Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew skipped the first day of the team’s organized team activites (OTAs), and has informed the front office that he wants a new contract.
MJD is slated to make $4.45 million this year, which seems like a decent amount, but he’s easily one of the top three running backs in the league and isn’t anywhere near that pay grade.
Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey has confirmed that MJD has asked for a contract extension, according to an SI.com report.
The undersized running back known as pocket Hercules lead the league in rushing last year, with 1,606 yards. He signed a five-year deal worth $31 million back in 2009, and still has two years left on it, but MJD has largely outplayed that contract.
While it’s hard to feel sorry for someone earning that kind of cash, the guy has definitely earnt the right to be one of the highest paid backs in the NFL and he is nowhere near that at present.
Meanwhile, New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker has ended his contract holdout threat by signing his franchise tender. The one-year deal will pay him $9.5 million, at the end of which Welker will once again be an unrestricted free agent, with the Patriots able to franchise tag him again.
Welker’s signing was expected given he gave a radio interview over the weekend saying he would definitely play this year, as he had “9.5 million reasons to.”
Linebacking great Junior Seau has been found dead in his Californian home, according to a TMZ report. Police claim it is from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.
After a standout career as a tackling-machine at USC, Seau was taken in the first round (fifth overall) of the 1990 NFL Draft.
He went on to play a staggering 20 years in the league, 13 of those being with the San Diego Chargers, followed by three in Miami, and finally four with the New England Patriots.
During that time he amassed 1,524 tackles, 18 interceptions, and 56 sacks.
Seau first retired in 2006, after tearing his archilles tendon with the Dolphins the year before. San Diego signed him to a one-day contract so that he could forever retire a Charger.
Four days later, Seau signed with the New England Patriots, where he would play until retiring again in 2010.
Over the two decades he was in the NFL, Seau amassed 12 Pro Bowl selections, and 10 All-Pro (as voted by the Associated Press) listings.
He never notched a Superbowl victory, but he did play in two of them, first with the Chargers going down to the San Francisco 49ers in 1994, and then with the unbeaten 18-0 Patriots in 2007, which lost a thriller to the Giants.
One of the various promotions that the NFL uses to hype up the draft is to give away the chance to announce a team’s pick.
For 10 year old Brandon Morabito, it was the chance of a lifetime after he attended the Patriots Draft Preview event for season ticket holders, where everyone went in a raffle for the right to call out New England’s sixth round selection.
As luck would have it, Brandon was there with his father and managed to win the prized ticket, and the family was soon off to Radio City Music Hall in New York City to call the selection.
Unfortunately, one of the more menacing draft traditions is raucous fans boo’ing when a division rival is on the clock. The predominantly New York-based fans camp out many hours in advance to snap up a ticket to the draft, which is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The end result is usually a number of boozed up fans, hollering with disapproval when a rival picks (or even their own team if they don’t like the pick).
This tradition had terrible results when Brandon was called up to the podium to announce the sixth round pick for New England. Despite the fact it was clearly a 10 year old kid calling the selection, the hooligans in the audience still jeered at him.
Here is an email Brandon’s father Mark sent to Peter King from Sports Illustrated:
“My 10-year-old son, Brandon Morabito, is the boy who made the Patriots sixth-round pick at Radio City on Saturday.
I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to read your point about the New York fans who lustily booed him.
We knew he’d be booed and I prepped him for it. I was taken aback that it grew louder even after Brandon was shown on the giant screens.
That said, I can’t tell you how proud I am of how he handled it. As he continued to announce the pick and the noise grew, he smiled and began almost yelling to get the words out.
I can honestly see that it took nothing from the amazing moment he was given.
My wife had to be consoled; Brandon did that too!! We both met Commissioner Goodell, Brandon was able to walk the green room to podium, get the draft hat, and have his picture taken with Mr. Goodell.
All in all, it was an amazing experience for my family.Thank you Mr. King for your kind words.”
With the 2012 NFL draft done and dusted, it’s time to take a look at which players are threatening to boycott the offseason training programs (and potentially sit out the season) over contract disputes.
As part of the new collective bargaining agreement, teams are still allowed to use a ‘franchise tag’ on one player. What that means, is that a player that would otherwise be a free agent and could sign with another team, is forced to stay with the team for one more year.
That player then receives an average of the top five player salaries for his position (or 120% of his earnings from the year before, whichever is greater).
This might sound like a good deal, but in reality it’s a one year contract with absolutely no job security and none of it is guaranteed. This means a player is out there risking injury with no long-term deal in place, kind of like driving a car without insurance, if you have a crash you are screwed.
The only defence NFL players have against the franchise tag is to ‘hold out’ and refuse to attend offseason training programs, and if it goes that far, refuse to play at all. If the player chooses to take it that far, and sits on the couch for a year, they will automatically become a free agent.
Usually these become a protracted standoff, and the teams eventually see eye-to-eye in crunch time, such as in the middle of training camp when the team really needs them to get practicing, or in the regular season when the player can’t stand sitting at home any longer.
Here is a look at each of the team’s franchise tagged players, and holdout threats It should be noted that players that haven’t signed the franchise tag are not allowed to work out with a team unless they sign an injury waiver (or sign the franchise tender), but these are easy to get if players want them:
Franchise tag – Calais Campbell, defensive end.
Campbell has said that he will skip voluntary workouts, but is hopeful a deal will come soon.