teammates after a couple of losses. Remember, the Eagles lost two games last year with TO in the lineup; during one he was calling out McNabb on the sidelines and after the other, he was calling him out in the press to line his own pockets. What do you think a 10-6 season does to him? Will the extra $5m keep him quiet?

The only team for which I think it would make sense to sign him (and it would never happen) is Pittsburgh. I think he pushes them over the top. You could make a case for Carolina. I don't think he makes any other team be a god bet for the Super Bowl (and by good bet, I mean similar odds to NE or Philly with TO). Indy doesn't need receivers. You could make a case for SD, but I see them regressing this year. KC still needs a defense. The Jets aren't strong enough defensively and Herm Edwards is still doing the play-calling. In the NFC Atlanta would seem to be a good fit, but Mike Vick has a ways to go against the good, disiplined defenses one usually sees in the playoffs (i.e., not the Rams). Same with Minnesota, but I'll buy their improved defense thing (a) when I see it or (b) when Peter King makes an accurate preseason prediction, whichever comes first.

33
by Basilicus (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 9:25pm

If Ty Law really, really has a $2.5 million offer on the table from any team, he and his agents are completely incompetent not to have already taken it, especially seeing as how this is the point in the offseason when teams are most likely to reneg on contract offers. (I have no evidence of this, it just seems that every year about this time there's always news of a team going back on a contract offer to some second-tier free agent.) Plus, if he openly negotiated with a team, it would only raise his marketability to other teams, so why wouldn't they be at the table already? For all these reasons, I don't think there's really a $2.5 million offer from anybody.

I don't have much to say about T.O., except that it's amazing how quickly and efficiently he's destroyed any good will he earned in his gutsy Super Bowl performance.

34
by Negative (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2005 - 9:26pm

Actually, regarding Deion's non-comeback with the Raiders, the Redskins did release him, and he went into waivers. The Chargers claimed him so that he wouldn't go to a division rival.

35
by Dervin (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 1:09am

It's fun to hear about the Season Ticket waiting lists, They used to have 40,000 people waiting for season tickets for the Larry Bird Celtics, 120,000 for the Knicks of the 1990's and so forth, Just let the Eagles put together a couple of 9-7 seasons and we'll see how strong that list is.

36
by hwc (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 2:05am

I'm just glad that Ty Law called the Pats $26 million offer "insulting". That offer had $16 million guaranteed for the 2004 and 2005 seasons. The Pats would have been on the hook for somewhere between $6-$8 million for a crippled CB after paying him $8+ million to not play last year.

By refusing the Pats' offer, Ty Law and Postons assumed 100% of the risk of a career ending injury. They came up snake eyes.

37
by Harris (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 2:18am

Let's say there is a team willing to trade for Owens and meet the Eagles' very high price for him AND pay Owens' ransom demands (there isn't) and let's say the Eagles would be willing to deal him (they aren't) where would he go? Part of the reason he didn't want to go to Baltimore was Kyle Boller. There are only three QBs who are as good/better than McNabb. So will Owens go to New England (fat chance)? Minnesota (they just got rid of a pain-in-the-ass WR)? Or Indy (don't need him, can't pay him)? Even if T.O. wins this argument, he loses if he's serious about getting a ring.

38
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 8:43am

Re: 23

It would seem to me that Ricky's return would negate the judgement against him concerning the bonus $$. That is, if Ricky is still contractually obligated to Miami (he is), then Miami is still obligated to honor the terms of the contract. If the Fins claim Ricky's comeback effort was 'half-a$$ed', and they are still due the bonus $$, then it's back to arbitration with at least a chance that they lose.

Re: 19

I agree, but I haven't really seen this POV reported by the pro's. Curious.

Re: 28

The thing to remember with regard to TO's signing bonus is that he was essentially signing just a two year deal. All the receivers with bigger bonus $$ were signing contracts that were (practically speaking) longer.

I think TO will play at least his six games this year (needed to get to credit for the year and get to the next year of his contract). If he only plays six, then most folks believe it will be at the end of the schedule. But I could see him playing the first six then bailing. Might make even more noise that way.

39
by Goldbach (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 9:27am

I see the opinion expressed often that TO only signed a 2-year deal. Why is this the case? I know he would have a $5 million roster bonus due at the end of this year, but if he was as productive as he was last year, why wouldn't the Eagles pay it? Unless, of course, TO became a malcontent (which is what he is doing).

I think people who say that TO would have been cut after this year assume too much.

40
by Alan Milnes (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 9:41am

Two comments:-

1) There is no pressure on Philly whatsoever, we won before TO and we will win after him.

2) Ricky Williams - as far as the dolphins are concerned he is playing for the minimum salary this season ...

41
by Jerry garcia (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 9:54am

Re: #24
I don't think Ricky Williams has the #1 selling jersey. I believe it is Randy Moss' Raiders Jersey at #1.

42
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 10:07am

T.O. holds very few cards, simply due to the nature of NFL contracts under the current CBA:

1. If he sits out the season, he loses the year of progression on his contract. At which point, the Eagles have no financial reason to cut him. He already has the signing bonus, the $5 million roster bonus is due the 3rd year of his contract, and his 2nd-year salary ain't that expensive. He's exactly where he is now contract-wise, a year older (bad), a year more rested (good, but usually not as good as being older is bad), and with a huge new layer added to the already-towering edifice of his reputation as a selfish malcontent.

2. If he skips camp and a bunch of games this season, he pays whatever penalties were in his contract; certainly his salary for those games and any performance-based incentives, probably part of the signing bonus, too. After which, any GM who signs him to anything better than a one-year, performance-incentive-laden contract, should be fired for simple idiocy.

3. If he plays half-heartedly, he still misses performance incentives and his free agent prospects suffer -- though this is probably the scenario under which he gets the most money from the Eagles, since he keeps the signing bonus and the salary from this year, then gets waived since Lurie, Reid, & co. ain't paying a $5 million roster bonus to a receiver who's been doggin' it all year.

The trouble with all these scenarios is, it's difficult to see how he does better long-term than he does by reporting to camp, playing to the best of his ability, and either getting the $5 million in his contract and playing for the Eagles again in 2006, or getting released and playing the free agent market with "top receiver" rather than "troublemaker" first on his resume.

Well, he could get injured. In fact, he did get injured this past year, and that'll weigh against him in the free agent market. (Pause to check player page on nfl.com.) In fact, he's played exactly one full season since 1999. Hmm. Maybe the Eagles had an excellent reason to back-load his contract.

So why would any other team pay top dollar for an injury-prone egotist whose hobbies include throwing coaches and teammates under the bus? He may only be getting second-rate pay from the Eagles, but he's got serious flaws both as a player and as a teammate.

43
by ElJefe (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 10:18am

I don't understand the "TO might retire for a year" argument at all. For this to make any sense, we have to assume the following two things: (A) Even though he is retired, the year he sits out counts as a year on his contract. He just doesn't get paid. We know that is not true for a player that is just holding out. And if it were true, why isn't Ed Reed retiring rather than play for two more years at those salaries? The contract he's risking by potentially getting injured far exceeds his compensation. (B) When he un-retires in February '06, the Eagles decline the option bonus (which would be due if the year counts on his contract) and TO is free to sign a new contract with the highest bidder.

So assuming that, what is TO giving up? Hard to get the exact numbers, but looks like this year's salary is $3.5 million, and 5/6 of his signing bonus would be about $2 million. (His "undervalued" contract only paid him $6.86 million last season, exclusive of the signing bonus. Total compensation if the Eagles let him fly after 2 years: $12.66 million. Maybe not the highest paid receiver in the league, but cry me a river Terrell.)

So by "resting" for a year, is TO going to be able to re-coup $5.5 million above and beyond the contract he could have signed after this season anyway? (Remember, we're assuming that the Eagles decline the option.) You can make the argument that he could play one more year by retiring rather than playing this season, but that extra year is TO at 37, not TO at 28. No one is going to pay a 35+ TO like a premier WR and that's the "extra" year he gets by retiring. Besides, he can save a year of playing wear-and-tear, but he won't save aging wear-and-tear. I suspect the "extra" year would be a year of "mediocre" rather than a year of "terrible". The only way I see this as being in his economic interest is if you could make the argument that sitting out a year now adds two years to the end of his career, or that he is overwhelmingly likely to suffer a significant injury this year. And I'm not buying that.

TO (and particularly Rosenhaus) played this completely the wrong way. They somehow believed that they could take on Andy Reid and Jeffrey Lurie, and have public opinion be on their side. Hah. TO's not dumb, he'll show up around the end of camp. I'm sure he likes money, and even moreso likes to see his name in the papers. More people will talk/write about him if he's playing than if he's sitting.

44
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 10:24am

ElJefe (#43 )--

I mostly agree. Except for this:
More people will talk/write about him if he’s playing than if he’s sitting.
I dunno about you, but I read a heck of a lot more about Ricky Williams this past year than in any of his prior years.

45
by dryheat (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 10:38am

Two things on the TO situation that I haven't seen much, if any, discussion about:

1. In re#28, and others:
If I’m TO, I’m in a great position. I can walk away, rest my healing body for a year, and pick up a new deal with another team with a rising DGR bar the following year under the new CBA

(Run-on sentecne alert)Why would we assume another GM is going to give him a big deal with a huge signing bonus knowing it's possible, if not likely, he's going to pull the same BS after a year, assuming he plays well, in order to get another signing bonus, having gotten away with it once?

And, knowing that TOs best play is to come back week 11 to get his six games in, the best thing for Andy Reid to do would be to Keyshawn him. Keep him away from the team, don't allow him to dress for the game, and hurt his market value by not allowing him to play at all. Is that last part spiteful? You betcha.

46
by Glenn (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 10:59am

"...Keyshawn him."

Keyshawn as a verb. Nice touch.
I agree....why does anyone think that Reid would let TO come back onto the field in Week 11 just so the guy who stiffed the team can sneak in a paycheck? Reid/Laurie would have to be desperate to let that happen. There's plenty of differences between Reid and Bill B (#1:game management), but neither of them would let any player pull that stunt, which is why any talk of Seymour doing it is also moot. The difference between TO and Seymour is, Seymour knows that trick will never work. His minicamp vacation was, in all likelihood, simply designed to let the Pats know that he has the stones to perhaps do something next year, when its the final year of his rookie contract.

47
by MDS (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 11:41am

Carl, the reason your scenario doesn't work is that you vastly overestimate the market for TO's services. I'd be willing to bet a large sum of money that if TO were an unrestricted free agent right now, he'd have very few suitors. Yes, he had a very good year last year. But teams just don't want headaches. Why would anyone sign a guy to a long-term deal when the last time he signed a long-term deal he started complaining about it after the first season?

48
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 12:10pm

Re: 39

In discussing TO's signing bonus it's fair to say that his contract is essentially a two year deal because even if the Eagles decided to keep him after that he would be getting a bunch of new bonus/guaranteed $$. Certainly they have the option to pay the bonus plus his 2006 salary.

Re: 40

I'm sure the Fins position is that Ricky gets the NFL minumum. But what I don't get (yet) is how they think that's gonna happen. Unless Ricky signs a new deal, it's hard to see how any terms (other than his old deal) can be enforced.

If Ricky remains the 'property' of the Fins due to his existing contract (which everyone seems to accept), I don't see how the Fins escape the terms of that contract regarding his pay. I'm no lawyer, but it seems to me that either the contract remains binding to both parties or to neither (in which case Ricky would be a free agent).

49
by Carl (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 12:20pm

The risk of being an insider is that you actually talk to the players (including TO), agents, GMs, union leaders and NFL reps.

Which is why I'm always perplexed to see fans who believe "good will" or tendencies toward being a "malcontent" are somehow disqualifications to gainful employment in the NFL.

This is going to be painful. Callow souls, plug your ears.

There is no such thing as "good will" in the NFL. Teams cut you at the slightest provocation. By "provocation," I mean LTBE bonuses that are becoming eerily likely (oh no! He's performing!); injuries beyond the player's control; guaranteed roster bonuses agreed to by both parties; or a matrix that says the salary no longer equals the estimated value of performance.

A player can be a huge jerk. He can be a nazi. He can worship evil. He will still be employed by a team.

In recent years we've watched players test positive for steroids, become involved in murder investigations, plead guilty to narcotics vending, AND THEY STILL START FOR THEIR TEAMS.

So spare me the notion that morality of any sort is somehow important to the franchises of the NFL.

You can be a decent and loving father, hard worker, patriotic American, agree to lower-than-market value contracts and waive no-trade clauses all you want, but the thug, wife-beating, drug-selling, camp holdout who is a tad better (or, more important, slightly cheaper) than you will get the job, and you'll get cut.

TO could have built up the greatest "good will" in the entire 501( c)(6) corporation that is the NFL, and he still wouldn't have a job next year because of that roster bonus.

If you don't believe me, sit through a Workers' Compensation hearing involving a former hard working, model player who had his legs torn up on a kickoff and see how far that "good will" got him when he wants $17,000 for getting crippled.

That's why the "BS" generated by TO is background noise for GMs who have to put up with a lot more from players, even if it never hits talk radio.

Star, they're going to cut him next year regardless of whether he sits out the season or plays. They're not going to pay him a $5 million roster bonus and his salary escalator. It's that simple.

TO is trying to force their hand, and he has time on his side. They can either pay him what he's worth (I'd say about an extra $4 million or so), or trade him to someone who will negotiate more upfront money.

But he knows they need him more now than he needs them.

That's why I think it's ludicrous that somehow he's "turning" on his teammates. What a load of front office crap. GMs don't even believe it.

Although every athlete plays for a team, they compete with each other for slices of the salary cap (which, by the way, is PAID BY THE PLAYERS THEMSELVES).

TO, frankly, is worth more than he's paid, especially his upfront dollars from the 2004 deal.

Unless you seriously want to make the argument that TO isn't one of the top 16 WRs in the NFL, then I'm going to assume he, his agents (and the team) likely know he's worth more than that.

In the NFL, contracts are not guaranteed. While many fans hear "five-year deal" and believe the team and the player are wedded for the next five seasons, in reality they've agreed to consider a series of five one-year contracts, stipulations that can be modified at any time, usually by the team.

In the vast majority of cases, it behooves the player to follow whatever the franchise wants because his position is fungible and he's not likely to make more with someone else vying for the same position.

In TO's case, this isn't really true. He knows there are more than a dozen teams out there willing to pay him far more upfront, guaranteed money than the Eagles were in 2004 and he wants to test that market.

The Eagles don't want him to go. They know he's worth far more than they're paying him, and they will certainly lose him if he's allowed to test the league for his true value.

If they didn't believe that, you can be assured they would cut him now, not later, because it would be difficult to justify this year's contract, much less next year's.

In fact, had TO re-injured his leg last year in the Super Bowl, despite his gutsy performance, rest assured the front office of the Eagles would have immediately moved to either cut him (let him test the free agent market) or negotiate a drastically reduced compensation package.

I wonder how many in here would be saying that was somehow unfair.

For TO, sitting out a year wouldn't kill him. He's not going to get the roster bonus from the Eagles next year, and he knows it. He had a very serious injury in 2004-05, and a few more months of rehab won't kill him. He's already rich, and paying back the guaranteed portion of his deal won't be tough because he knows he'll have far more coming his way the following year in free agency.

Let's correct another issue here. Most owners don't really care if they win a Super Bowl or not. They get paid from shared revenues. Once in the playoffs, they start to lose money. They have to pay transportation costs, marketing expenditures, etc., but will gain no more in the shared revenues.

As for players, the possibility of making $16,000 for that wildcard game -- at the risk of a career ending injury -- doesn't really measure out, does it?

That's why it's always odd at the end of the year to see so many fans in stands crying when the team misses out on that wild card, then to walk into the locker room and see players somewhat miffed, but not exactly in tears.

Some knew they won't even be with the team the next year. Others realized they were risking a lot (injury and the consequent drop in next year's compensation) for very little.

I've actually talked to owners WHO WERE GLAD THEY DIDN'T MAKE THE PLAYOFFS.

This is the uglier side of the business most people don't want to see. In that light, is TO really such a bad actor?

50
by Carl (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 12:26pm

MDS,

He only needs that one team willing to pay him for his services.

For the Eagles, the problem is that there's scuttlebutt that Dallas would consider it if the DGRs can be worked out within the league. Teams with very deep unshared revenues, such as Dallas and the Redskins, are in a position to risk more upfront money simply because they have that cash on hand.

I'm not King, but I've heard from a certain agent that 11 teams are in a position to offer TO better than Amani money for his services, with the cash upfront.

While I believe TO will ultimately play for the Eagles (he wants to play and win), most players in the league fully support what he's doing.

51
by LnGrrrR (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 12:46pm

Carl,

I have to say...those are some stupid owners. Sure, the cost for the games is more...but look at the Patriots. I'm sure winning 3 of 4 certainly helped their marketability right? Or would one argue that they sell less items because they have won so much? The profit might not be easily seen, but it's certainly there.

Also Carl, I know you are on the player's side, but it's not like they sign these contracts without knowing they probably won't make the last few years. You make it seem like they're getting cut from out of nowhere, and they have nowhere to turn. Most cases aren't like that, with a few exceptions (Lawyer Miloy being one). So while most contracts aren't guaranteed, players KNOW what they're getting into. If there were a way to flipflop the money that 1st round draftees make (millions without stepping on the field) with those who deserve it, that would be great...but everyone knows that's not the system. I'd rather it this way, then the guaranteed contracts of the NBA, where someone can get the max and then absolutely COAST for years...

52
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 12:47pm

Carl (#49 )--
The risk of being an insider is that you actually talk to the players (including TO), agents, GMs, union leaders and NFL reps.

Actually, the real risk is that you believe the information you have is somehow better because of your insider status. Insiders simply have more contacts -- there's no guarantee that those contacts are more intelligent and honest than any other group of rich businessmen, contractors, and skilled professionals just because they whisper things into your ear.

The fact that you talk with some owners, some players, and some agents, gets you a closer perspective on them but that necessarily means you're tying your perspective to theirs. Don't try to persuade me that you know what "most" owners would do -- I'm willing to buy that you know what some owners, agents, and players are willing to tell you. Trying to sell more strains your credibility.

By acting as he has, T.O. has guaranteed certain teams won't pay him. (Yes, some teams will not hire a thrice-proven jerk, regardless of the talent.) The less teams bidding on his services, the less likely he is to get the big money that an equally talented player without the baggage is going to get. Marvin Harrison will still be the top-paid receiver when all is said and done.

53
by MDS (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 12:53pm

Last year two teams, Baltimore and Philly, expressed interest in T.O. If Philly were to sever ties with him, what has changed in the past year that now 11 teams would want him?

54
by Basilicus (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 12:57pm

On Ricky Williams: It doesn't make sense to me that the Dolphins should owe Williams his contract again simply if he comes back - he's already broken it by sitting out, or "retiring," a year, hasn't he? That was the judgement, if I recall. I mean, to still be under contract means he has to come back to the Dolphins, which means the salary should still be there. But he broke the contract already, so isn't the signing bonus something he'll never get back? I guess I'm a little bit fuzzy as to the details here, and it seems like people are saying different things about this that don't necessarily agree. Personally, I think it would be a coup for Saban if he managed to get a third or fourth rounder for Williams.

55
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 1:10pm

Re: 49

I don't think most folks consider Owens a bad actor for his contract stuff (though that certainly doesn't help). Most folks (I think) consider him a jerk for his classless behavior towards opponents, teammates, and coaches.

His contract stuff is odd only in that he just signed the deal last year.

56
by Steve (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 1:26pm

"Which is why I’m always perplexed to see fans who believe “good will� or tendencies toward being a “malcontent� are somehow disqualifications to gainful employment in the NFL."

If malcontent isn't (at least to some degree) a disqualification, why were there only two teams interested in TO last year? Why could one of the few game-changing receivers only garner a second round pick? Why was Randy Moss only worth the No. 7 pick & Napolean Harris?

"There is no such thing as “good will� in the NFL. Teams cut you at the slightest provocation. By “provocation,� I mean LTBE bonuses that are becoming eerily likely (oh no! He’s performing!); injuries beyond the player’s control; guaranteed roster bonuses agreed to by both parties; or a matrix that says the salary no longer equals the estimated value of performance."

I don't disagree with this. But...

"TO could have built up the greatest “good will� in the entire 501( c)(6) corporation that is the NFL, and he still wouldn’t have a job next year because of that roster bonus."

This I don't get. You may be correct that now that TO/Rosenhaus has pulled this stunt that the Eagles won't pay him regardless. But if his 2005 is anything like his 2004, the roster bonus (coupled with a lower base salary for 2006) is very manageable for the Eagles and I don't see why they wouldn't pay it. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I'd guess he'd be making similar money to McNabb and Dawkins. Which is about right.

"If you don’t believe me, sit through a Workers’ Compensation hearing involving a former hard working, model player who had his legs torn up on a kickoff and see how far that “good will� got him when he wants $17,000 for getting crippled."

I agree. If TO gets injured next year, the Eagles would likely cut him. This isn't news and is par for the course in the NFL. This is the deal the players bargained for.

"Star, they’re going to cut him next year regardless of whether he sits out the season or plays. They’re not going to pay him a $5 million roster bonus and his salary escalator. It’s that simple."

Please explain why they would do this. Would his 2006 salary be that out of line with his value? If he had a $12m roster bonus, I'd agree -- it's a poison pill and the contract was never going to be realized. But TO's contract is not that backloaded.

"TO is trying to force their hand, and he has time on his side. They can either pay him what he’s worth (I’d say about an extra $4 million or so), or trade him to someone who will negotiate more upfront money."

Or let him sit.

"But he knows they need him more now than he needs them."

Please elaborate. They made it to the Super Bowl without him. Plus, you make the point that owners really don't even care about winning the Super Bowl (a point I disagree with, but whatever). If that's true, the Linc is sold out, so what do they care. Fact is, at this point, they have a great deal invested in making sure TO comes out of this as badly as possible. They will make an example out of him not only in Philly but league-wide.

"Unless you seriously want to make the argument that TO isn’t one of the top 16 WRs in the NFL, then I’m going to assume he, his agents (and the team) likely know he’s worth more than that."

You have to know how misleading that is. If he's paid his roster bonus in 2006, he's more like top-3 (which is about right) and if he plays this year and is cut, he has the opportunity to negotiate another signing bonus in '06 which those other players likely will not.

"In TO’s case, this isn’t really true. He knows there are more than a dozen teams out there willing to pay him far more upfront, guaranteed money than the Eagles were in 2004 and he wants to test that market."

Where were those teams last year? Is TO willing to play for those dozen teams? He wasn't last year.

"If they didn’t believe that, you can be assured they would cut him now, not later, because it would be difficult to justify this year’s contract, much less next year’s."

No. If they cut him now, he wins. He keeps the full signing bonus and gets to test the market. I'm not positive how this will ultimately play out. If they get what they deem to be a worthy offer, they will trade him, but I don't see that happening. Any team that would trade for him would have to rengotiate his contract and give up something for a player who (at this point) will almost definitely be available this offseaseon. TO could sit out all year, but I don't think he gains anything by doing that. The Eagles just continue to make an example out of him. I think he plays all or at least part of the year and the Eagles cut him after the season. I guess then we'll see what his market value really is.

57
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 1:31pm

"Did King ask his current weight? If he did, and Law didn’t tell him, that’s definitely news. Why not report it?"

In the article, King notes that Law himself doesn't know his own weight. So he did report it.

58
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 1:38pm

Re: 54

I don't think Ricky broke his contract by retiring anymore than Miami would have been breaking the contract by cutting him. He's allowed to retire. But if he does, then he's obligated (under the terms of the contract) to repay some of the bonus $$ he's already received. As of now, I don't think Williams has actually paid back any of the bonus $$.

I doubt his contract has any specific language about returning from retirement. So it's not surprising that the situation is a little fuzzy for you (and everyone else!). But, it seems to me that the purpose of the bonus repayment clause is to protect the team from the loss of Ricky's services prior to completion of the contract. If he fulfills the contract, the team hasn't suffered any loss.

Net, unless there's a negotiated settlement (which is what I think Ricky is angling for), I'd expect it to end up in front of an arbitrator again.

I can't imagine anyone offering anything for Williams at this point.

59
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 1:57pm

Star, they’re going to cut him next year regardless of whether he sits out the season or plays. They’re not going to pay him a $5 million roster bonus and his salary escalator. It’s that simple.

Yah, I have to say I don't necessarily buy this either. Philly has let free agents go plenty of times, but they haven't ever really had backloaded "I'm never going to pay this" contracts and cut people before the poison kicks in. The few people they've cut this year (Nate Wayne and Freddie Mitchell) both sucked, literally. If Owens keeps performing, I just don't see the reason why Philly would cut him.

Oh, and on a secondary note: I don't think Owens has a $10M signing bonus. I think it was just $2.3M - the rest was roster bonus. His cap number was $7.24M for 2004 according to USA Today.

I just don't see why it's a foregone conclusion that they would've cut Owens by next year.

60
by Led (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 2:08pm

"In the article, King notes that Law himself doesn’t know his own weight. So he did report it."

Where does King say that?

61
by Kim (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 2:10pm

A few comments:

El Jefe: "TO (and particularly Rosenhaus) played this completely the wrong way. They somehow believed that they could take on Andy Reid and Jeffrey Lurie, and have public opinion be on their side. Hah. "

Actually, it's possible TO could have taken on Eagles ownership and management in the court of public opinion in Philadelphia and won. The problem is that he also decided to mouth off about McNabb. Stupid move in Philly. For two reasons: 1) McNabb is very popular, and 2) back-stabbing your teammate is not going to win you any popularity contests in a town like Philly.

Carl: "A player can be a huge jerk. He can be a nazi. He can worship evil. He will still be employed by a team."

Perhaps. But many readers have already pointed out how "devalued" TO and Moss have become due to their attitudes. McNabb lobbied hard last year to get TO to Philly (despite Philly's usual dislike of big money aquisitions). How many quarterbacks are going to lobby to get TO now? He has bad-mouthed to the press every quarterback he's played with. I would assume most quarterbacks would be telling their team "thanks, but no thanks. Get me someone else". Not being an insider myself, I can only assume that the opinion of one of your top-paid players has some weight in the organization.

62
by B (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 2:19pm

As Carl pointed out, TO only needs one or two team interested in him to get a new deal. The raiders have already filled up thier disgruntled WR position, but I'm sure the Ravens will take a chance on him, if they get the oppurtunity.

63
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 2:29pm

Kim (#61 )--
back-stabbing your teammate is not going to win you any popularity contests in a town like Philly.
I wouldn't be certain of that. Philly fans are notroiously mercurial. (Link on my pseudonym to pre-Superbowl FO article on the subject by Mike Tanier.) They love Reid (remember the Ben Fanklin picture on the cover of Philly mag?) and McNabb now, but these same fans booed Mike Schmidt -- they'll turn on anybody.

Of course, they've turned on Owens now, and they're not the most forgiving bunch, so maybe I don't have a point here. Then again, I wanted to link to Tanier's piece anyway.

64
by dryheat (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 2:30pm

#62...I can't see from here, but your tongue is firmly in your cheek, right? The team TO got traded to last year which led him to whine and cry foul that he would be forced to play with Kyle Boller, which has now signed Derek Mason and spend a #1 pick on a receiver, Now they're going to make an effort to land Terrell Owens?

65
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 2:30pm

"Where does King say that?"

From the article:

"I usually report to camp at 200 and play at around 205. Being non-weight-bearing, I was probably on the plus side of 220, but I never weighed myself."

66
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 2:32pm

B (#62 )--
I’m sure the Ravens will take a chance on [TO], if they get the oppurtunity.
After he spurned them so publicly last year? I wouldn't be so sure. Billick and Newsome are perfectly capable of cutting off someone who made them look desperate and more than a little foolish, even if he's the self-proclaimed best.

67
by Kim (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 2:47pm

Starshatterer:

Philly fans may be mercurial, but my overall point was that it's the kind of town where you could feasibly take on "management" and still look good, but not your other players. Teammates are supposed to hang tough together, not rip each other apart in public. That's just unseemly.

For folks who want the other side of the story, Stephen A. Smith has written a number of "poor TO has been taken advantage of" articles (linked below). Usually I enjoy watching him and reading his articles; I personally think he's lost his mind on this point.

68
by Led (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 2:49pm

Re: 65, note the past tense in that quote. It's obvious Law is talking about months ago before he was able to work out. There is no way you can fairly conclude from that quote that right now "Law himself doesn’t know his own weight." It's a month before training camp for goodness sake.

69
by Richie (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 4:11pm

Hijack:

Does anybody know where I can find NFL stats in a format that I can easily put into a spreadsheet, and that would also include basic defensive stats like tackles, sacks, interceptions?

70
by NFLPA (retired) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 4:48pm

Star and Carl,

Owens had a weighted $2.3 million signing bonus in 2004, plus a $6.3 million combination of LTBE and other bonuses.

That's from NFLPA, not USA Today.

The highest signing bonuses went to Toomer, Darrell Jackson, Fitzgerald, Steve Smith and Harrison.

That's why Carl is mostly right about all of this. Harrison won't be the "highest paid" receiver in the NFL if you amortize the years he is expected to play.

Moss has a very high base salary and will negotiate far more guaranteed dollars in his next contract.

Harrison has a lower base and a relatively high hit on the signing. All things being equal, Moss will make more in real dollars than Harrison over the next several years even if we assume his current contract is renewed under its present terms, which it won't be.

He went to Oakland because they are willing to pay him far in the future more than Minneapolis was. I don't believe that has anything to do with "headaches" and everything to do with costs.

The Vikings, in their current stadium, do not have the luxury of betting the farm on a wide receiver who is sent across the middle a lot.

Owens seems to want to be paid Moss or Harrison money, which he probably deserves, and he wants it guaranteed. Remember that even a guaranteed money challenged team like the Packers gave Ferguson more money than Owens.

The signing bonus for Owens and the Eagles was less than that given to Chris Chambers, which Carl was right to point out. I think Carl is making a value judgement here because some people might say Chambers in combination with Boston could have made the Dolphins better, so he was worth the guaranteed money.

What Carl seems to be saying is that the market for receivers was very different in 2004, when Owens arrived late on the scene because of a botched contract with SF. With most expensive free agent acquisitions already made, Owens entered an abnormally stagnant market for his services.

I wish Carl would talk more about David Joseph's handling of the contract with SF. I'm sure Dennis Northcutt would add something here, right Carl?

Owens was never really on the "open market" in 2004. Because of a filing delay, he could have been retained by the Niners for about $5 million in 2004 total compensation and $6 million in 2005.

Had he not made his side bonuses in 2005, Owens would have made only half of that, which is why he wants more guaranteed money. His current contract, which was inherited in form from SF, the team that held an addition three years of rights, might pay him as little as $3 million before his escalator bonus kicks in next year.

I don't know if you have talked to him lately, Carl, but that means he is paid as much as Lee Evans.

Carl was astute to point out that the current CBA is expiring and that the battle now isn't between the union and management, but between the owners over sharing certain revenues. If the total pool of shared revenues rises, and that is shared with the players in a similar arrangement, then the agents negotiating the 2006 contracts will make out like bandits.

Carl was right about teams like the Cowboys and Redskins, but he also could have included New England and Cleveland. These are teams with relatively new stadia with increased revenue streams that were built not to be shared. This has led to certain owners have far more money with which to play, so they can spend more guaranteed money.

Others, like Green Bay or Indianapolis, have to try to entice players for higher annual wages. Players realize they will likely lose more money in this arrangement because of injuries or dwindling performance as they edge closer to second contracts, so they are naturally drawn more to teams like Dallas.

I noticed that someone in here talked about the "marketability" of teams like the Patriots. A sore spot among some owners who spend a lot of guaranteed money to win championships is that the league's marketing of a winner doesn't really help them that much. They share the big sources of revenue from broadcasting, licensing and other streams, so it doesn't really matter if the Bengals or the Jets win the big game.

The feeling in Philadelphia, Carl, is that Owens won't be retained for the roster bonus, so this wasn't a LTBE issue. He is playing in the last year of his contract and he believes he is making too little, which you seem to also believe.

The only way to see, as you say it, is to "test" the market. He can't do that unless the Eagles release him, which they won't do, or agree to a trade.

He can then work out another contract with his new team.

What you don't say is that Owens is in a good bargaining position, but only because the Eagles believe they have a tight window. They have built a team wisely under the cap, but when you look at the contracts likely to be re-examined next year, that cap could bloat in 2006.

If the Eagles decide to say screw it to the window, then Owens is screwed too. They won't sign him in 2006 and will seek another receiver.

For those of you who don't know, Carl is not really a big union guy and we have argued about a lot of crap over the years. But he does care about players, which is more than most guys.

71
by HLF (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 4:58pm

Anyone ever met a doctor that thinks they must be absolutely right about every medical issue just because they're a doctor?

Carl, if you say there are at least 11 teams that would gladly pay TO what you and he think he's "worth", you are also implying that there are at least 11 teams with that sort of cap room open (or managably open-able), no? Nonwithstanding the patently misleading way you presented parts of your argument, and nonwithstanding the Randy Moss example, for you to be even wrong you'd need teams with cap room. Do we have that?

72
by HLF (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 5:02pm

Carl,

Re-reading my post, it was harsher than I meant it, and I want to apologize to you, Carl. I do believe, though, you framed your items in a misleading way.

Hopeless Lions' Fan,
Seattle

73
by Jones (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 5:03pm

Hey! Owens could not go into the free market last year!

Because of Joseph, the 49ers held the rights to Owens. They could have kept paying him, or traded him to a team of their choice.

They obviously were not going to trade him to a division rival, so that cut his options. They also were only interested in certain draft picks, so teams that couldn't offer as much were excluded.

They chose two teams they thought were best for them, Baltimore and Philadelphia. They were on the other side of the country and not likely to show up and humiliate them in front of the fans.

Owens said he would hold out if he had to play in Baltimore, so he went to the only other available choice. But that choice wasn't TO's. It was made by the 49ers.

Why isn't anyone talking about that?

74
by Jones (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 5:07pm

"I know I'm a top player in the game, and my current contract doesn't justify that. The fact that I signed this contract, that I'm under contract, doesn't factor into anything when it comes to the National Football League. [The Eagles] can cut me anytime they want to - even if I'm performing well, I'm healthy and I'm putting up numbers, just because they don't want to pay a player that money.

"If they can do what's best for their financial future, then why can't I?

"Everyone knows my former agent [David Joseph] settled for a low-ball number because of my situation last season when Baltimore traded for me. He told me he couldn't get a cent more, knowing I deserved more than they gave me. They used their leverage to strong-arm us because they knew I wanted to leave Baltimore for Philadelphia, and they capitalized on it. I can't go for that now. It's not in me to do that."

Carl is only saying what Owens said in May. I don't see how that is framing it wrong.

I agree with Carl and I'm a Niners' fan!

75
by B (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 5:12pm

Of course, if TO hadn't demanded out of SF, he could have played the final year of his contract with them and entered the free market this year.

76
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 5:13pm

Re: 70 "This has led to certain owners have far more money with which to play, so they can spend more guaranteed money."

I gotta confess, I really don't see how the size of their unshared income factors into this decision. Certainly some teams are more aggressive with guaranteed $$ and others are more conservative. This seems more a function of management style (risk taking) than accounting.

That is, teams can only spend so much on players. And (with an occasional exception) they all spend to the cap. Whether the spending is in guaranteed money or not, they are all spending the same amount. Not having the money guaranteed helps them fund a better (more expensive) replacement if someone gets injured/released, but they still spend the money.

What am I missing here?

77
by Vikes Rule! (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 5:19pm

NFLPA is right about Moss and the Vikings.

Click on my name. They were $30 million under the cap (!!!!!!!) and they still got rid of Moss because they didn't want to pay guaranteed money to him.

They got a halfway decent linebacker and a first round draft pick for him, so it wasn't a lost cause. But they ain't Moss!

78
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 5:19pm

Re: 75

I think there were several years left on Owens 49ers deal (if you assume it wasn't properly voided by his agent).

Re: 73

Owens had a chance in arbitration to be declared a free agent. He agreed to the deal to Philly rather than take the risk.

79
by dryheat (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 5:24pm

#73...we're not talking about it, because that's not what happened. Joseph missed the filing deadline, meaning TO was property of the 49ers. 49ers didn't want a malcontent, they traded him to the Ravens. TO appealed that he should've been a free agent. The NFL worked out an arrangement to settle the issue where TO was a free agent, he signed with Philly as a free agent, and Philly gave a draft pick to Baltimore for their being victimized.

#74 Yes, teams can terminate contracts whenever they want. That is a collectively bargained issue, those are the rules. NFLers know this whey they join the NFLPA, and they know it every time they sign a contract. Caveat Emptor. Nobody held a gun to TOs head and demanded that he sign a contract to play in the NFL. If he didn't want to play by the rules, he shouldn't have signed the contract. The NFL player DOES have an option if he doesn't want to play under the terms of his current contract -- not to play. If TO decides to pursue this option, that's his prerogative. If he thinks the CBA is unfair in that it allows the employer but not the employee to break the contract, he doesn't have to play football. He can make a living doing something else.

80
by bsr (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 5:46pm

RE: 70

That’s why Carl is mostly right about all of this.

About what? It seems to me that where most posters opinions diverge from Carl's is his notion that "Pressure increases if TO decides to retire, sit out a year, then return to football, which would do his body some good. He can come back as a 32-year-old WR the following season, if I recall, with a new k." This is where the responses get kinda fuzzy.

Like many others have already stated, I don't think he can do that.

81
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 5:50pm

A lot of folks are missing the point. It's not that Owens can't hold out and demand more money. Heck, he can quit the league and try to talk a CFL team into paying for him.

That doesn't mean any team has to give him what he's asking for.

Last year, he demanded to be traded. Then threatened to hold his breath and turn blue if he was actually traded to Baltimore. Then got arbitration. Then insisted he be traded to Philly, since his previous negotiating tactics had gone well past the prime free agent market.

Is he surprised Philly isn't paying him top dollar? Every successive brilliant move further eroded his bargaining position. So this holdout isn't exactly a surprise -- this is his usual negotiating strategy: keep making demands no one really has to meet, in hopes they pay him off to go away.

Why would the Eagles pay him like Harrison or Moss, or even Chris Chambers? His sunny personality? They didn't have to pay him then, they don't now, and he can bag groceries this season if he doesn't like it.

The Eagles will get the value of his services at the rate specified in his contract, or they will get something of value for him in trade, or they get the valuable example of putting the screws to a high-profile holdout. There is no equivalent value to them in paying him $4 million more just because he thinks he's worth it and Drew Rosenhaus wants his 3%.

82
by Kim (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 6:02pm

The thing that frustrates me the most about the TO fracas is that there are several issues that get tied together. What a number of folks have said is that Ownes is right to hold out for a new contract, because he's not getting a fair deal. On the emotional side, the claim by some is that he is getting a raw deal by the public, because they aren't sympathizing with his position.

The thing is that theoretically, TO could have held out for a better deal in Philly this offseason, and had some public opinion on his side if he had handled it cleverly. It would be tough, yes, given the public derision about millionaire athletes who "need to feed their families". But it could be done. It's not that hard in the court of public opinion to cast "management" as the bad guy. But TO opened his mouth, and out popped a bunch of trash talk about his own teammates, etc. End of sympathy. Regardless of anything else, he is now labeled a malcontent. He wants a new contract? Well, what do you expect, he's a malcontent... The surprising thing to me is how badly this was handled given that Rosenhaus is supposed to be such a smart operator; of course, it could just be that he has no control over Owens.

In general, I have some degree of sympathy for players given the state of the NFL contracts. Particularly young players who play briefly, get injured and cut. I don't have a lot of sympathy for Owens, who is well compensated for what he does. Is he being paid fair market value? Possibly not -- it's arguable in any case. Does he have the right to put pressure on the team to try and get better paid? Sure he does. But I also have the right to think that he's an egotistical jerk.

83
by Jones (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 6:02pm

Niners traded Owens to Baltimore. Philadelphia had been working to either acquire Owens through a trade or free agency, if he won his dispute.

As a free agent, they were offering a $10 million bonus. TO was seeking $18 million. They said they could have met somewhere in the middle, maybe $14 million.

As a trade, they offered the Niners James Thrash and a fifth round pick, which they declined.

The only team reportedly contacted by the 49ers was Baltimore, which makes sense. They didn't want him to play for an NFC team or any west coast team.

Before Joseph screwed up, Owens was going to ask for $18 million in bonuses, which is what Moss was prepared to get in Minnesota.

The resulting trade to Baltimore led to a second grievance filed by Owens, not one!

He had a grievance because of the unfair way his contract was retained by the Niners. He added another when Baltimore turned around and traded him to Philadelphia.

Rather than "arbitrate" the dispute, the NFL originally said the trade was good.

That forced Owens' hand. He could have sought to go forward with two grievances. Or he could try to reach a deal very quickly to recoup some of what he was worth.

He went to the Eagles for a low $9.6 million signing bonus paid over the first years, with $7.5 million come in 2006.

The NFL worked out a "compromise" only because they realized they might lose in court.

Owens essentially had a choice. He could go to court and try to become a free agent, or he could accept a diminished deal that gives him only $3.25 million in base salary in 2005 and a likely cut in 2006, when his salary increases with the backloaded part of his bonus.

Now, he's technically in breach of his contract. The Eagles could try to recoup $1.8 million, but they won't because they want him to play. Poisoning the well more won't help.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/columns/story?columnist=pasquarelli_len&id...

84
by Philly Phil (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 6:12pm

"TO could have held out for a better deal in Philly this offseason, and had some public opinion on his side if he had handled it cleverly."

But the Inky keeps saying it was the team, not Owens or his agent, who leaked the dispute to get the fans on their side. The first spin was pro-team, not pro-Owens.

Owens wasn't trying to manipulate fans at all. He wasn't even talking about it. Maybe he's a big dumb jerk, but it's the Eagles who leaked the dispute, not Owens.

Owens did yell about being traded to Baltimore, but I'd be yelling too if my stupid agent forgot to file the right paperwork and cost me millions.

85
by Philadelphia Dreamin' (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 6:16pm

"or they get the valuable example of putting the screws to a high-profile holdout."

There's no money in that. They still have to pay a defined amount of salary cap. There's a bar on how little they can spend, so they would have to go out and get some people and pay them more.

And if the NFC isn't the pushover it was this year, and we lose to Atlanta or Dallas, you can bet a lot of us will blame a certain owner for screwing with the best receiver in the conference.

Or have we forgotten so soon how bad we were at catching the ball two years ago?

86
by Goldbach (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 6:19pm

Whoah, there's some conflicting information on this thread, largley because I think most members of the media don't know exactly what happened, and are too lazy to correct their own misperceptions.

1. TO was never a free agent last year. The NFL ruled that his agent missed the deadline to file for free-agency. This deadline was imposed by the most recent CBA, which was instituted after TO signed his contract, which had a different (later) date.

2. After the NFL ruled that TO was not a FA, the 49ers decided to trade him. The Eagles and the Ravens were bidding for him. The Eagles thought they had a deal worked out with the 49ers, but did not want to consummate it until they would work out a new contract with Owens. The Ravens decided to beat the Eagles' offer to the 49ers and deal with the consequences later. Thus, TO was declared to be property of the Baltimore Ravens.

3. TO, who had a contract agreement worked out with the Eagles, was upset at the thought of being a Raven under his old contract. He and his agent then decided to follow the appeal process to attempt to be declared a FA, and then (supposedly) sign with Philadelphia.

4. Both the NFLPA and the League made arguments in front of the arbiter regarding Owens' FA status. We do not know precisely what went on in the proceedings, or which way the arbiter would have ruled, but at one point the arbiter said to the NFL's representative "You don't have much of a case, do you?" I am not an expert in legal law, but from what I have heard the date imposed by the CBA CANNOT legally supersede the date negotiated in the contract. If this is true, then Owens would have been declared a FA by the arbiter. Also, according to ESPN's Sal Paloantonio, the body language of the NFLPA representatives was decidedly more upbeat than that of the NFL representatives leaving the hearing.

5. The NFL told the Ravens that there was no way they would lose the case heading into the hearing, and that Owens would become a FA. Immediately after the hearing, the 49ers and Ravens entered into negotiations with Philadelphia to work out a trade. Suddenly they felt that they could very easily lose this case, and wanted to get what they could. A trade was worked out that evening, but Ravens' GM Ozzie Newsome wanted to sleep on it because he was reportedly very distraught over having to lose Owens.

6. Even after this deal was worked out, TO had to agree to it. This is a very key point for the current situation. TO and his agent had to agree to drop the appeal and become a Philadelphia Eagle at the negotiated contract, which they decided to do. He DID have a choice. He could have rejected the agreement and see the results of the appeal. Of course this was a risk, but it seemed likely that he would be declared a FA (otherwise, the Ravens and 49ers would not have agreed to send him to Philadelphia). In other words, Owens had a choice between a virtual LOCK at being a FA and being a Philadelphia Eagle with the contract he currently has. He chose to be a Philadelphia Eagle WITH HIS CURRENT CONTRACT. He was not forced into this deal, his recent comments notwithstanding.

7. Philadelphia could have thrown a monkey wrench into this deal as well by refusing to trade for Owens, and instead waiting for him to be a FA and then sign him. I'm speculating as to their reasons for trading for him, but they gave San Francisco Brandon Whiting, an injured DE who would likely have been cut last year (and, in fact WAS cut by SF earlier this year), a 5th round draft pick, and a 6th round draft pick (to compensate for Whiting's injury). They also sent Baltimore a 4th-round draft pick. The Eagles received 4 compensatory draft picks in the 2005 draft for players lost during Free Agency in 2004. If they had signed Owens as a FA, they would only have received 3 compensatory picks. Given Owen's salary, it is likely that this would have been a 4th round pick. Therefore, the Eagles essentially traded Brandon Whiting, 4th and 5th round picks in the 2004 draft, and a 6th round pick in the 2005 draft for TO and a 4th-round pick in the 2005 draft. Since they probably would have cut Whiting anyway, The Eagles essentially gave up 5th and 6th round picks for to eliminate the risk that the arbiter would rule in favor of the league.

8. There is no evidence that the Eagles would have cut TO before his 2006 roster bonus. To my knowledge, there have been no "inside sources" in the Eagles' organization saying that this is the case. Therefore, anyone who says that the Eagles would have cut TO after this year is just speculating.

87
by bsr (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 6:25pm

Just and FYI about the potential of Owens to retire and come back as a free agent.

From Appendix B, section 16 of the current CBA. A standard player contract:

16. EXTENSION. Unless this contract specifically provides otherwise, if Player becomes a member of the Armed Forces of the United States or any other country, or retires from professional football as an active player, or otherwise fails or refuses to perform his services under this contract, then this contract will be tolled between the date of Player's induction into the Armed Forces, or his retirement, or his failure or refusal to perform, and the later date of his return to professional football. During the period this contract is tolled, Player will not be entitled to any compensation or benefits. On Player's return to professional football, the term of this contract will be extended for a period of time equal to the number of seasons (to the nearest multiple of one) remaining at the time the contract was tolled. The right of renewal, if any, contained in this contract will remain in effect until the end of any such extended term.

So unless Owens' specific contract strikes out this paragraph then holding out wont help him at all in reaching the end of that contract. But maybe this is information Carl has from being an "insider"?

88
by kim (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 6:30pm

Philly Phil:

To be honest, I don't care who leaked it. Is it possible that Eagles ownership is a bunch of heartless capitalists? Yup. I have vented about the team's management for years.

If the team leaked the contract dispute to try and get some people upset with Owens, he still had a shot to cast it as a management/player issue and get some decent PR. It's a moot point though. He opened his mouth about his teammates, those comments got played all over the place on ESPN, and that pretty much wrecked his credibility. Not the smartest thing to do when you're trying to fight a PR battle.

I gather his position is that he doesn't care what people think of him. And that's fine. He wants the team to give him a new contract. Great. Just don't tell me I should feel in any way inclined to support him.

89
by Lawyer in Tampa (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 6:33pm

Oh come on, Goldie!

No matter what the representatives' "body language" as reported by ESPN, there is no proof whatsoever that either Owens or the NFL would have won or lost that case, and you know it.

If you hadn't heard, the NFLPA advised that Owens NOT sign the contract offered by Philadelphia. Owens felt at the time he had few choices. The prime time for free agents had passed and he could still lose the arbitrated hearing and end up in Baltimore making $5 million per annum.

Sure, NFLPA wanted to test the arbitration, but they weren't the ones who would have had to play for the Ravens and those career-busting passing numbers for a third of what you're worth. Better to settle for half of what you're worth, fire your agent and come back with Rosie in 2005 after threatening to hold out.

That's exactly what Owens did.

90
by Lawyer in Tampa (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 6:38pm

"So unless Owens’ specific contract strikes out this paragraph then holding out wont help him at all in reaching the end of that contract. But maybe this is information Carl has from being an “insider"?"

Wow. Someone took a stupid stick to this room.

Players "retire" in order to force a team to scratch the contract. They know the team won't keep them on the hook if they refuse to play. The team will then void the contract voluntarily.

Everyone knows that. I don't know Carl, but I bet that's what he's saying. Everyone knows the team will hold the contract, but will be highly unlikely to enforce it because they will move on to other players. It's not in a team's interest to take on an older, unhappier player who already proved he is more than willing to quit than play.

91
by Lionel in Dallas (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 6:42pm

I don't know if Carl or BSR is right, or if anyone is right. I just like to watch the games.

But BSR comes off as a real prick, and Carl seems to be the sort of guy who is willing to discuss what he hears openly.

92
by snarf (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 6:52pm

Isn't it astounding that just when we need some "insider" information confirmed we get "NFLPA (retired)" and just when we need some legal rebuttle we get a "Lawyer in Tampa". FO must really be drawing a wide diverse crowd of readers.

Anyway, whether Owens is worth more money or "deserves" more money isn't really relevant. The Eagles made an offer which he agreed to(admitedly largely because free agency was mostly over) and now he's under contract.

I have no problem with him deciding to try and hold out for more money, it's just that at this point it doesn't appear like it's going to work. The Eagles haven't flinched and given their track record, it seems unlikely they will. When push comes to shove, I think its quite clearly not in TOs interest to sit out this year. If sitting out was such a great option, he would've done it last year instead of sign the deal with the Eagles. At least then he would've been a FA at the start of this offseason.

Seriously though, I feel like this discussion is going in circles. One side(me among them) says TO should play because he's hurting him self by not playing then the other side(Carl et. al.) says TO got a raw deal and is in the right by holding out. They're not mutually exclusive.

93
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 7:06pm

Philadelphia Dreamin’ (#85 )--
“or they get the valuable example of putting the screws to a high-profile holdout.�
There’s no money in that.
There is value in things other than money (pace Lawyer Milloy). By putting the screws to a high-profile holdout, the Eagles show other players that holding out does not pay. My inner heartless capitalist says plenty of organizations would pay money for such a benefit; the Eagles get to save money doing it if T.O. actually holds out through camp into the season.

And somehow, I doubt the Eagles are running into minimum-salary issues if T.O. comes off the books. They still have to pay Kearse, Dawkins, Westbrook, McNabb...

94
by Daniel Warehall (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 7:08pm

It seems to me that the NFL is dangerously effective at controlling "spin". I look at this and think that Philly is trying to lessen the PR blow that they'll take next year. Instead of releasing the Super Bowl hero, they release a cancer for salary cap reasons...

95
by Otis (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 7:13pm

I think Lionel in Dallas and Lawyer in Tampa are the same guy. He sounds like a freakin' lawyer, too, so screw him.

I don't care if he's right. I don't care if Terrell Freakin' Owens is right. I don't care if BSR is right, even if he sounds more like a jerk than Terrell Freakin' Owens.

I make shit money. I like to watch the football. I want to see Owens play.

End of debate.

96
by Goldbach (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 7:15pm

Re: 90. I provided several pieces of evidence to support my claim that Owens would have likely won in arbitration, not the least of which being that the NFL and Baltimore and San Francisco suddenly changed their tune after the hearing. If the arbitration could have gone either way, what does Baltimore do? Would you rather have a 4th round pick or a 50/50 shot at Owens? Personally, I'd go for the 50/50 shot at Owens. I can show you some quotes from Ozzie Newsome that indicates that he felt the same way if you'd like.

Troy Vincent, a longtime player representative to the NFLPA, was on Philadelphia TV recently and said that the reason why the NFLPA recommended against it was because of the 7-year length, which they felt was too long, NOT the roster bonus after the second year. The NFLPA apparently had no major concerns that this would be a two-year deal at the time, and apparently neither did Owens. Like I said before, he could have chosen to be a FA if he didn't like the deal at the time.

97
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 8:44pm

Lawyer in Tampa (#90 )--
Players “retire� in order to force a team to scratch the contract. They know the team won’t keep them on the hook if they refuse to play. The team will then void the contract voluntarily.

Everyone knows that.

Everyone except Ricky Williams and anyone whose remotely paid attention to the Ricky Williams saga.

98
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 8:59pm

Why the hell would Philly cut a receiver like Owens, assuming he's been productive for 2 years, just because they have to pay $5M? They couldn't sign another one that'd be as productive for less than $5M.

What contracts in Philly are going to bloat in 2006 and beyond? The team is young at this point, and rookie contracts don't really bloat.

Not saying I know what will happen in the future, or what Philly will do, I just don't see any evidence presented that that's what will happen, just speculation. There's no evidence of Philly having a 'closing window' like a Boom & Bust team, and there's no evidence of Philly cutting a player who's performing for cap reasons.

99
by HLF (not verified) :: Wed, 06/29/2005 - 1:37am

Pat, don't let that interfere with your "the players are grossly underpaid" recitation. TO deserves better, darn it (smile). 5m sure ain't enough to feed MY family....

100
by bsr (not verified) :: Wed, 06/29/2005 - 11:17am

RE:90
So I am stupid now? Well then please explain to me again why retiring would 'force' the team to release the player from his contract? If the player retires and they don't "scratch" the contract then they don't have to pay the contract, the cap cost is the same as if they cut them, and they still have the rights to them if they desire to "unretire" which would theoretically have some value to it. Whats the benefits of cutting them again? I just don't seem to get it. Sorry.

RE:91
So now I am a prick too? Well, nice to meet you too Lionel.

RE:95
Now I am a jerk as well. Great!

Thanks Carl..er..Lawyer..er..Lionel..er..Otis. I don't think there was anything that was really derogatory in my posts. I simply asked for a clarification of your stance. My question of your having "insider" information was sincere. Sorry if this line of questioning backed you into a corner. Actually I am not really that sorry because that was my intention, to have you answer the question. But I am sorry that you feel the need to take it too another level with insults and name calling.

101
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 06/29/2005 - 11:40am

NFLPA #70: "What you don’t say is that Owens is in a good bargaining position, but only because the Eagles believe they have a tight window. They have built a team wisely under the cap, but when you look at the contracts likely to be re-examined next year, that cap could bloat in 2006."

The Eagles are WAY under the cap in 2006, without major organizational holes, and with Owens penciled in for around $6.1 million.

Are you sure you know what you are talking about?

102
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 06/29/2005 - 12:09pm

Are you sure you know what you are talking about?

I agree with you, Andrew - especially because Banner has publicly stated, multiple times, that he doesn't believe in a "window of opportunity" in terms of cap management. He thinks the Eagles can keep this success up indefinitely.

I can't really argue with him on that.

103
by kim (not verified) :: Wed, 06/29/2005 - 1:01pm

hmm. things seem to have devolved into name calling. Let's play nice folks.

I'll start with the mea culpas. I should not have called Owens an egotistical jerk. He is a fantastic player with a great deal of pride who did wonderful things for the Eagles last year. (And I mean that in all sincerity). However, I think his pride, for all that it's useful on a football field, has led him to 2 misperceptions: 1) that he is more important than all of his teammates, and 2) that he is indispensable to his team. The two are related. Both are fallacies in my opinion.

Unfortunately, I don't think his current choice of agent is the one to lead him back to enlightenment.

104
by Carl (not verified) :: Wed, 06/29/2005 - 2:17pm

Wow. I'm gone for a day and I come back to this?

I didn't mean to suggest that Owens would have no contractual obligations upon his sudden retirement from the NFL. He would, as anyone who has tracked the fortunes of RBs for the Lions or Dolphins would know.

Someone in here was smart to mention that it remains a bargaining position. He could announce he will retire unless his demands are met. This has happened before, and the tactic has either forced a trade or led to concessions.

In fact, I've heard this discussed around the league in regards to Owen, although, as I also said, I think he will play for the Eagles next year.

As for BSR, people shouldn't call him names. He expressed an opinion. That's his right. He had every right to ask me where I get my information, and what I'm basing it on.

Upton, I thank you for your kind words from the (former) NFLPA's perspective, but you and I disagree on many other points. Your view on accounting from non-shared revenues isn't really for this forum, and you're going to confuse a lot of people when you start talking about "revenue streams" and non-DGRs.

BSR, sometimes I come in here to throw out gossip I hear around the league. I'm not publishing it, so you know it's not 100 percent vetted. I have heard that the next available strategy for Owens is to threaten to retire.

That would force the Eagles to consider whether they need him now, or later. The wager would be that they need him now, not another year down the line. This decision would not affect his contractual obligations, but would have a real world effect on a team that has to decide whether they can afford to lose his services for a year.

Personally, I don't think he will do it, but we might hear that he threatened to do it. Right now, I believe he will play out his contract and that the Eagles won't bring him back in 2006 because of his bonuses.

I might be wrong in both assumptions, but there you have it. That's what I believe. The Eagles have regulated their cap better than most teams and they are not likely to pay Owens the latter part of the guaranteed money if they don't have to. They will try to find value with other, younger WRs.

I believe one of the posters is correct and that "technically" Owens is already in default of his contractual obligations and could be cut now by the Eagles. I believe Seymour in NE is in the same boat.

The problem is that neither team would contemplate getting rid of these guys because they make less than their market values and can be expected next year to perform at a very high level.

Of course, if they don't, or they're injured, both teams will either let them enter the free agent market, paying the new negotiated CBA signoff amounts, or bargain for reduced compensation.

MDS, I can think of several teams who would bid on Owens if he were a free agent. Whether they would give him $18 million in guaranteed money is debatable, but there are always franchises looking for that special WR.

I might be completely wrong about this, but I also know that Owens is still one of the best three or four receivers in the league, especially the NFC, and that would attract interest from a number of franchises, especially if they didn't have to give away any picks for him.

I think I see what Upton is saying about the salary cap problem for the Eagles in 2006, but you might want to read it in reverse. He's including in that total escalators in TO's contract, and he's making accounting assumptions about the status of the new DGR scheme. I don't think you can make those assumptions yet.

I believe Upton is saying that the financial pool is going to "bloat" because of new revenue streams coming into play, and that the Eagles' ability to woo players with more guaranteed money will be on par with their peers.

I think that's what he's saying. I'm not sure. I'm not a capologist.

One thing I've heard GMs talk about is the "problem" the Eagles will have if they don't have to pay TO next year. I know that sounds nutty, but they have to meet certain obligations for minimum team compensation under the current CBA. I'm assuming the next CBA will say as much.

WIth Owens off the hook, they will either have to renegotiate current salaries, paying certain players far more thant they are worth, or try to find remaining free agents willing to play for them at this late notice.

I can't see this happening. One guy told me that the NFL management council and NFLPA would likely give the Eagles a waiver to work this out over a set period of years, but they really haven't seen a situation like that.

Again, at this time of the year there's a lot of these arcane, never likely to happen scenarios hashed out by men with way too much time on their hands.

Just remember that NFLPA offices close at 1 p.m. on Fridays in the summer, so everyone isn't all that busy.

105
by Steve (not verified) :: Wed, 06/29/2005 - 2:31pm

"One thing I’ve heard GMs talk about is the “problem� the Eagles will have if they don’t have to pay TO next year. I know that sounds nutty, but they have to meet certain obligations for minimum team compensation under the current CBA."

I find it hard to believe that the ~$7-8m the Eagles would pay TO in 06 would throw them under the minimum amount required by the CBA. Even if it did, it seems easily fixable -- redo a youg player's deal with a high first yr. base instead of as a sining bonus (which has the added beneefit of reducing the cap hit in the future should they ever cut said player).

I'm no insider, but that claim does sound nutty. Maybe I'm misunderstanding something. The Eagles have been known to leave cap dollars on the table year after year, but they've never (to my knowledge) been near the bottom of the league in compensation.

106
by bsr (not verified) :: Wed, 06/29/2005 - 3:16pm

RE:104

As for BSR, people shouldn’t call him names. He expressed an opinion. That’s his right. He had every right to ask me where I get my information, and what I’m basing it on.

BSR, sometimes I come in here to throw out gossip I hear around the league. I’m not publishing it, so you know it’s not 100 percent vetted. I have heard that the next available strategy for Owens is to threaten to retire.

Actually, I never questioned where you get your information and really don't need know. I posted a fact concerning NFL contracts and a question regarding if you had non-public information with regards to the situation. I didn't ask what that non-public information was, just whether there was something in the contract that wasn't standard. From the sounds of it this doesn't seem to be the case and my question has been answered. Thanks.

107
by Goldbach (not verified) :: Wed, 06/29/2005 - 4:08pm

Re: 105

Actually, the Eagles have never left any of their cap dollars unspent. Banner always negotiates an extension for some (several) players. He also takes advantage of a loophole that allows teams to "roll-over" cap space onto the next year by giving players "Likely to be Earned" incentives that he know won't be earned. LTBE incentives count against the current year's cap, but if they are not earned then the cap space for those incentives are rolled over to the next year.

108
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 06/29/2005 - 4:11pm

I have heard that the next available strategy for Owens is to threaten to retire.

OK. So maybe I'm missing something. What does retiring get him that sitting out a year wouldn't? How does it help him? It doesn't lessen his contractual obligations to the Eagles, as you noted.

The worst thing about sitting out this year is it makes it obvious for the Eagles what to do. Still don't cut him, because he stays in the second year of his contract, which is cheap. To me, Owens's best choice is obvious. Go to training camp. Start the season. Then tell the management "look, I want a restructured deal, or else I stop playing during the middle of the season." Can he not do that? Wouldn't that push his contract to the next year if he played long enough?

That's what I don't understand. If he retires, or sits out, why would the Eagles care? Yah, they lose a receiver this year. Big deal. That could've happened in the first week due to an injury anyway. Yah, it's TO, one of the best receivers in the league. But reworking a deal with him undermines large portions of their business model.

One thing I’ve heard GMs talk about is the “problem� the Eagles will have if they don’t have to pay TO next year. I know that sounds nutty, but they have to meet certain obligations for minimum team compensation under the current CBA.

That's even more confusing. I don't get it. The Eagles have the choice to prorate signing bonuses for cap purposes, don't they? If Owens doesn't play, why wouldn't they just accelerate several of the long prorated signing bonuses (like Sheppard or Brown) - poof, instant future cap space.

109
by snarf (not verified) :: Wed, 06/29/2005 - 4:25pm

Pat,

That seems like a more reasonable strategy to me. The only question is if he tries and the Eagles don't budge, how does that effect his value when he hits the open market. I know people here have pointed out that high moral character isn't a major pre-requisite for getting an highly paid NFL contract. But there's a difference between immoral character and having done things that made you a detriment to your last two teams. Being immoral makes you a bad person but not necesarily a bad player to have on a football team. Being a detriment implies the opposite.

110
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 06/29/2005 - 4:28pm

I might be wrong in both assumptions, but there you have it. That’s what I believe. The Eagles have regulated their cap better than most teams and they are not likely to pay Owens the latter part of the guaranteed money if they don’t have to. They will try to find value with other, younger WRs.

This is also a question I asked before. When have the Eagles ever done this? Other teams do, sure - Indy, definitely. But is there one contract of a guy currently in Philly that has a poison pill like that?

I mean, it's only $7.5M (or whatever the real number is). It's roughly what his cap number was in 2004. If his performance is at 2004 levels, why would you expect that they wouldn't pay it? They paid it then, and in 2006 it'll be a smaller percentage of the cap anyway. Several people here have acted like it's a foregone conclusion that the Eagles wouldn't pay that, and I just don't see it.

The only major money player the Eagles cut this year was Nate Wayne. Wayne's contract was accelerating - but he also sucked, and wasn't even starting by the end of the year. The contract was obviously drawn up assuming that he improved after he left Green Bay, and he didn't.

111
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 06/29/2005 - 4:35pm

It seems to me the best thing TO do right now is play out the year with the Eagles, stay healthy and hope he gets cut next offseason. Then he gets to be a free agent, and there's bound to be some team willing to pay him the 18 million he wants. I think Pat is right though, and the Eagles arn't going to cut him after 2006, TO is too good a player to let go to save 6 million, unless the team is in dire cap straights, which the Eagles are not.

112
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Wed, 06/29/2005 - 5:15pm

"Players “retire� in order to force a team to scratch the contract. They know the team won’t keep them on the hook if they refuse to play. The team will then void the contract voluntarily.

Everyone knows that."

Proving yet again that Matt Millen apparently doesn't know what everyone else does.

In case someone doesn't get the reference, I'm talking about when Barry Sanders pulled a similar stunt - he didn't want to play for the Lions anymore, and threatened to retire if they wouldn't trade him to a team that's won more than one playoff game in the last 50 years. They didn't, so he did. And yet, even though he retired, the Lions refused to release him so that he could go play for anyone else. Either he'd play for them, or he wouldn't play at all, but they surely weren't letting him go anywhere else.

Now if you're the Eagles and Owens throws a fit and retires rather than play for you, why would you void his contract and let him go play elsewhere? They could hold onto his rights indefinitely, if for no other reason than spite, which would make them even more popular in Philly. So again, unless there is something we're all missing, and the CBA quoted above (post 87) is missing something, or Owens' contract specifically states otherwise (which might be info Carl/NFLPA could get, or maybe we should write to Len P and ask), it sure looks like Owens gains absolutely nothing by retiring or sitting out the year. The Eagles aren't forced to cut him, he gains no additional service time, they can make him sit indefinitely out of spite. Retiring puts all of the power squarely on the Eagles and removes all of his bargaining position. Please explain why this is his best move and why it forces the Eagles, who would be on the hook for exactly zero money until he starts playing again, to release him.

On the other hand, Pat brings up an interesting idea. I think it was mentioned earlier that if he's on the roster for six games it counts as a full season contractually (I think, this whole thread is a blur and I frankly haven't read most of it). If so, what would the Eagles do if he played the first six (or however many it takes) games, then threatens to sit? The option to just make him sit no longer would hurt him, as it would if he 'retired' now. At that point Owens would have some leverage, although such a stunt might hurt future employment opportunities. Interesting thought nevertheless.

113
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 06/29/2005 - 5:29pm

If a player retires, what does their team gain by voiding the contract? There must be some benefit, or else Millen would have voided Barry Sanders' contract.

114
by Carl (not verified) :: Wed, 06/29/2005 - 6:08pm

The benefit for the team is that they don't have to resume paying the guy when he comes back.

The Eagles have the second highest payroll in the NFL. I believe the 2006 DGR SC breaks out, for them, at $106 million, which trails only the Redskins.

They don't have to pay Terrell Owens what will figure out to be a cap hit of about $9 million - $10 million with the LTBE.

That's about 9 percent of the team's total DGR-based SC compensation in one player.

If he's cut before the March bonus kicks in, I see, hmmm, about $1.5 million in dead money. But the dead money penalty rockets to $3 million in 2007.

Basically, the problem is that if the Eagles agree to keep him for 2006, they're pretty much on the hook for the next several years because the dead money kills them.

He certainly won't play in 2010 because he only gets base, and the base is high.

I tend to believe the time to cut him is either before the March bonus OR in 2009, when the dead money drops to only about $1 million.

By the way, the dead money on Pinkston if he's cut next year is $1.5 million. Uggggh. Yeah, that signing was brilliant.

Looking at the Eagles' compensation packages, however, I don't see why everyone believes they won't go into budget cutting in 2006.

Some will still be there, of course, because of the way their contracts were structured, unless they suffer career ending injuries -- Kearse, the QB, Darwin Walker. Brown, Sheppard. They're not going anywhere.

More than a few contracts out there seem to make 2006 a tantalizing year for cuts, however, especially when you look at the dead money penalties later on.

Now, if they shave some of those sums because they're beyond the third year of their contracts, then you end up with a very different scenario.

Looking at the numbers, I see Dawkins going, even with the $600,000+ in dead money. Michael Lewis. Akers is a little steep for a kicker in 2006. Westbrook (tender offer) probably won't stay if he remains efficient.

Buckhalter is probably gone after 2006. Perry has no dead money to worry about, so adios. Thomas.

Simoneau didn't really get a great deal, did he?

115
by MDS (not verified) :: Wed, 06/29/2005 - 6:47pm

"When have the Eagles ever done this? Other teams do, sure - Indy, definitely."

What are you talking about? You seem to be implying that Indy has done a bad job managing its cap. What makes you say that?

116
by Carl (not verified) :: Wed, 06/29/2005 - 7:00pm

Indianapolis had the lowest median cap numbers in the NFL last year. The Bengals had the highest.

Polian is a genius.

117
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Wed, 06/29/2005 - 7:02pm

Why would the cap hit change from year to year if he's retired? Are the numbers tied to the actual calendar year? From the CBA quoted above, it sounds like if he's 'retired' this year, everything just gets pushed back. That is, his salary/bonuses for this year move to next year, 06 moves to 07, etc. What part am I reading wrong here?

118
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Wed, 06/29/2005 - 7:19pm

LTBE is calculated by formula for a retired player, so all T.O.'s amazing abilities are not a factor in LTBE for cap purposes if he's nominally retired. Plus all the LTBEs he didn't earn the year he "retires" reduce the next year's cap number. It looks like free cap-manipulation room for the Eagles if T.O. retires. This cannot be a winning strategy for Owens.

And if Polian's a genius, how come the Colts can't afford a defense?

119
by Vern (not verified) :: Wed, 06/29/2005 - 7:28pm

Didn't Aaron say we should talk about Ty Law on this thread? There's a glaring object lesson in Law's situation even from a purely amoral "get the most I can" strategy perspective: don't get too enamored of what your "peers" make. If Law had given up trying to get Champ Baily money, and instead had accepted the "slap in the face" New England offer, he'd be sitting on millions he'll never get now.

An eerily similar situation to TO is the other "character problems/selfishness forced a trade to a contender" player -- Corey Dillon.

After a great year, he simply quietly redid his deal without going the high stakes press route. Maybe he got less guaranteed than his numbers suggested, but he's now sitting on a "bird in the hand" deal that continues to pay if he does well.

120
by Vince (not verified) :: Wed, 06/29/2005 - 8:08pm

Richie, #69: ESPN.com has stat pages for each team that have that information. You'll have to do it one team at a time, but it's out there.

121
by Adam H. (not verified) :: Wed, 06/29/2005 - 8:41pm

The personal stuff aside, threads like this are why I love this site. My normal friends won't even talk football with me any more.

122
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 06/30/2005 - 12:04am

What are you talking about? You seem to be implying that Indy has done a bad job managing its cap. What makes you say that?

Huh? No I wasn't. Indy just has several contracts that accelerate massively in later years - Manning's, famously. The Eagles really don't.

123
by HLF (not verified) :: Thu, 06/30/2005 - 11:15am

Aaron,

Could you please repost this thread one year from today? Alot of things have been said above as fact that a look back from the wayback machine twelve months later might make interesting (and besides, it'll be a slow news time then too) (smile).

Thanks!

124
by MDS (not verified) :: Thu, 06/30/2005 - 11:44am

I guess I misunderstood you, Pat. But I don't think having a contract that accelerates in later years is necessarily a bad thing. Teams and players often agree to deals like that with both sides knowing they'll renegotiate before the huge cap hit comes. Now, one side can always change its mind, but I think it's a little premature to criticize a team that's been consistently one of the best in football because of something that might happen in the future.

125
by Carl (not verified) :: Thu, 06/30/2005 - 12:07pm

Did I say the LTBE or other compensation forms would be retained after he retired? NO!!!!!!

Obviously, they would NOT.

No one is saying what would be TO's best strategy for him, although I can't imagine a competitor like him doing it.

He could play the requisite number of games under the CBA for vesting the season of paychecks and pro-rated bonuses, then "fake" an injury.

"Sorry, can't play. Second opinion says I can't play. I'll file a grievance if you try to make me play. Heck, I played hurt in the Super Bowl, so everyone knows if I say I'm hurt, I'm hurt."

The Eagles would then have to decide whether to put him on the IR and try to negotiate a buyout then, or they would have to deal with a cancer in the clubhouse.

Now, whatever his perceived faults, TO has never been a goldbricker. He loves the game of football. He plays hard. He plays hurt. No matter what you think of his holding out, he wants not only to be perceived as the best WR in the history of modern football, but he works to become just that.

Some people might say he's an arrogant jerk. Others might see that as a cockiness that comes from dominating DBs every Sunday for nearly a decade.

I can't see him ever "faking" an injury, which is why people in the league have started whispering that he might "retire" to force some action. They can't fathom him doing the other option (although it's been done by others).

If he did that, however, I wonder if the Eagles would leak confidential medical information to suggest he wasn't really all that hurt.

It seems they leaked internal discussions between Owens, his agent and the front office to the public to gain PR points, if the Inquirer is to be believed (as someone else mentioned here).

126
by Carl (not verified) :: Thu, 06/30/2005 - 12:22pm

By the way, no one has picked up on a cap philosophy employed by the Colts, Packers and several other teams in smaller markets (I'm not going to get into Upton's NFLPA perspective on DGR accounting that makes this so, so don't try to make me).

In sum, you have certain teams that believe in paying key people very high salaries, including pro-rated bonuses, while trying to find value at other places. This compensation strategy is based on their unique statistical modelling of how they can expect to win.

Yeah, every team does this. But the Colts do it exceptionally well. They've deduced which positions are most likely to remain injury-free, which ones are most conducive to keeping their key personnel with the big contracts healthy, and they're willing to spend money in these areas.

That's why you will see the Colts -- who have done very fine statistical research in this area -- paying premiums for QBs, WRs and O-linemen, not to mention a RB who really functions as a slot receiver in most of their sets.

This model has proven very good for them at winning in the regular season. See also, Rams before Warner got one too many concussions.

The model works, however, only as long as these key people are drafted, trained and retained, then kept healthy. While some people fault the Colts for not reaching the Super Bowl, I believe they (and the Packers, Vikings) should be lauded for finding a winning strategy that at least gives them the chance every season.

New England, in a sense, has been a different kind of model because the front office has attracted players who have agreed to play for less than their market value during their second contracts.

That's exceedingly rare in the NFL (or any pro sports; I can think of this premium for the Raiders, of course, with their problem children of the past, the Lakers in 2004 and, to a lesser extent, the Yankees with guys like Sheffield, although the models in these other sports are very different0.

I don't like the "genius" tag, but I've always believed Polian is a guy who deserves it. He's genuinely brilliant and never gets the credit he deserves for putting together a tradition of excellence in a league with great parity.

He's also done with with a team that's led the NFL in injuries every season for the last five years, but the injuries haven't come to the most important positions.

That fact he doesn't like me personally has had no influence on my respect for him as a great football mind. I hope one day he's in Canton.

127
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 06/30/2005 - 1:19pm

Now, one side can always change its mind, but I think it’s a little premature to criticize a team that’s been consistently one of the best in football because of something that might happen in the future.

I wasn't criticizing Indianapolis. I was just saying that Philly doesn't typically do that.

In fact, I think the Indianapolis contracts are smart - for the player, it gives them huge encouragement to play so well that the team can't cut them, which given that the contract is so obviously impossible, implies they have to work out a contract extension.

But I just don't see any evidence that TO's bonuses in 2006 are like that at all. They're small - his cap number in 2006 will be comparable to his cap number in 2004. And if the Eagles were pleased with the performance they got out of him then (why wouldn't they be?) I can't see any reason why they wouldn't be willing to pay the same amount (in terms of cap space) if they expect the same performance.

All of the big-name losses I can think of on the Eagles have been free agents - Vincent and Taylor, Trotter and Douglas (mark I), Staley. The cuts that the Eagles have made over the past years have been players that sucked (i.e. whose performance has dropped considerably), not players who got too expensive, but were still good.

He could play the requisite number of games under the CBA for vesting the season of paychecks and pro-rated bonuses, then “fake� an injury.

Well, that's pretty much what I said - I just forgot that the most obvious way to ditch out of a season is to fake an injury.

128
by Carl (not verified) :: Thu, 06/30/2005 - 2:59pm

Pat, the problem comes with the "dead money" in 2007, if the birds pick up his deal in March of 2006.

They're on the hook, really, until 2009, unless they want to waste $2 - $3 million. While that will be, maybe, about 3 percent of their total payrolls in those years, they really get nothing of value from that.

The time to cut him would be before March of 2006, unless you're so pleased with his performance that you wouldn't mind keeping him around until his mid-30s.

If Philly wins the Super Bowl and TO is the MVP, it will make for an interesting problem.

Just remember that the injury rates for WRs are the highest on the offense and that Philadelphia has a lot of guaranteed money wrapped up in players at high-risk positions, including Kearse's huge contract.

Baltimore got into that problem a few years ago and have had to claw their way out. You don't want to have a large bulk of possible "dead money" tied up in aging players at vulnerable positions.

It's far better to put your cash into QBs and O-linemen (See Polian, Bill), but, if I may borrow a line from our Secretary of Defense, you pay for the team you're given.

129
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 06/30/2005 - 3:04pm

Pat, the problem comes with the “dead money� in 2007, if the birds pick up his deal in March of 2006.

Why is his dead money any higher? I thought dead money just arose from prorated signing bonuses. What else gets prorated?

130
by Steve (not verified) :: Thu, 06/30/2005 - 3:14pm

"Pat, the problem comes with the “dead money� in 2007, if the birds pick up his deal in March of 2006.

They’re on the hook, really, until 2009, unless they want to waste $2 - $3 million. While that will be, maybe, about 3 percent of their total payrolls in those years, they really get nothing of value from that."

Why is this the case? I was under the impression that the Roster bonus payable in '06 counts against that year's cap (which is why the base for that year is so low.

131
by Carl (not verified) :: Thu, 06/30/2005 - 4:29pm

A good discussion of cap implications (including "cap overhang") can be found at www.footballoutsiders.com/ramblings.php?p=2397&cat=1.

As I understand it, the cap "hit" on Owens, should he play, are as follows:

2006: $6.2 million
2007: $5.9 million
2008: $6.9 million

He had a laughably low signing bonus of $2.3 million pro-rated over the first six years, a $6.2 million bonus for making the roster in 2004-05, and $2.5 million signing bonus AND $5 million roster bonus coming to him in 2006, if the Eagles pick up that option in March.

If TO were cut today, the "dead money" for the Eagles this year would be $1.9 million. They have given no indication they will do this, even though TO refused to attend his mandatory camp.

Let's say the Eagles decide they now love TO and want to keep him in 2006. They have agreed to pay him $0.77 million in base, $1 million in pro-rated bonus, $5 million in "roster" bonus, plus another $.23 million in incentives.

That equals $1.5 million in "dead money" if the Eagles decide to give up on TO and cut him.

If they make the same decision in 2007, they have to give up more TWICE as much money.

That's because TO gets $5.5 million in base (which will climb $1 million more every year of the deal) and $1 million in pro-rated bonus.

So, the Eagles have a choice. They can forget the March option and be on the hook for $1.5 million in dead money for one year.

Or, they can pick up his option and, if he doesn't work out or becomes a jerk and they have to get rid of him, deal with a $3 million pay out in 2007.

Choose. Choose wisely.

132
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 06/30/2005 - 4:54pm

Let’s say the Eagles decide they now love TO and want to keep him in 2006. They have agreed to pay him $0.77 million in base, $1 million in pro-rated bonus, $5 million in “roster� bonus, plus another $.23 million in incentives.

Er? TO's signing bonus was $2.3M - over 6 years, that's something like $0.4M, not $1M.

If they make the same decision in 2007, they have to give up more TWICE as much money. That’s because TO gets $5.5 million in base (which will climb $1 million more every year of the deal) and $1 million in pro-rated bonus.

I still don't get it. Dead money, as far as I understood it (and from the article, which I just reread) is just the remainder of the amortized bonus. It's money that they've already paid out, but which got spread over the life of the player contract, right?

Only the $2.3M was amortized. Everything else is roster bonus. 2 years of the 6 have been paid (assuming 2005) - so 2/3 of the bonus is still on the cap. That's something like $1.5M if they cut him in 2006, which is what you said.

But what I don't understand is why it would go up afterwards. In 2007, they've paid off more of the signing bonus - half, in fact. So the dead money should be ~$1.1M, not $3M.

I don't understand how dead money can increase over time, unless you're amortizing something else as well.

133
by Carl (not verified) :: Thu, 06/30/2005 - 5:55pm

No. No. No.

The thing to key on is the March, 2006 option.

If the Eagles pick that up, they INCREASE the possible "dead money" penalty to $3 million, if they then decide to cut him.

There are two "major" bonuses involved. Think of the contract as really three "contracts." The first one included a relatively small signing bonus and a hefty roster bonus in 2004-05.

The second part of the deal includes a $5 million bonus plus the wage, LTBE I laid out. Under NFL accounting rules, if they agree to that then they are on the hook for about $3 million in 2007 "dead money" if they then decide to cut TO.

A third part of the contract will never be realized. No one seriously believes TO will play for them in 2009 or 2010.

But if the Eagles decide to take the option in March of 2006, they certainly are saying they expect him around through 2008.

Or so I've been told.

134
by Carl (not verified) :: Thu, 06/30/2005 - 6:15pm

This might all be irrelevant because the wire is moving a story citing ABC as the source. Apparently, Philly and Oakland are in talks on a Porter/Owens swap.

135
by ElJefe (not verified) :: Thu, 06/30/2005 - 6:42pm

I agree with Carl's numbers: 1st bonus counts ~$380K per year, 2nd bonus counts $625K per year. Cut the player in 2007 with 3 years remaining on bonus 1 (~$1.15MM) and 3 years remaining on bonus 2 ($1.875MM), and the acceleration of the signing bonuses results in a cap charge of $3 MM.

But I think this is missing the forest for the trees. If the Eagles pick up the option on TO in 2006, then they have a choice in 2007: Pay him $5.5 MM to play, or take a $3 MM cap charge to have him not play. (Option 3 is to have cut him in 2006, and be paying him nothing.)

If the reason they would be cutting TO is because Greg Lewis and Reggie Brown are going to be their starting WRs, then they likely wouldn't have to pay very much to replace TO on the roster as they would be looking for a backup WR (if they don't already have that player on the roster). So on the roster or off might be transparent financially (or slightly favorable for cutting TO). There's also the consideration that the $3 MM is "imaginary" money that has already been paid out while the $5.5 MM is an actual expenditure.

Rather than dead money in 2007, I suspect a much stronger case can be made for cutting TO in 2006 based on paying $7 MM to be on the roster and only $1.5 MM not to be. (And actually ~$8.5 MM in real money.) Cutting TO in 2006 leads to a much more significant real savings. But if TO has a 2005 like 2004, he's probably worth $7 MM for the 2006 season.

Dead money causes problems when you are paying it to a lot of players at once, or you have to eat a very bad contract. I don't believe $3 MM is a big number for dead money, and should not be causing a lot of problems on its own. If you want to make the case that this is somehow prohibitive for the Eagles, I'd expect it actually isn't about TO but is about 4-5 other contracts that it is expected the Eagles would have to eat.

Given that in the last 5 years, in my view, the Eagles have felt compelled to cut exactly zero players that were still capable performers, I suspect they have the "other" contracts under control.

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by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 06/30/2005 - 8:20pm

There are two “major� bonuses involved. Think of the contract as really three “contracts.� The first one included a relatively small signing bonus and a hefty roster bonus in 2004-05.

... in other words, the bonus in 2006 is a prorated bonus. I had thought from some of the cap numbers I had seen in 2006 that it was a non-amortized bonus.

137
by malene, cph, dk (not verified) :: Sat, 07/02/2005 - 10:17am

regarding the Law situation:

check out this hilarious quote from PantherInsider.com on Law's comments to King:

"Law who made claims earlier in the week that the Chiefs had made him a $40 million dollar contract offer were not accurate according to our source. The offer that Law was referring to came from his agent Carl Poston and not the Chiefs. Poston told the Chiefs if they agreed to that price; that would seal the deal for Law’s services. Obviously the Chiefs rejected the offer and instead made the trade for Patrick Surtain."

Oh, you don't say! - isn't it cute in an embarassing way that Poston made the Chiefs a ridiculous offer, then made Law believe that was his actual market value? great pal, that Poston dude.