Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

28 Jul 2005

Surprise! Walker Shows up at Packers' Camp

What if Drew Rosenhaus threw a big party for all his holdouts and no one came? First TO says he'll be at camp, now Javon Walker shows up. I wonder if the Rosenhaus strategy has changed, and now players will participate in camp but threaten to walk before the first game if their demands aren't met. I can't think of any players who have done that, although I remember Priest Holmes threatened to do it before the Chiefs re-did his deal.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 28 Jul 2005

28 comments, Last at 29 Jul 2005, 6:30pm by Pat

Comments

1
by S (not verified) :: Thu, 07/28/2005 - 12:47pm

As a Packers fan, I was fully preparing to go into the season without Walker. This is like a cheery on top of a sundae.

2
by MDS (not verified) :: Thu, 07/28/2005 - 12:53pm

And as a Lions, I was fully preparing to go into the season without having to face Walker. This is like a turd on top of a sundae.

3
by Basilicus (not verified) :: Thu, 07/28/2005 - 1:00pm

I remember reading somewhere that Rosenhaus, though he often threatens a client hold out and uses this as leverage, has very rarely actually gone through with one and normally tries to avoid them. I'm wondering that if this is true, then after this offseason if teams might catch on to this ploy and realize he's very unlikely to hold someone out of camp. On the other hand, I'm wondering if this might make teams more willing to sit down with him, knowing that he usually tries to avoid disrupting the team (though I'd doubt that's his primary motive, it is still an effect) in a lengthy hold-out.

4
by Dman (not verified) :: Thu, 07/28/2005 - 1:06pm

I saw rosenhaus on espn after TO announced he was going to show. It didn't look at all like rosenhaus was consulted on the decision. I have a feeling these guys are figuring out that their teams are not going to budge and that the only people who are going to end up losing out as a result of their holdout is themselves.

5
by Dman (not verified) :: Thu, 07/28/2005 - 1:07pm

I saw rosenhaus on espn after TO announced he was going to show. It didn't look at all like rosenhaus was consulted on the decision. I have a feeling these guys are figuring out that their teams are not going to budge and that the only people who are going to end up losing out as a result of their holdout is themselves.

6
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 07/28/2005 - 1:14pm

I always thought a player could get much more leverage by threatening to hold out of regualr season games than pre-season or training camps. A player who missed the training/conditioning he would have gotten in training camp isn't going to be as valuable as he would have been. Also by going through with practice, the player shows the team he's willing to work, if properly compensated.

7
by Ray (not verified) :: Thu, 07/28/2005 - 1:27pm

Yeah, but the problem is missing games costs a player a lot more money than missing practice. As far as Walker and Owens go, we'll just have to wait and see how it plays out. I hope Walker showing up sets a precident that TO will follow.

8
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Thu, 07/28/2005 - 1:54pm

Players are fined for missing training camp, but there isn't much more a team can do. The players aren't really paid their salaries during training camp. However, a player that sits out a game, of their own volition, doesn't get paid for that game, and has essentially forfeited 1/16 of their pay for the season. The player may want more money, but at the same time they're rarely going to start giving up their own game checks.

Although that's one way it could work! If the player sits out a whole year, the team could potentially (assuming salary cap room) now add (missed year's salary)/(number of years of new contract) to a new deal! Then they'll get "paid" more per year!

Brilliant!

T.

9
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 07/28/2005 - 3:34pm

In Owens's case, it's more than that, though. His signing bonus was contingent upon him actually attending team functions. So him missing training camp could be more in the millions of dollars range rather than the few thousands.

10
by brett favre (not verified) :: Thu, 07/28/2005 - 5:31pm

i can throw interceptions with or without javon walker in the lineup. Now excuse me while i pimp my life story to another media outlet.

11
by Duane (not verified) :: Thu, 07/28/2005 - 5:37pm

I, for one, am hoping this simply reflects the players' taking matters into their own hands. An agent is supposed to represent his client, and work toward that client's goals. I've gotten the impression this off-season that Drew Rosenhaus doesn't really represent his clients' goals, but rather feeds them a goal of his own and then pursues it. It creeps me out when he constantly talks about what "we" want, and what's best for "us" when referring to Walker's situation. Maybe Javon just decided to what Javon wants.

12
by Pat F. (not verified) :: Thu, 07/28/2005 - 6:03pm

Duane,
If I recall correctly, Walker actually fired his old agent and hired Rosenhaus this year, which suggests that the holdout was Walker's idea. I can't say I blame him, but I think it became apparent quickly that he had very little leverage, and that the team wasn't going to concede on the threat.

Rosenhaus may well have advised him to give it up this year and try again next summer. He may well be a selfish, money-grubbing weasel, but he's definitely not dumb. I'd think that if he senses that his client will lose the holdout, he's savvy enough to call it off before they risk losing money long-term(missing camp and being out of shape for the season, hurting the player's numbers and making him less likely to get a fat contract afterward).

13
by C (not verified) :: Thu, 07/28/2005 - 6:30pm

T.O. will make about $125,000 per game this year. Fines per day for missed training camp is something like $10,000 per day. So showing to training camp and not the game is foolish. Also, as indicated, missing games can lead to fines, in addition to not getting paid. T.O.'s contract requires him to participate, or lose part of his signing bonus, too. I've been saying it for weeks: T.O. is showing up and he's playing. If he fakes an injury, the Eagles organization will go after him with great vengence. Rosenhaus has done nothing for T.O. except hurt the great love Philly fans had for his client. We made his Jersey number one, chanted his name, etc.: he had local endorsement deals lined up for life, and he blew it.

14
by jack (not verified) :: Thu, 07/28/2005 - 10:47pm

"i can throw interceptions with or without javon walker in the lineup. Now excuse me while i pimp my life story to another media outlet.
::brett favre — 7/28/2005 @ 4:31 pm"

I can make shitty posts with or without being on topic. Now excuse me while I go skewer some more popular figures because I am just that cool.

Also, when 92.4 passer ratings become a sign of poor play, please do post some more witty commentary.

15
by jack (not verified) :: Thu, 07/28/2005 - 10:48pm

"We made his Jersey number one" if by "we" you mean rappers and skinny white boy nationwide then sure.

16
by South Jersey Mike (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 12:27am

You would have been stuck with the jersey anyway when the Eagles declined to pay him the big roster bonus next year.

Re-Blown lcoal endorsements

In an area where the Eagles are clearly #1 now in fan interest, who does have any local endorsements? McNabb has his soup but I cant think of one other player that has any local deals.

17
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 1:20am

In an area where the Eagles are clearly #1 now in fan interest, who does have any local endorsements?
FB Jon Ritchie is hawking laser eye surgery on cable. Jevon Kearse was advertising travel services. (I think. A car and a charter plane were involved. I usually mute commercials.)

Neither seemed like a big deal to me while I was watching the spots, but neither guy is as universally beloved as Troy Brown is in BankNorth country. T.O. could have been a similarly iconic figure in Greater Philly, at least until he tried to throw McNabb under the bus.

Maybe he'll get another chance.

18
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 1:31am

Jack (#15 )--
“We made his Jersey number one� if by “we� you mean rappers and skinny white boy nationwide then sure.
Um, no. Enormous numbers of Eagle fans bought that #81 jersey and showed it at the Linc every Sunday. That vaulted Owens to the top in jersey sales, until someone in Pittsburgh beat him out mid-season, when all the Steeler fans went nuts over their new guy. Roethel-something.

Now it's Moss on the Raiders. So Rosenhaus is talking old news when he discusses jersey sales.

19
by South Jersey Mike (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 1:59am

Star, I never saw/heard either of those spots. I have a hard time believing that he blew anything significant locally given his personality and lack of any local roots.

20
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 2:52am

I have a hard time believing that he blew anything significant locally given his personality and lack of any local roots.
Well, we'll never know now. But T.O.'s personality gave him a certain appeal in commercials (for deodorant, the NFL Network, and whatever product he was hawking with Ron Mexico in that one spot), and local roots played no role for Troy Brown, who grew up in South Carolina and went to school at Marshall.

If T.O. had worked half as hard trying to market himself as he did trying to get more money out of the Eagles, we'd both have our fill of T.O. commercials.

21
by Moses (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 9:04am

"I remember reading somewhere that Rosenhaus, though he often threatens a client hold out and uses this as leverage, has very rarely actually gone through with one and normally tries to avoid them."

If that's so, it's a dumb stratagy to make it so public. It creates animosity and brings attention to the struggle, often forcing a team like the Eagles or Patriots to be less likely to quietly re-negotiate as this becomes a public "manliness" issue.

22
by Duane (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 10:24am

Re: My assertion (#11) that Javon Walker's, and others' decisions to report to training camp are their own. This from the Wisconsin State Journal: "Agent Drew Rosenhaus, who represents Walker and (Grady) Jackson, did not return messages." Why would Drew Rosenmouth clam up right when his clients are doing the opposite of what he has been "advising" if not because it was not his idea?

23
by C (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 10:35am

Re: 15, 19, 20, etc. In terms of local endorsements, tons, TONS of local sports guys hawk for car dealerships and a variety of other local business. Blue Cross was using Dick Vermeil as their spokesperson 20 years after he took the Eagles to the Super Bowl. Guys like John Ritchie, Chad Lewis, Hollis Thomas, Tre Thomas, John Runyon, all do radio spots and appear in print advertising. Look at the car advertisements in the local paper on Sunday. T.O. was HUGELY popular here in Philadelphia. When I went to the Super Bowl, people were chanting and singing his name. He could have been an icon in this city for life and he screwed it up.

24
by Ray (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 10:43am

#16 "You would have been stuck with the jersey anyway when the Eagles declined to pay him the big roster bonus next year."

We can't be sure they would have done that. Who was the last player the Eagles cut for salary cap reasons? It's been a while, because the Eagles front office has been good about planning for this stuff.

If that really is what would have happened, then I'd say TO is within every right to try and get a new contract, and I'd be pissed with the Eagles for screwing him over. But I think the Eagles would have paid him the money (and hopefully still will).

25
by South Jersey Mike (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 12:01pm

Ray, I would be surprised if they ever announced that anyone was cut for salary cap reasons. The team would use his age and injury history as justification. It doesnt matter now because there is no way that he lasts beyond this season. Having to bring T.O. in had to be a blow to Reed's massive ego and this organization that thinks it invented football here.

C,apparently I missed the lucrative car dealer endorsement market Thats what I get for driving a twelve year old car. I was thinking of guys like Vermeil, Bergey, and Jaworski. All people with a much different personality then TO and also lived here in the offseason and when their playing days were done.

"If T.O. had worked half as hard trying to market himself as he did trying to get more money out of the Eagles, we’d both have our fill of T.O. commercials."

As much as I like T.O. as a player, Im glad we'll be missing this.

26
by C (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 1:06pm

Well, don't forget the Jaworski became much more beloved in Philly after he retired. I remember him being booed at the Vet and everyone clamoring for Randall Cunningham to start full time. Bergey and Jaws were both not media-friendly players when the played in Philadelphia. They were both tough players who played hard every down, despite injuries. I don't know if T.O. would necessarily reach that level because he's a flashy sort of guys, and Philadelphians don't always like flashy people, but playing in the Super Bowl on a broken leg and rehabing the way T.O. rehabbed showed an amazing level of toughness.

Also, I agree that the Eagles have almost never made a salary cap reltated cut. The only one I can think of is Nate Wayne. If T.O. has a season this year like last year, they can't use age or performance as an excuse.

27
by Jero D. (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 6:22pm

Conspiracy!!! Something is up Drew's sleeve, Walker could get fined $8,000/day during camp, not exactly pocket change to his $600,000ish base salary this season. Go to camp avoid the fines and begin a sit-out just before the first game. Sure he's out about $40,000 per game but if he participates in the camp he doesn't have to pay in. Packerland, can we say Sterling Sharpe?

28
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 6:30pm

Also, I agree that the Eagles have almost never made a salary cap reltated cut. The only one I can think of is Nate Wayne. If T.O. has a season this year like last year, they can’t use age or performance as an excuse.

Nate Wayne was not a salary cap related cut. Nate was cut because he wasn't a starter anymore (he was pushed from the lineup by Simoneau/Trotter), and the Eagles have plenty of backups.

Cutting Wayne certainly gave them salary cap room, but the reason was because he wasn't performing, not because they couldn't afford him.