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Smashley's avatar

Why do drafted players in the NFL hold out?

Asked by Smashley (4966points) July 31st, 2010

With absolutely zero NFL experience to give them any clout, shouldn’t players be doing everything they can to sign entry level contracts, and begin to attend practice and play games? I understand there is a lot of money involved, but what’s the point if you ruin your chances of a productive rookie season?

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11 Answers

Smashley's avatar

@pokopenguin well… thanks for trying…?

marinelife's avatar

Because it is the time when they have the most promise. They have never played a down so they are evaluated on their promise.

This is their one chance while that value is at its highest to get a great rookie contract.

For example:

“Bruce Allen’s reputation for being pro-active in signing high draft picks was confirmed this morning with reports that first-round selection Trent Williams had reached agreement on a contract and would be practicing today.

Williams, the fourth overall pick this spring, became the first top-10 pick to reach terms. He is expected to assume his spot as the starting left tackle at today’s 8:30 a.m. practice.

Per ESPN, Williams’ contract is six years for $60 million and $36.75 million guaranteed.”

CSN Washington

Smashley's avatar


Sure they have promise, but some players are overvalued and others are undervalued, if you base it on what their actual production will be through their first contract. There is promise, but there are also doubts, neither of which can be confirmed until they actually play.

Doesn’t holding out suggest to you that a player is actually worth less than he thinks he is? I understand the factors of job security, and wanting the most money you can possibly get, and waiting to see what comparable players are earning, but what the heck happened to proving yourself and earning your money, or is that just what collegiate sport has devolved into?

marinelife's avatar

@Smashley Many of them including Williams the player I referred to above do not want to hold out, but their agents insist on it. Williams was so glad that his contract was done that he reported to camp the second day at 6:30 in the morning!

Smashley's avatar

OK. So it’s the agents? That’s actually pretty understandable, actually.

ipso's avatar

I find your question/POV disingenuous; followed by jealous emotional tripe.

You wrote: ”I understand the factors of job security, and wanting the most money you can possibly get, and waiting to see what comparable players are earning” (Thus a disingenuous question – since that is the obvious answer – you’re searching for something else.)

“what the heck happened to proving yourself and earning your money, or is that just what collegiate sport has devolved into? (emotional tripe)

How does holding out for a pro contract devolve collegiate sport exactly, since it’s explicitly after the fact? And what idyllic pedestal do you put them on? 1A college football, in most cases, subsidizes almost all other sports in an athletic program, and in many cases is responsible for the majority of sport infrastructure buildout and annual budget as well. It’s as much about business as pro ball – you silly rabbit.

[Back to your question] What do you care if an athlete-entertainer/agent strategically brokers a deal to best advantage?

You just want all those young black boys to know their place, don’t you? (“Yes sir. Thank you sir.”)

You just wanted to spit some bile here, and take a green-eyed swipe. I call it a whiff.

Smashley's avatar

Nice to meet you, too. Perhaps I need to unpack my statements a bit. Thank you for your kind words and thoughtful response.

Obviously everybody wants more money. This isn’t surprising. I’d mentioned it to perhaps take the conversation a little deeper. As far as idyllic pedestals go, I felt that with that one line I had taken football players down to a more human level. People can understand a desire for money, my question was about the sensibility of missing out on spring training, games, and perhaps your whole rookie season in an attempt to broker a better contract.

In a game you might be lucky to play 100 times in your career, doesn’t it seem silly to lose out on that critical period where you learn the NFL systems, make a name and a reputation for yourself, and lay the foundation for your career, just to negotiate a better first contract? What is wrong with the simpler, entry level contracts that are used in other sports: incentives for performance, security in case of injury, and a short length that allows for renegotiation after you’ve actually been tested in the game? This is my perspective, but I’ll admit I don’t know everything, and that’s why I ask. Answers are nice, but I guess I can take zero-effort personal attacks too.

Collegiate sport’s devolution: maybe the line was worded a little strongly, and perhaps it only really applies to 1st round talents, but I do feel you missed my point. Though they are not paid by rule and by philosophy, it is becoming clear that for future 1st round draft picks, the years they spend in college are ultimately an attempt to earn a large bulk sum from a team they’ve never played for, in a game they’ve never played, playing against players of a caliber they’ve never known. They are given contracts based on potential, which they’ve earned in college. This seems like a logical error to me. Once again, I’d love to be taught a thing or two if I’m missing something, but being told how much of a bigot I am isn’t really what I was trying to achieve…. anyways….

The NCAA represents a certain ideal of athleticism and scholastic achievement that I feel the vast majority of college athletes do embody. My point was that it is unfortunate that for college football, at least, it really is becoming uniquely a business, and little else.

What to I care about agents brokering better contracts? Well, there are many people who depend on the business of football, and many more who feel like their lives depend on their teams. When an agent, not necessarily acting in accordance with the player’s wishes, and though already given many months to negotiate with the team, causes a player to miss out on a portion of their already short career, undermining the player and the team’s ability to compete, all for person gain, there are naturally going to be some people who find it a little irksome.

pokopenguin's avatar

I’m not really a big fan of football

ipso's avatar

@Smashley – Team owners manage assets like any business should. They hire extremely smart and experienced personnel to broker and strike lean contracts. To me a world where all the little baaing collegiate sheep waddle on down the shoot to a standard contract – what is offered them, without recourse – is a socialist nightmare – a nightmare that we have successfully awoken from, for the most part, in top American sport.

Whereas an open market negotiation to determine the fair and equitable contract/value, including holdouts, is… the tits.

Unlike other professions, athletes may be robbed their entire career in a single play. The pay as you go model is something the players may want to stay away from, and sign up for as much as possible up front. The important thing is that they have the choice.

I find contracting the perfect right of passage – a crucible – into the business world in which the player is entering.

What you find “irksome”, I find profoundly beautiful.

You wrote: “They are given contracts based on potential, which they’ve earned in college. This seems like a logical error to me.”

First round draft pick holdouts are not the inexperienced neophytes you seem to suggest. They are not entry level tradesmen. They are highly trained proven experts in their field, often outperforming veteran NFL players. They are worth many hundreds of millions for their production potential. Businesses make speculative investments every second of the day. Why is it illogical when they do it with sports-entertainment professionals?

Also – in my experience there are more examples of young men who forego the professional contract, for a variety of reasons, to play their senior year. Your logic seems to suggest you would have them not play their senior year in order to play ball on a Pro team – to get that much more valuable NFL experience. What is your logic on that?

For the most part athletes retain their humanity and dignity in the face of greatness. No mean feat.

(p.s. – Sorry for the bigot swipe. It seemed dead-on at the time.)

Smashley's avatar

@ipso -

OK, thanks for the reiteration. Quite good points, actually. I suppose in the end I’m not against the massive up-front contract, except when the negotiation of such is detrimental to the player’s professional development. In my mind, there is always money to be had, but time slips away quicker and forever. Maybe I’m taking the fan’s perspective here, and I just want to see them play, and soon. Perhaps we could speculate on another way to improve the system.

Hmm… I suppose one extension of my logic would suggest players forgo finishing school to enter the draft, though that wasn’t really my intention. Anyway, thanks for the food for thought.

(no problem. it’s the internet: communication can be tricky)

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