Fans love the NFL Scouting Combine even more than the coaches, general managers, and scouts since it has been televised. It gives every fan access to the exact same measurable stats for each player as NFL franchises. Thus, fans begin to get a glimpse into how difficult it is to pick great players in the […]Continue reading
Late Tuesday night, Seattle Seahawks fans sighed in relief when Russell Wilson announced that he and the Seahawks reached a deal. Russell Wilson will be staying in Seattle and is now the highest paid player in the NFL!
Wilson and the Seahawks entered into a four-year agreement with a $140 million extension and a $65 million bonus. Wilson will also receive a total of $107 million in total guarantees. These numbers are impressive and are well-deserved. Wilson has had an impressive career since entering the league in 2012. With two Super Bowl appearances, six playoff appearances, and five trips to the Pro-Bowl, it is no wonder the Seahawks wanted to keep him. After all, he is their franchise player who led the Seahawks to its first Lombardi Trophy in 2014.
Russel Wilson Made a Boss Move
While the numbers are impressive, the numbers are not the most impressive part of this deal. The most impressive part of the deal is the way that Russel Wilson made it happen. Wilson made it known to the Seahawks that he was willing to leave if he was not offered a satisfactory deal. Wilson entered negotiations with that understanding. He arbitrarily set an unofficial (as far as NFL rules are concerned) deadline of April 15. The Seahawks essentially had no choice but to comply or risk losing their franchise player at the end of the upcoming season.
Wilson Joins a New Wave of Players Who Know Their Worth
Wilson is not the first NFL player to show the league that he knows his worth. Recently, there has been a shift in the mindset of NFL players as they enter their contract negotiations. Football is a brutal sport with a high susceptibility to injuries. Unlike the NBA and MLB, NFL contracts are not riddled with guaranteed money. While NFL players sign huge million dollar deals, much of it is not guaranteed. NFL players have taken their cue from NBA and MLB players and have been unapologetically standing up for what they believe they are worth.
Last season, Le’Veon Bell set a precedent when he sat out the entire season because he and the Pittsburg Steelers could not come to agreeable contract terms. As a result, Bell has recently been traded to the New York Jets. Bell signed a $52.5 million four-year deal. $35 million of that is guaranteed. Similarly, Antonio Brown had a very public rift with the Pittsburg Steelers that resulted in Brown forcing a trade to the Oakland Raiders.
Both Bell and Brown did something that is not often done in the NFL. They stood up for their worth. Yes, Bell may have lost money by sitting out an entire season but he won in the end. Bell won by showing the NFL that he will not just be grateful for the opportunity to play because he knows his worth. Brown showed that he will not be forced to stay in an uncomfortable situation. Wilson’s situation was not as contentious as Brown ‘s and Bell’s. However, Wilson still showed that he knows his worth and that he is not afraid to play hardball to get it.
This is the Dawn of a New Contract Era in the NFL
As can be seen from Wilson, Bell, and Brown there is a growing shift amongst NFL players to realize and fight for their worth. NFL Players are slowly but surely starting to make the NFL realize it needs to be more player-centric. NFL players are finally starting to realize that they are the ones putting their bodies on the line every Sunday. As a result of that, they should have more say and more opportunities for guaranteed money in their contracts. The NFL better be ready to adjust. The number of players making demands similar to Wilson, Bell, and Brown is only going to increase.
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Antonio Brown is making himself look REALLY BAD
Antonio Brown is super lame for releasing private direct messages between JuJu Smith-Schuster and him. We all know that releasing private messages is a huge no-no. The only people that typically do that are facing jail time, are owed money, or scorned lovers. Antonio Brown’s loyalty and character have to be questioned at this point. If he releases private messages for no reason, he will snitch too.
AB was trying to make JuJu look silly publicly. But he ended up making himself look petty and like all the ‘cancer’ talk from the Steelers was true. How can you clown a college player for reaching out to an NFL player for advice? JuJu comes across as ambitious and driven for reaching out to one of the best wide receivers in the NFL for mentorship while in college.
I defended Antonio Brown throughout his entire career and exit from the Steelers. Now, all the things he said about Ben Roethlisberger look true about himself. AB looks like a hater with low character. Was all this because he was upset JuJu was named the MVP for last season?
I do have to give credit where it’s due. Brown was right when he said young players see the NFL a different way until they get paid. Young players who are playing well do have a more idealized version of the league. And sometimes when they do get paid, they begin to think they are the center of the universe. Now everyone knows, you better watch what you send Antonio, it might end up on his Twitter account.
JuJu was right when he told AB to “Keep your emotions of the internet”.
MLB’s Antiquated Unwritten Rules are Dumb
I could not be any more tired of baseball’s antiquated unwritten rules. Seeing pitchers throw at batters because they bat flipped or rounded the bases too slowly after a home run is lame. That is no different than if a coach put a bounty on injuring a player in football because he didn’t like his touchdown celebration.
Old school baseball people call pitchers who hit players “hard-nosed” or “tough.” I believe the opposite. How tough to you have to be to hurl a 90+ mph ball at someone’s head? The actual repercussions for throwing at a player are minimal. There is the occasional dust-up at the mound, but most times the pitcher is either warned or ejected. That is a small price to pay for endangering another person’s life and livelihood.
Hitting a baseball in the MLB is one arguably the most difficult things to do in sports. If a player is successful 30% of the time through a long career, he will go to the Hall of Fame. It makes NO sense for anyone to be upset when a player celebrates doing something so difficult.
I loved Bryce Harper bat flipping against the Nationals. The fans loved it too. They celebrated it with boos. Now, the Washington fans have a villain and rivalry with the Phillies. All of that is great for the game. The old school “get off my lawn” crowd needs to wake up and smell the roses. Baseball’s unwritten rules are for the unimaginative dinosaurs who are unsuccessfully trying to prevent change.
Fans enjoy the celebration and want to see players having fun. Maybe if the baseball gatekeepers encouraged players to have fun and show emotions, the games’ best players wouldn’t be able to walk down the street in anonymity.
The moral of the story is, play better. Stop letting people do things that are celebrating-worthy against and you instead of being upset with their reaction.
One Shining Moment is The Greatest Thing in Sports
There is no one moment in sports I have anticipation for like the end of the NCAA Tournament. For three weekends, the sports world is emotionally and financially invested in the outcome of March Madness. It all culminates when Luther Vandross’ voice starts, “The ball is tipped, and there you are...”. Every year, the short filmmakers find a way to pour all the drama, emotion, and excitement from all 67 games into approximately three minutes. One Shining Moment never falls flat or disappoints. I love it.
NFL Free agency is in full swing. Former Pittsburgh Steelers players like Antonio Brown and Leveon Bell get a bad rap from fans. They are called greedy, selfish, and disloyal for trying to maximize their income in a short term job. Working men and women change jobs at the drop of a hat for a better opportunity, working conditions, and money. So why would athletes be any different?
NFL contracts aren’t worth the paper they are printed on for owners. They regularly ask players to take pay cuts while under contract. The players’ family, tenure, or dedicated to the community are rarely. Players now realize their leverage and are exercising it to make more money. The truth is that all the people who demonize players would do the same thing at their job.
Players Are Rich… It’s Different
I have often heard that the situation is different because players are making millions, so there is no sympathy. Why is there sympathy for the billionaire owners money? They are shrewd businessmen who designed the NFL salary cap. If they don’t like the way the salary cap calculations, they can change the them at the owner’s meetings.
Antonio Brown, LeVeon Bell, and every other player who exercises their leverage are just doing the same thing fans would do if they could. The same concept applies whether you are making $60,000 or $6 million. We all want to be paid our fair market value, and be appreciated by our employer.
Fans are either jealous, feel they own the players, or feel that players are privileged. Now it’s time to watch the video. Leave a comment with your thoughts.