Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

05 Nov 2005

T.O. Out for Detrimental Conduct

The Philadelphia Eagles have announced they will not play Terrell Owens Sunday night against the Washington Redskins. Whether he'll be listed as suspended or deactivated, and whether he'll be paid for the game, is not clear. But Owens is out, and the Eagles say it has nothing to do with his injury and everything to do with his mouth. Our colleague Jay Glazer reports the decision was made after the Eagles spoke with the league office on Friday with regards to their options after Owens bashed the team.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 05 Nov 2005

92 comments, Last at 09 Nov 2005, 12:39am by Donovan Mcnabb


by Adam (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 2:32pm

What a nancyboy.

by Phil (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 2:32pm


by Steelersin06 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 2:32pm

I wish I had known this before I took the Eagles and 3 points.

by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 2:38pm

#1 I'm guessing you mean Andy Reid. For chrissakes, Owens is not only one of the best receivers in the league, he may be the Eagles best player right now. Who gives a damn what he says? They knew what they were getting two years ago and the knew what they would get by keeping him around after this summer. They're paying him so he might as well play. Can Reid really believe this team will be better without Owens?

by Adam (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 2:40pm

Terrell Owens is that guy that every chick in school thinks is incredibly hot and studly but is a total bastard in terms of his attitude towards said girl, yet because he's so studish every girl thinks they can change him and make him their prince charming......Regardless of how many have failed before her. So they keep trying. And they keep trying. And they keep trying. And they keep getting cheated on and treated like cow feces.

Terrel Owens = Something that starts with a D, ends with G, and has oucheba in the middle of it.

by Adam (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 2:43pm

I suppose Andy Reid could be considered a nancyboy for actually acquiring T.O. and thinking he would fit in on a team that required contact with other humans......but....yeah.

Besides, even without T.O. The Eagles still have their running game to fall back on.......

by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 2:45pm

The one big play aside, Owens did not look like the best player in the league - or even the best WR - against the Broncos.

A 51% catch ratio - and a lot of those are not poorly thrown passes - plus 13th in DPAR.... He COULD be the best non-QB in the league - he certainly has all the skills - but he's not playing like it so far this season.

by Phil (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 2:48pm

RE: #4 If done correctly, the eagles will not have to pay him. See similar case with Keyshaun Johnson in Tampa and Terry Glenn in NE. In each case those teams were indeed better off without their most explosive playmaker on the field. Although I agree with you that the eagles knew what they were getting (or should have anyway), that doesn't excuse TOs antics.

On another note, does anybody else wonder why Drew Rosenhaus (sp.?) has withdrawn himself from this situation?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 3:11pm

Unless one is privy to everything (and hardly anybody on the outside is) that has transpired within the organization, it is hard to have an informed opinion on the wisdom of the Eagles doing this. It is easily credible, however, that a highly paid and talented employee's behavior can become so disruptive or negative that managing the other employees become extremely problematic, thus leaving suspension as the only option for the employer. Knowing the precise details of Owens' contract is also required, if one really wishes to accurately evaluate
the situation.

Not for the first time I wonder when it became a corollary to the Laws of Thermodynamics that star wideouts are irredeemable a-holes, and often stupid ones, at that.

by Kibbles (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 3:15pm

Re #7: Even including the big play against the Broncos, he wasn't the best player on the field. Remember, his big play came against a Champ Bailey playing at maybe 60%. Champ later took himself out of the game because he realized he was hurting his team. TO may be a remarkable athlete, but he doesn't outrun a healthy Champ Bailey. Just wouldn't happen.

Anyway, is there a stupider athlete out there than Terrell Owens? I mean, his #1 concern is getting paid, but is there a single athlete out there who has done more in the past 6 months to hurt his own future earning potential? I have him in a fantasy league and was excited that he was actually going to start, but screw it, I'm glad he's getting suspended. And I hope he gets suspended for the rest of the season. And then I hope the Eagles cut him, and he gets signed somewhere to a one season contract for the veteran minimum. Unfortunately, Ricky Williams has already proven that coaches will ignore ANYTHING as long as you have talent and as long as it happened to someone else.

While we're at it, I think the Vikings should just cut every single player involved in the cruise, regardless of how good they are or the salary cap ramifications. I mean, just blow it all up and start again. It's not like they'd be much worse off as a pseudo-expansion squad, and maybe then someone in the league could actually have a moral leg to stand on.

by Kuato (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 3:23pm

Fantasy teams across the country weep.

by Kibbles (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 3:38pm

Grr... had to post again. Seriously, idiot, if you're so freaking upset that the media takes everything you say out of context, then stop talking to the media!

And give me a break. The media doesn't go out of its way to make you look like a jerkoff. You're just a jerkoff. There are PLENTY of other people the media doesn't like, and you don't see the media making news stories out of the ridiculous things THEY say. Why not? Because they don't say ridiculous things. If you're so sick of the media, stop nuzzling up to it every five minutes. Just ask Sauerbrun how many times HE'S been misquoted by the media. Or any Denver Broncos O-lineman, for that matter.

by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 3:52pm

Kibbles, remember, in through the nose, out through the mouth.

I just don't know how the Eagles offense, which is not great at the moment, is helped by not having Owens. Westbrook has disappeared from the gameplan, L.J. Smith has fumbleitis, Greg Lewis was supposed to be the 3rd WR and Reggie Wayne is a rookie WR on a team not known for developing WRs. With nine games to play, an injured QB and no running game, this sure looks like a give-up move.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 4:10pm

Harris (#13 )--

Owens absolutely wrecked team chemistry is San Francisco on his way out the door, and everybody involved let him. Andy Reid is not allowing that on Philadelphia, and good for him.

And with Owens out, maybe Reid re-discovers the "running" section in his playbook. Heck, the Patriots won a Superbowl in 2001 with running backs Antowain Smith and Kevin Faulk, and WRs Troy Brown and David Patten. How much worse are Westbrook, Gordon, Greg Lewis, and Reggie Brown (current #2 on depth chart)?

by LTA (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 4:40pm

Can anybody provide a little more info on this "Conduct detrimental to the team" clause in the CBA? The impression I am getting from some of the articles around the web is that this is a catch-all phrase that allows a team, at its discretion, to suspend a player without pay for up to 4 games. But what is the appeals process? If it were just the team's discretion, as some websites are claiming, how come this clause isn't widely abused??? I mean, player X is playing bad and makes a veiled comment about play-calling, why not suspend him 4 games without pay? Most articles are really confusing on this point.

by dan (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 4:41pm

"Team chemistry" is a bunch of bunk. If there is anyone on that team who can't function at their best because of something a teammate said in an interview, those are the guys who should be suspended. What could be more unprofessional than having your performance affected by someone's opinion of you?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 4:42pm

I really would like to know what Owens' Wonderlic score was. Maybe Rosenhaus should adopt minimal intelligence standards for taking on new clients; just having a five minute phone conversation with T.O. might have a measurable negative impact on one's own intellectual capacities! Heck, perhaps T.O.-grade stupidity is akin to radioactive iodine, and exposure remains a danger for eons!

by Hines Ward (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 4:46pm

#9, Will Allen: "Not for the first time I wonder when it became a corollary to the Laws of Thermodynamics that star wideouts are irredeemable a-holes, and often stupid ones, at that."

You really think so? All of them?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 4:53pm

dan,"team chemistry" may be a bunch of bunk, but if you have ever managed a group of human beings, you know that how they interact with one another has an impact on group performance. Like I said above, nobody on the outside really has enough detailed knowledge to have an informed opinion on the wisdom of the Eagles decision to suspend Owens. It is erroneous to think, however, that one employee's publicly or privately vocalized opinions pertaining to the performance of other employees can be disregarded, in terms of their impact on group performance.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 5:00pm

Hines, this a colloquial forum about football, and not a peer-reviewed journal, and is thus given to a bit of hyperbole. My apologies. However, the position does seem inclined to bring forth some, gosh, shall we say, intellectually challenged, unusually egocentric (even by the standards of professional athletes), personalities?

by Calbuzz (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 5:10pm

Re: #16 - Team chemistry is not necessarily bunk. It is obviously tough to measure. But it's a combination of teamwork and talent that makes these teams go. Different rules for one guy on the team can poison the whole team. Look an NE, able to throw in spare parts over the last couple years. Look at Seattle D this year, where a lot of people didn't see a big talent increase from last year. And, I would say, look at "homefield advantage," and underdog wins. These things have an element of team identity to them.

by Adam (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 5:38pm

Wide Recievers are the most overated position in football. I just thought i'd throw that out there.

This is a team that went, what? 47-15 in the 4 years before T.O. Came to town? And that was with Todd Pinkston, James Trash, and Freddie Mitchell.

I think they'll be okay with Reggie Brown.

by Angry Fan (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 6:05pm

Have you guys read the interview that actually got him suspended? I don't see any conduct detrimental to the team there...the truth is that the Eagles' season is over and they want to deflect attention away from the real reasons why they stink: MANAGEMENT TOTALLY SCREWED UP THIS OFF-SEASON.

I'm sick and tired of the Eagle's cheap front office, and - for once - a player actually stook up to the commies running this league and they didn't like it.

God forbid anyone criticize Donovan. You know, I think Rush Limbaugh was right. If that was Jake Plummer choking against NE in the 4th quarter everyone in the world would have been all over his performance.

Here comes TO and he tells the truth, but everyone loves to hate him b/c he's brash and cocky and good.

Go read his interview and tell me one thing that he said that isn't true.

We need a new owner - these guys are running the team into the ground. TO was the best thing that ever happened to this franchise. For once, we were dominant. Don't sell me the garbage about how good we were before. Yeah, we won w/o him but barely. And for him to come back and play in that Super Bowl like that - well - he is the real deal.

To not even be willing to listen to a contract renegotiation is cheap.

That is what the Eagles are.

Everything from their stadium to the way they treat their fans to the parking to the way they treat their players.

They are low-class.

I've had it with them...this was a childish move.

If you really wanted to suspend him the time was before the season started because I read this interview and there's nothing here that is "detrimental to the team".

And to the clowns here who think he is selfish, you don't know anything.


by Disgruntled TO Owner (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 6:31pm

Every TO Owner in the world must rise up against Andy Reid! Now I'll have to play Courtney Roby. My team is already 5-3...F Reid.

by South Jersey Mike (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 6:40pm

Just for the peverse entertainment value, I hope the Eagles continue with that offensive game plan from Denver.

by Browns Dude (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 7:01pm

"Yeah, we won w/o him but barely"

That's pretty funny. As a Browns fan, I'll give you this tiny violin. Some say it's the world's smallest, so at least you'll have that.

by Freddie Mitchell (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 7:02pm

Im available.

by Kuato (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 7:20pm

With an indefinate timeline, TO could be playing a week from now. Only time will tell.


by masocc (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 7:28pm

Re: #8. Ummm, actually Me-Shawn got paid. Via the CBA, the Eagles can suspend TO for 4 games without pay. After that, they can either:

a) pay him to do situps and interviews in his driveway

b) cut him, and face the humiliation of another NFC team picking him up and walking (or passing) all over them

C) Renegotiate TO's contract and play him. The new contract WILL pay TO the price he's been campaigning for, however there will be one stipulation that slips by TO and Rosenhaus. TO tries incessantly to complain about this stipulation but for obvious reasons, can't:

"The undersigned shall be required to wear his helmet at all times. This helmet shall always be equipped with a ball gag for a mouthpiece, and the 'mouthpiece' must always be in place. Failure to wear either the helmet or 'mouthpiece' constitutes breach of contract, and requires full and immediate restitution of any and all wages due or received."

I vote C.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 7:34pm

I guess all that noise he made about money, and being called a "warrior" for his play in the Superbowl, and recognition for his 100th TD catch, was just a smokescreen. Nope, all about winning, that's T.O.

Right. Got it.

by Bizarro Ron Mexico (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 7:50pm

Yes, let's get rid of that brash, confident, controversial wide receiver...that worked so well for the Vikings, right?

In the current mentality of the NFL--True Team Players being idolized, presumably to market to the blue-collar demographics, with self-congratulatory Pats and Steelers fans soaking it all up--TO certainly doesn't fit in. And yet, his jersey is the highest-selling, if memory serves. I'd much rather watch TO or Peyton Manning perform amazing feats than watch NE win yet another Super Bowl by two or three points or watch Big Ben's pitiful passing game. Just call me a sensationalism-lover.

I'm no Eagles fan, but I love TO. He fulfills both of the main NFL requirements: he's a great player (the game) and he's never boring (the entertainment). If, say, Brett Favre had done what TO did in the SB--coming back from a major injury and having a great game, even though they lost--the media would have been even more awash with Favre love than usual. But when TO did it, well, it's meaningless, apparently.

If I were TO, I'd have called out McNabb for his lukewarm SB performance, too. And I'd be speaking out now, as well, though I don't think Favre is the answer.

I suspect that TO will be with a new team, next year. And I suspect that the "The Eagles don't need TO!" people will end up much like the "The Vikings don't need Randy Moss!" people--i.e., hoping that no-one remembers that they ever made the claim.

by tom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 7:54pm

re #23, I'm presuming you go to games and such, Angry Fan, and admittedly I can't comment on that as I live in the UK and have never even stepped foot inside the USA, so I can't comment on how the fans are treated at games and such, but I feel I have to point out a few things. Let's say the Salary Cap didn't exist, and the issue of taking money from other players' pockets didn't exist, and the eagles decided to pay Owens a few more million, what do you think would happen to the parking prices at the Eagles stadium then? The eagles are big on cap space this year, but I imagine that all came in handy when they needed to hire people like France, Moreno and Cortez, this new punter and the seemingly endless flood of replacements they need this season to bolster their squad and do the things he can't do. That's not communism; it's sound business sense and contingency planning. As for Owens' original gripe, I don't know the full ins and outs of his contract, as I imagine it is a long and wordy legal document that is kept somewhere nice and safe. I don't know if it's unfair or not. I have to admit, I really don't think there's any way he'd ever end up earning the full $49 million; he'd have to be playing at a high enough level for the Eagles to keep him, right through till the end of the 2010 season, to earn it all, and he's 32 now, and picking up more and more little niggling injuries each year. If he didn't realise that when he signed it, however, he'd have to be some kind of idiot who acts without thinking things through, which of course isn't true. Oh, hang on...

by tom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 7:58pm

hmm. I was going to edit that, but I kept thinking of more angry things to say. I think at its current length, it illustrates just how annoyed I am with Owens. the worst thing about it all is... oh, no, must stop typing, deep breaths, don't get started again...

by Balaji (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 8:30pm

#31: "or watch Big Ben’s pitiful passing game."

Spoken by somebody calling himself Ron Mexico, I think the irony meter just exploded here.

According to nfl.com, Big Ben and his "pitiful passing game" lead the league in passer rating (112.4). Where is Ron Mexico on that list, you ask? 30th (63.0).

And not counting the Steelers-Ravens game, FO itself ranks Roethlisberger 13th in DPAR and 1st in DVOA. Vick? 33rd in both.

So if you had something to say in that post, I'm sorry, Señor Mexico, but it's pretty hard to take you seriously when you're clearly deluded.

by Jason (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 9:09pm

Terrell Owens said something stupid, what else is new, the Eagles should have got rid of him in the off-season, T.O. is getting exactly what he wants, he will be out of town and he will get a big signing bonous from another team, he is not as stupid as yall think, T.O. is a genius if he had been a good boy he would still be playing for that BS contract, now he has a chance to get a new contract and the new team will put a clause in the contract saying he can't do certain things (run his mouth) and he will take another team to the super bowl. I am a Moss fan myself, but T.O. is so damn funny and entertaining.

Mcnabb is on pace for 34 TD's 16 INT's

Favre is on pace for 34 TD's 34 INT's

Who's better?

by Jeff (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 11:00pm

Its not like teams can spend whatever they want, there is a salary cap in the NFL. The Eagles have been good at managing the cap over the years, that is why they have been consistent over the last couple of years. Had they just paid guys like Bobby Taylor, Duce Staley, Hugh Douglas, and Trotter then they probably would not have even been able to get Kearse or Owens. And they probably would not have gotten to the Super Bowl last year.

They certainly have spent money when it has mattered. They made the biggest off season signings just last year.

And I don't think anyone can realistically argue the Eagles are better off without TO this year. That is not reality, especially given Reid's pass happy offense. However, over the long term, meaning the rest of McNabb's career, they may be better to part ways with TO now. There was no way that he was going to play out the rest of his contract, it would be too expensive vs. his production the closer he got to 40 years old.

Given this reality TO, and his agent, are acting rationally. He knows he has a limited amount of money making time left. Their calculation may have been wrong, because this may decrease his value on the open market, but it almost certainly was a calculated move. They either want more money from Eagles up front or have the Eagles cut or trade him so another team can give him more money in the way of signing bonuses or first year salary.

by MCS (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 11:10pm

I came here to see what Pat had to say???????

by Andrew (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 11:29pm

tom #32:

I don’t know the full ins and outs of his contract

2004 - $2.3 m Signing Bonus, $6.2 m Roster Bonus, $0.66 m Salary

2005 - $3.25 m Salary

2006 - $5 m Roster Bonus, $2.5 m Option Bonus, $0.77 m Salary, $0.23 m Incentives

2007 - $5.5 m per year Salary

2008 - $6.5 m per year Salary

2009 - $7.5 m per year Salary

2010 - $8.5 m per year Salary

The biggest dead money hit would be in 2007, with about $3 m vs. $6.5 m cap. The smallest is 2006 $1.5 m vs. $7 m cap.

The contract was structured to make Owens behave over a two year period in order to reach his second big payday, and to allow him to be cut at any time with a positive rather than negative cap impact. According to reports, Owens insisted upon this to prove he was not going to be a problem.

I have to admit, I really don’t think there’s any way he’d ever end up earning the full $49 million; he’d have to be playing at a high enough level for the Eagles to keep him, right through till the end of the 2010 season, to earn it all, and he’s 32 now, and picking up more and more little niggling injuries each year.

The Eagles under Reid have never cut a star player in the middle of a large contract. Previous disgruntled star players like Duce Staley, Jeremiah Trotter, Hugh Douglas, and Corey Simon were kept to the end of their contracts.

Victims of cuts have been mediocre players like Freddie Mitchell and Nate Wayne, and the cut has only come after proven mediocrity.

Maybe Owens would have been cut with a couple of years left if his performance had declined dramatically. Otherwise, I can't see why he wouldn't have been kept around like Tim Brown.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 12:17am

If Owens loses four games and 800 grand this year, and then gets cut, who will be willing and able to guarantee him eight million-plus next year, which just gets him to the break-even point? Will it be with a team better than the Eagles, and with a QB better than McNabb?

Angry Fan needs travel down the turnpike to the District, and learn how anger can really be provoked in the NFL.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 12:19am

Also, Rosenhaus is certainly acting rationally, since he doesn't get paid if Owens continues with his current deal.

by Angry Fan (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 12:20am

"Go read his interview and tell me one thing that he said that isn’t true."

For those of you who think the Eagle's were right, please go find me the qoute in this last interview that justifies a suspension due to "conduct detrimental to the team".

The whole thing is ridiculous. The Eagles WANTED to find a way to suspend TO. That is all that is going on here. The season is over and they don't want him around anymore. They cannot control him, so they kick him off the team.

Again, go read the interview and show me where he is selfish.

Unlike many other star players in this league, TO did NOT hold out for money. He sure as heck threatened to (and probably wanted to), but unlike Walter Jones and LaDanian Tomlinson, he did not miss one day of camp.

It has been the Eagles all along who have continued to push and prode TO into a corner so that the only strategy TO had left was to talk to the media.

Thankfully, the Eagles hired the entire ESPN "analyst" staff to speak on their behalf.

And where is this player's union? How pathetic is the NFL player's union?

In what other sport are the players treated so poorly?

Let's see how the NFL ranks among the other team sports: most likely to suffer career ending injury, most likely to suffer from death and paralysis due to immediate on-field injury, most likely to suffer long-term brain damage due to concussions, shortest average career length...

Lowest average salary and non-guaranteed contracts.

Way to go NFL reps!

by Angry Fan (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 12:22am

On second thought, I meant to write show me where he said something detrimental to the team.

We all know he is selfish.

My bad there.

by Bird Brain (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 1:04am

#3 - I'm a big Eagles fan, driving down to DC for the game tmw. On Friday I took the Skins at -3 (it's just not the Eagles year), but now I think the Eagles show up big. (Wanna trade picks?)

Dawkins approached TO yesterday and is very ticked. He drives the D's intensity, and it will be over the top. They have a major point to prove. The Skins wouldn't put up Denver's 49 pts in 4 games. The offense will run more and do just enough - probably win, at worse lost by by 3 or less. In any case, I now LOVE the Eagles-Under.

I'm a big fan of this site, discovered it at the beginning of this year (from Simmons of all people mentioning a high TB pick - ironic he's led people here with the minor-bash of him this week).

Anyway, I can't seem to find week by week team DVOA. Is this available? It would be nice to calculate a teams home vs road DVOA, take out a game or two (esp if due to injuries like Pit vs Jax), chart it (try to find teams like Carolina 2 yrs ago peaking late), and just play around with the numbers in general. Where can I find this?

Great site - thanks a bunch.

by LnGrrrR (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 3:16am

Angry Fan,

You ever think that BECAUSE the NFL Players aren't overpaid, that's why it's so popular? Poooooor TO. He's only making millions of dollars. I feel so bad for him.

TO is an idiot. I don't care if the Eagles were 'out to get him'. He doesn't help things when he agrees with Mike Irvin who says the Eagles would be undefeated with Favre. Now maybe he's stupid and the question didn't register, but still. It's not like this is the first stupid thing he's ever said.

Or would you like to defend him calling Jeff Garcia gay? Oh wait that's right he didn't...he just implied the hell out of it. :p

by Sean (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 3:42am

I tend to be more sympathetic to these prima donna wide receivers than most people. I think that basically TO was disgusted by McNabb and Reid in the Super Bowl, he made a decision that they were both frauds and that he wanted nothing to do with either of them. He then set about making his position with the team untenable.

Contemptible behavior all in all, but I do understand where TO is coming from.

by Kuato (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 4:05am

"Let’s see how the NFL ranks among the other team sports: most likely to suffer career ending injury, most likely to suffer from death and paralysis due to immediate on-field injury, most likely to suffer long-term brain damage due to concussions, shortest average career length… TRANSLATES to…Lowest average salary and non-guaranteed contracts."

While this is true, the real question is the percentage of the total revenue the players are making compared to other team sports (if anyone knows this let us know).

An individual NFL player is going to make a lot less money because of two HUGE factors. (A): There are a lot more players per team. Paying over 50 professional athletes adds up a lot more than say a basketball team that pays around 12 pro players. Each player makes less money, but many, many more people can become a player at any given time. (B): There are only 8 home games per team, so the ticket revenue possibilities are much, much lower. To make up for this difference, the NFL is lucky enough to have the best TV contract of any of the major sports, but does it doesn't make up for selling out your Baseball stadium for 80 games a year.

You can't just say that players in one sport make X amount more than players in another sport and shout “unfair� without looking at the mitigating circumstances.

Personally, I think the hard salary cap is one of the best things about the NFL. The best players get paid, the bad players get cut. Now they just have to fix the rookie pay scale.

by Tim Gerheim :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 4:18am

Re #41

I feel compelled to stick up for the NFLPA a bit. First of all, though I don't have their actual information, I'm pretty sure hockey now has the lowest average pay after the rollbacks and the new CBA.

But that's neither here nor there. There are twice as many players on an NFL team as on a MLB or NHL team, and 4 times as many as on an NBA team. So the only way the average NFL player could be making as much as an average player in one of those sports is if the league is twice or four times as profitable. (In the case of the NHL right now I think it is.)

Average team payroll is higher in the NFL than in any other sport, because the NFL is the most popular and profitable team sport. That doesn't just happen by itself; the NFL hangs its hat on parity, which is almost exclusively the product of the salary cap system in the CBA (along with revenue sharing). Well, the tradeoff the players took for allowing a salary cap is a defined share of the gross revenues, which sets the minimum and maximum team salaries. The league and the union had a trusting and mutually productive enough relationship to understand that the system they created would produce the most profitable league, and they arranged it so that everyone, both owners and players, would benefit financially from that profit.

You can't just will that the average salary in the NFL increases. The teams pay their players out of their revenues, because much though it seems to, money doesn't grow on trees even in the NFL.

Finally, salaries aren't the be all and end all of the value that players get from playing in the NFL. They're guaranteed all manner of pensions, health and injury benefits, termination pay, and other significant financial benisons that don't fall under the salary cap - so nobody ever talks about them. They don't affect the ability of teams to sign players, so they don't matter to the average fan, but they sure do matter to the players, especially after they retire. So to say that NFL players are worse off than players in other sports because they have the lowest average salary is spectacularly meaningless.

by Tim Gerheim :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 4:23am

Oh, one other thing. The NFLPA's lead counsel has gone on the record more than once saying that fully guaranteed contracts are not something the NFLPA wants to see. If they were mandatory, no team would sign a player to much more than one-year deals because the risk of injury is so high. That's why the contracts as the system is now are partially guaranteed - it spreads the risk of injury between the team and the player. Make no mistake, the NFLPA definitely evaluates the quality of a deal based on how much guaranteed money it has in it (and the percent guaranteed), but it doesn't want a mandatory guaranteed contract system, because players wouldn't have the security and stability that, in addition to simple green, they understandably desire.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 5:39am

Does anyone else think it's inevitable that the Raiders sign TO for next season?

by Tank Younger (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 8:30am

50: They will if the Vikings don't sign him first...

by tom (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 8:36am

re #38 that's very interesting, Andrew, cheers. out of interest, where did you get that breakdown from?
I take your point about Reid and Banner's past behaviour where contracts go, but I can't help but think Owens won't be justifying that salary at his later stages, and the Eagles do on occasion ask people to take pay cuts when they think it's worth it; John Runyan this year, for one.
and the scenario in #50 did flick through my head, briefly. Much as I'd hate to see the Eagles lose his play on the field, I reckon the stories coming of Oakland that year (and it would only be a year) would be simply amazing! And if I was Andy Reid, and we could trade Owens for Jerry Porter, I'd certainly think about it...

by Tim L (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 11:03am

You know, the funny thing is Owens was something of a hotheaded receiver early in his career, but his delusions of grandeur have been expanding ever since the 2000 Texas Stadium incident. Ever since then, he has taken solipsism to almost unheard of public heights, with an insatiatiable need to be the center of attention at all costs. Good on Andy Reid. McNabb is pure class, and deserves better than having to run a day care center.

by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 12:18pm

I have been branded dumb and an idiot, but I will risk a comment on the Owens situation.

It is pretty clear that Owens is an immature person. He was when he entered the league and that central element has not changed.

Upon being traded to the Ravens Owens expressed his displeasure and the Eagles entered the picture. They parlayed that situation into a Super Bowl trip.

Fans and the media hailed the Eagles front office with gushing praise for having exploited the circumstances to their advantage.

I specifically use the word "exploited" because that is exactly what took place. Which is fine for Eagles management. You see an opportunity and you seize it.

But acknowledge the risk. Understand that when you place the contract in front of this type of player the chance exists that things will awry.

And the Eagles compounded the risk by entering into a contract that was decidedly one-sided. Don't tell me the financial folks didn't know that this agreement was very management friendly. And don't tell me that the Eagles front office didn't know the nature of the player and his agent.

They exploited the situation. The Eagles signed an incredibly talented player, , who is emotionally immature, and quite possibly had little understanding of the long-term consequences of the contract.

Fans and media will howl and cry (as they did in the offseason) that a contract is a contract. Which it is. A contract is a legally binding agreement.

But if you are the Eagles management team you seriously cannot look yourself in the mirror and say, "Gee, this guy is so ungrateful. How can this be?"

They knew what they were doing. And they knew when the player EVENTUALLY figured out what had happened things could and almost certainly WOULD get ugly.

I also find it curious that press and fans ALWAYS take managment's side in these situations. Who here wants to be TOLD there is a limit on earning potential? Don't we all want to maximize what we can get when the getting is good? These players have a finite shelf life. The opportunities to earn serious cash come and go in a fleeting moment.

I am a believer in the free market. And that includes the freedom to grab for the brass ring on part of BOTH the company AND the player/employee. Fans don't LIKE to consider that because that means potentially the players go elsewhere.

The players are expected to be loyal while organizations can wash their hands of a player at a moment's notice with nary a whisper or a glance. Compare this in a larger sense to what Delphi is doing to the UAW. The organization made commitments, declare they can't compete in honoring those promises, and now wants to walk away. And folks NOT working there nod and go, "Yup, they have a point."

Why is the EMPLOYEE always expected to make the sacrifice?

Again, I am a free market person. Which means folks CAN'T expect employees to declare their fealty to a place of business while simultaneously giving up their chances to earn as much as possible when it's possible.

That's my ten cents.

by Whatever0 (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 1:09pm

The probelm is, the contract really isn't that one-sided. If TO had stuck with the team and got the roster bonus, it would have been worth 20 million over three years, or 25 million over 4, with escalating salaries after that.

There's three ways to look at it:

TO decided that he wasn't going to to get the roster bonus this upcoming year, so he wanted to get released and hit the open market a year earlier. Really, I highly doubt the Eagles would have cut him after this year, if he hadn't been such a distraction.

Or, TO wanted to double-dip. He wanted to get the guaranteed money from one contract, and then sign a new deal. The problem with this is: he wasn't given that roster bonus and signing bonus for just one year. It was given as part of a multi-year deal. If he wanted to hit FA again, he should have to give part of the bonus money back. Good luck convincing him to do that.

Or, TO is just very, very petty and vindicative.

by Adam (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 1:15pm

T.O. and Hugh Douglas in a fist fight in the trainers room this week according to Mort......

Bout time someone popped him one.

by noahpoah (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 1:19pm

Although it is unlikely that much will be made of a comment this far along in the thread, it amazes me how many people are simply assuming (or outright asserting) that the public comments made are the whole of TO's behavior that pissed of the Eagles' management.

Isn't it a fairly safe assumption that he does this kind of thing and more all the time? It seems very likely to me that this suspension is based on a lot more than TO's public stupidity. It would surprise me if he doesn't also exhibit plenty of daily private stupidity, too.

by Shalimar (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 1:20pm

I'm looking forward to seeing the Eagles' injury report next week. What it should say:
Terrell Owens (Bruised ego)

I'm also hoping he goes to Atlanta so we can see if the Michael Vick-worship among analysts is justified. What do you think the over-under would be on TO bitching about Vick's inaccurate passing? My guess is 3 weeks. If he signs with them in the offseason, he probably won't even make it through spring training before he starts complaining again.

by Stereochemistry (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 2:03pm

So is it safe to assume that part of the suspension is due to the fist fight TO caused in the lockerroom earlier in the week, and not just "words being said to the media"?

Does this change your opinion at all, Angry Fan?

by Adam (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 2:13pm

Brian Westbrook got his new deal.

by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 2:19pm


However, my understanding is that the team is only on the hook for any money the first two years. After that they can simply cut Owens with no long-term obligations. By then Owens is 31/32 (?) and likely beginning the downside of his career.

This is the crux of the matter. The Eagles, like the Patriots and a few other teams, have a very good understanding of the value of player performance. The Eagles HAD TO KNOW the contract was UNDERpaying Owens relative to his value on the field and the market value. HAD TO.

So to sign the player to a contract of this nature and then demonize the player for raising a fuss (once he figured out what had happened) is akin to the police captain in Casablanca raising his hands in mock horror and saying, "I'm shocked, shocked, to discover gambling is going on in this establishment."

You reap what you sow.

Are the Eagles obligated to coach their players on the financial implications of a contract? No. But nor are they completely free of blame that the situation dissolved into serious acrimony.

by Bracey (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 2:30pm

#60: First, I don't think he's being severely underpaid, but even that's true it works both ways. TO also HAD TO KNOW he was signing a contract where he was being underpaid and he still signed it. At that point he loses all leverage. If he has a problem, he can work with the team or NFLPA but when he started complaining to the media he invited all the negative comments himself. It put the Eagles in a situation where they either set a bad precident and gave in to his whining or stood firm. If he wouldn't have gone to the media, maybe the team would have then had the room to give him a little extra.

by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 2:38pm


I personally do not believe Owens understood the financial implications of the contract. As he is likely too proud to admit this fact, we do not know for a CERTAINTY that my belief is accurate.

However, based on his actions/words after the fact I think it's a pretty solid educated guess.

Just because a guy is a good athlete does not mean he is a savvy business person. Nor does it mean that he hires the best financial advisors. Or even competent advisors.

by Phil (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 3:09pm

NFC Central Freak

With all due respect, your comments about TO not understanding the terms of his contract with the Eagles is ignorant. He does not need to understand everything about his deal. That's the reason players hire representation in the form of an agent. It was his agent who dropped the ball in brokering that deal, which does reflect upon TO for keeping said agent after he dropped the ball in submitting Owens free agancy paperwork on time. He should have known then that the current agent was incompetent. But instead stayed with him. And this is what he gets in return. But as far as this whole situation goes, chalk one up for Karma with Terrell Ownens. He deserves what he's getting.

by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 3:15pm


I don't understand. Why should a person NOT know the financial implications of a contract?

And while you may be able to recognize when someone representing you is incapable of doing so effectively that does not mean others can.

It could be that Owens and this person were friends and he wanted to be loyal.

The agent might have lied to Owens about who was at fault for the paperwork not being filed in time and asked Owens to ignore what he heard in the press.

Do you know exactly what transpired during the contract negotiations?

We can both see the long-term results. A player lashing out and clearly impacting the organization in a negative manner.

by Phil (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 3:30pm


I guess the best example I could use would be a Lawyer or a Real Estate Agent. You could represent yourself if you were in court or purchased a home, but chances are you don't know all of the laws that would apply to each scenario. This is why you hire someone to counsel you during the negotiation process, and help broker a deal that's in your best interest. All that you want/need to know in most cases is the bottom line--which in TOs case was salary per year. And if he's not smart enough to realize that 3.5m per year base salary isn't enough (by the by, he's still top 5 paid receiver, is he not?) at first glance, then I don't know how anyone can feel sorry for him.

As far as the original agent, I believe you are right, he did stick with him out of loyalty, and he was told that it was the leagues fault the paperwork wasn't filed in time, but for someone who wanted out of SF that badly, I would have that deadline circled on my calender and personaly delivered the required documents to the league offices. That also raises another question, how many times have we heard of other pending Free Agents miss the deadline before in the past?

by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 3:37pm


What I should make clearer is that I think it's a distinct possibility that Owens is not intelligent enough to understand ON HIS OWN the implications of a services contract.

And if his agent isn't competent where does that leave him?

As for base salary, the standard comments I see in the paper are that players want the big bonus money because that is the only money guaranteed in a NFL contract.

To paraphrase "Top Gun" the Eagles had the shot and they took it. Now that it has backfired I don't think they should walk away unscathed. And I think ridiculing a person for possibly getting swindled and being mad about it is rather cruel.

by Phil (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 3:42pm

That's right Iceman...I am dangerous

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 3:45pm

Yeah, it was Andy Reid who caused the fight.

Look, every NFL player is free to demand that he get his entire contract guaranteed. An unrestricted free agent who did so would then find out what various teams would be willing to pay on that basis. That unrestricted free agents do not behave in this way indicates that the players do not favor 100% guaranteed contracts, and instead prefer to receive a very large signing bonus up front, and a series of option years to follow. The concept of revealed preference is very useful.

Yes, the Eagles have some responsibility, as any employer does when they knowingly hire a stupid employee. Hiring stupid employees is often counterproductive.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 3:54pm

NFC Central Freak, if ridiculing stupid millionaires is out of bounds, who is a legitimate target for ridicule?

by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 3:54pm


I don't understand your point. It is in the interests of the teams to maintain the current setup of non-guaranteed contracts. As it is now common wisdom among teams of having this practice in place, it is highly unlikely that any player requesting a guaranteed contract would receive any positive responses. And no charge of collusion would be possible as unlike baseball the teams wouldn't feel compelled to discuss a response. Again, the teams now understand that no-guaranteed contract is a positive for them and the league.

The players and their agents are working within the confines of the system designed. Deviations from that system would only be successful for the very best of players. Owens is a fine player. He is not considered by anyone to be a franchise or once in a lifetime player.

So I don't think the players are showing a preference.

Perhaps when the union contract is up for renewal and if given a CHOICE they choose this route again then yes, I would say a preference has been demonstrated.

by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 3:57pm


If I have choice for empathy between a player whose opportunity to maximize his earnings is a very limited versus an organization that has and will continue to make very fine profits my inclination is to support the player. However peculiar, odd, or outrageous he may appear by society's standards for decorum.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 4:10pm

Freak, Peyton Manning had more than a little leverage, didn't he? If he wished to have all his money guaranteed, he could have demanded it from the Colts, or played out his contract, and informed all 32 teams that he would only look at 100% guaranteed deals. He didn't. This reveals Manning's preference.

There is nothing in the CBA that either compels or prevents a 100% guaranteed deal. Viniteri has one because he demanded it, and the Patriots believed that it was a demand worth acceding to, likely because the injury risk to kickers is pretty low, and because the Patriots were quite comfortable with Viniteri's work habits.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 4:22pm

Freak, perhaps you misunderstand me. I have no empathy or sympathy for either the Eagles or Owens, and have no problem with subjecting the Eagles to ridicule for hiring a chowderhead. The disputes between millionaires and billionaires are of little concern to me generally, and the only concern I have specifically with regards to the NFL is how it impacts the product on the field. I see no reason to believe that compelling that NFL contracts be 100% guaranteed would improve the product on the field.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 4:28pm

For some reason, Freak, you seem to think that players did not exercise a choice when they negotiated their last CBA.

by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 4:33pm


And I am not interested in constraining the free market.

By that I mean I am NOT advocating that it become an absolute that NFL player contracts be 100% guaranteed.

But I also do not believe in TELLING someone that they can only earn X no matter what their true value. I do not want someone limiting my earning potential other than me. Meaning that if I work hard, continue to educate myself, and perform at a high level I expect to be compensated accordingly. I would have an issue with an artificial constraint on my ability to earn.

Why folks think it's ok for athletes to only earn X and no more baffles me. Just because it's a lot of money doesn't mean they haven't earned it.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 4:52pm

The linked story might give a little more explanation to his suspension.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 4:53pm

Freak, you can expect anything you want and ask for anything you want. Others are free to say "yes" or "no", and thus meet, or fail to meet, your expectation. I don't know what that has to do with Owens' situation.

I made no representation as to what Owens should earn, because I have no opinion on what Owens should earn. I ridicule him because he appears to be a dolt, who quite possibly will end up harming his earning power with his behavior.

by Adam (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 5:43pm

Wins and losses are important, but if you run a corporation where people hate to come to work because someone there is an enormous jerk, then it's certainly reasonable to suspend him.

Andy Reid built the Eagles, and they were Super Bowl contenders before TO ever showed up. If Reid and a number of the other players can't stand to work with a guy who most of us agree is a big jerk, then he has every right to suspend him, even if it makes the team a little worse in the short run.

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 6:44pm

I suddenly like the eagles a lot better. I really think standing up to misbehaving players is the way forward for the league. There are more than enough good players who don't have major attitude problems. If the TO/Moss types just disappeared would anyone besides sportscenter really miss them?

by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 7:41pm

Did anyone else see Jay Glazer's story on Foxsports.com that TO and Hugh Douglass got into a fistfight on Thursday????

I wish they would have cut him (TO) in the offseason. He is a cancer.

By the way, Brian Westbrook finally got the long term deal he wanted. At least something went right this week in Bizarro Eagles world....why couldn't it still be 2004?????

by South Jersey Mike (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 8:25pm

I wasnt aware that Douglass new role in management was to fight with the players. I applaud the Eagles in their efforts to control their players.

by Whatever0 (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 9:44pm

NFC Central Freak:

The main part of my argument is that, even though the Eagles didn't have to pick up the roster bonus, they most likely would have. All TO had to do was shut up and play, and he would have gotten the money. He couldn't manage to keep quiet for two years, so now he's definitely not getting it.

If TO had just shut up and played this year, given his production last year and this year, there's no way the eagles would have cut him.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 10:10pm

NFC Central Freak:

Carl has, in the past, mentioned that the NFLPA made it quite clear to TO and/or his agent that he was signing a bad contract, and told TO they recommended he not sign it because it was below his market value. His union told him "Don't do it."

He signed it anyway.

He can complain, but from everything that came out from when he signed with Philly, it's pretty much all on TO. I'm guessing he was so desperate to get out of SF and go to Philadelphia that he was willing to sign whatever deal it took to do so, figuring he could hold out for better numbers later - and didn't realize that Philly almost never renegotiates.


by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 11:05pm


Thanks for the clarification.

by Bizarro Ron Mexico (not verified) :: Mon, 11/07/2005 - 1:52am

#34: You seem to have mistaken me for a Vick/Atlanta fan. I just like the Ron Mexico in-joke, thus the name.

I'm well-aware of Big Ben's ratings--considering how rarely he has to throw, however, I'm not that impressed. I mean, LT has a great passer rating, too.

by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Mon, 11/07/2005 - 2:33am

Dear Angry Fan,

In what other sport are the players treated so poorly?

You forgot competitive face-punching. Which is strange, since I took you for a veteran of the sport.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 11/07/2005 - 10:26am

Will Owens play for the Eagles again this year? Some folks are speculating that he's done there, but I'm guessing that Andy Reid will figure out a way to paper over this and get TO back into the lineup (maybe even this week).

by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Mon, 11/07/2005 - 10:32am

I spoke to friends in Philly. Is it true that Owens challenged the entire team to a fight in the locker room after being separated from Douglass?

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 11/07/2005 - 11:45am

Is it true that Owens challenged the entire team to a fight in the locker room after being separated from Douglass?

From the Sunday Trenton Times article mentioned in Jay Glazer's FOXSports article:

Another source said both men [Owens and Douglas] threw at least two punches during the altercation, and when it was over, Owens challenged quarterback Donovan McNabb first, and then everyone else in the room, saying, "You want some? Anyone else want some?"

(Punctuation corrected to make sense, since the Times editors apparently learned their trade at Trenton public high schools.)

So, assuming this quote is accurate, Owens threw a schoolyard sort of challenge down to all his teammates.

by Balaji (not verified) :: Mon, 11/07/2005 - 4:50pm

#89: "So, assuming this quote is accurate, Owens threw a schoolyard sort of challenge down to all his teammates."

I don't know if that's true or not, but it is awesome.

#85: "I’m well-aware of Big Ben’s ratings–considering how rarely he has to throw, however, I’m not that impressed. I mean, LT has a great passer rating, too."

That's a pretty silly comparison. After all, LT has thrown the ball exactly 3 times while Roethlisberger has thrown it 130 times (over 6 games, for an average of 21.7 per game). But since Ben doesn't hit the magical threshold of 30 attempts per game, I guess his throws don't count.

by gwarnok888 (not verified) :: Mon, 11/07/2005 - 8:54pm

will people wake up and realize that to is paid for his ability not his disposition,about the farve comment ... well swallow your nuts and admit that he was the perfect scapegoat for a totally crap season thats swirling down the drain as we speak...westbrook is a far better receiver than a back and that will be evident now that andy reid has no deep threat watch their geriatric running offense poop a brick when defenses play them much more aggressively.donovan sucks under pressure he has kordell complex. too dumb and bullheaded to realizethat without to he has nobody else to blame...the most cordial of fellows do not always make the best teamates

by Donovan Mcnabb (not verified) :: Wed, 11/09/2005 - 12:39am

Bottom line, T.O is ass. I can't believe i ever thought well of him. He never shuts up and bitches when he doesn't get his touches. Go ahead and play anywhere T.O, just stay out of Philadelphia.