Wednesday, November 09, 2005

T.O., You Talented Dick

Decent day at the presses, with Mariano coming up short in the Cy Young voting, Tino’s option declined, Omar Minaya trying to acquire the pieces for Manny, Jorge Posada’s name being tossed around in trade rumors, and T.O., T.O., T.O. Quick thought on that before I make up some news for today.

I’ve never held a high opinion of Owens’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and his stint with the press yesterday only further confirms that. The best question asked (and of course, answered with a “Next Question”): “What have you done for T.O. other than getting him kicked off the team?”

T.O.’s previous agent was fired because of the infamous incident when he didn’t file papers in time that would void T.O.’s contract in San Fran, which ended up costing him millions on the open market, and his big chance to be the marquee free agent. Rosenhaus had better hope that Redskins owner Dan Snyder is still drinking the stupid juice, because that’s the only shot T.O. has at a mammoth pay day. Barring that, no team is going to pay T.O. what he thinks he’s worth.

What I don’t understand is why Rosenhaus thought this whole public campaign for a new contract would ever work in Philadelphia. For starters, it’s not like T.O. flew under anyone’s radar. Everyone was aware of his less than orthodox antics in the Bay, including implications that his quarterback, Jeff Garcia, plays for the other team. But when he gets to Philly, all he talks about is how happy he is, how much he wants to play for the Eagles, and that he’d be considered the best receiver ever if only Donovan McNabb had been throwing to him his entire career.

And we all waited for something to boil over. Didn’t take too long, now did it? And sure, T.O. has the argument that he outplayed his contract, and put his own physical health aside for the team to come back for the Super Bowl. But that does not necessarily constitute a pay raise, especially in the NFL, where contracts are normally reduced – or the player has another option: termination of employment.

T.O. and Rosenhaus also make the argument that the Eagles have the most cap room in the NFL, and that the money should be used to pay T.O. proportionally for this contribution to the team. Listen, Drew, I know you’ll go to great lengths to get your clients paid, but there’s a problem here. The Eagles may have all this cap room, but they sure as hell didn’t get it by renegotiating long term deals after Year One. They have a strict policy of not overpaying players, and it has resulted in the most financial freedom of the 32 NFL teams, while still placing them in the upper echelon (when they’re healthy).

Some may call Rosenhaus a “shark,” but I call him a “dick.” The NFL would do itself some good by trying to muscle in some stricter language concerning holdouts in the next CBA, which is due for renegotiation about nowish. These players can’t continue to be detriments to their teams for the selfish reason of wanting a new deal, when the old one wasn’t signed at gunpoint.

And what happened to being happy just playing the game? When did guys start thinking that a $5 million bonus with a $1.75 million base salary plus incentives wasn’t enough? It’s an age old argument that I totally buy into: there are literally millions of people who would kill to have the talent to play professional sports, and the ones that do have the talent seem completely ungrateful because they aren’t making Bill Gates money.

If I was Commissioner of the NFL, I don’t know how much further I’d let this situation get before I pulled the plug on the NFLPA. Yes, I consider pulling in replacements an option, since I’d rather have people who enjoy the game playing it. There would be strict new rules on contracts, holdouts, and media campaigning. The selfish players would just have to find other jobs.

Then again, I’m crazy.