Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Training Camp holdouts are easily avoidable, but teams and agents are senseless.

The Star Tribune reports that the Vikings are close to signing most of their draft picks, "but it seemed unlikely that first-round pick Adrian Peterson would be among the players reporting to training camp Wednesday at Minnesota State Mankato."

It will never make sense to me why agents and teams wait until a few weeks or days before training camp begins to seriously begin contract discussions with draft picks. I know, agents and teams want to see what other rookies get paid to know the direction negotiations should take.

But why does this process need to begin in mid to late July? Couldn't this process of serious negotiations and measuring of value against other contracts begin in early May?

Furthermore, eventually, everybody gets signed. It's rare for a draft pick to hold out into the season and miss regular season games. It's extremely rare for anybody to hold out for an entire season. So what are they waiting for? Eventually everybody is going to get signed, and you can make reasonable predictions about the value of the contracts based on the draft slots. It's not a question of whether a first-round rookie will sign a contract, and it's barely a question of how much: It's a question of when. Some argue that the pressure of Training Camp deadlines helps one or the other side in negotiations; however, again, the contracts always get signed, and the contracts are always based on an upgrade over the similarly slotted draft picks from the previous season.

So why, every year, do we have to have rookies missing valuable training camp (it is likely the most important training camp they'll have) because agents and teams decide to wait as late as possible to complete these contracts, which are virtually inevitable?

Because agents and teams are stupid. That's the only answer I can come to. They are convinced by the Appeal to Tradition, and seem utterly set against negotiating inevitable contracts any time prior to a few days before Training Camp is set to open.

So teams are unable to give their rookies as much training as possible, which limits the immediate contributions these players can make toward the team's success . Players miss out on valuable training, which has the potential to negatively impact their playing time and (possibly) their future income. Fans get nervous and frustrated. Nobody really benefits because of complete and irrational idiocy.


  1. Anonymous2:09 PM

    I heard one of the hosts on Sirius NFL Radio recently (perhaps it was Gil Brandt?) saying that the teams also like to wait, because they'd prefer not to part with the millions in bonus money until the last possible moment.

    I can see how that would be true - but it seems to make so much sense for preparation to get the contracts done ASAP.

  2. That makes sense, but it does seem stupid. I'm always loathe to part with a buck. But teams are willing to risk their on-the-field prospects in order to hang onto money for an extra 2-3 months? That doesn't seem like a good idea.