The Minnesota Vikings‘ Percy Harvin could be a trend-setter, but not the type of trend any of us really like to see and a trend that could in 2014 absorb the Green Bay Packers‘ Randall Cobb, among many other NFL veterans whose rookie contracts will be coming to an end.
The issue that will be rearing its head this year coming to a boiling point within the next couple of years centers around the salary cap. You see, it is increasing, but not enough to stay abreast of the increases that players are wanting in their salaries.
And I thought the collective bargaining contract would keep the peace for the next decade. Apparently not.
Mike Florio of Profootballtalk.com said in his post yesterday on the topic that “something has to give.” He’s right, but there will most likely be conflict between employers and employees before some kind of middle ground is worked out. In other words, players will most likely hold out until they get their employers to understand their place or to at least meet them in the middle.
So, here’s what many are saying will occur in 2014 – those who signed rookie contracts in 2011, including Randall Cobb, will be coming due for their first big pay day.
Here’s the list of some of the players who might be ready at the time to sign a new contract and could be affected: Cam Newton, Von Miller, A.J. Green, Patrick Peterson, Julio Jones, Aldon Smith, J.J. Watt, Muhammad Wilkerson, Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick, Torrey Smith, DeMarco Murray, Cecil Shorts, Jacquizz Rodgers, and Randall Cobb.
But because the amount of money available to teams from the slow-growing salary cap could hamstring teams, these players, who will most likely be looking for big dollars, will use the only tool they have available to them – the holdout.
However, Florio points out that the league has at its disposal the tool of a $30,000 per day fine for each day missed of training camp, but it seems the penalty has lacked any teeth – at least to-date. Florio said that in the case of Maurice Jones-Drews’s holdout last year the two sides came together and agreed on a reduced rate instead of applying the full penalty of $30,000. His fines amounted to more than $1 million, but he ended up paying much less.
The big question will center on how willing employers will be in compensating these high-performing players, especially if they continue to play at the level they have in their first two seasons. There’s no question that Cobb has earned every dime of his $729,414 salary. He sits at number 27 among the 53-man Packers roster and will surely be looking to move up toward the top of that list.