NFL contract holdouts are not uncommon, and there seems to be a good number every offseason. This season is nothing different. Here is the updated news on the NFL stars who are holding out in hopes of securing a new contract in 2018.
DE Khalil Mack- Oakland Raiders
Mack, the 2016 Defensive Player of the Year, is holding out in hopes of garnering a new contract that will make him the highest paid defensive player in the NFL. He is scheduled to make $13.84 million under the fifth-year option of his rookie deal. As per Jeff Smith of 247sports.com, there has been little-to-no communication between Mack and the Raiders during offseason workouts. Jon Gruden, the Raiders new head coach, had this to say about Mack’s absence:
“One of the big reasons I came here was to coach that man. I don’t want to speculate. There are a lot of guys in the league, several players in a similar situation. We’re just trying to resolve it as soon as possible and in the meantime coach the players that are here.”
DL Aaron Donald- Los Angeles Rams
According to Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com, Donald wants to reset the market value for those who are not quarterbacks. Donald is scheduled to make $6.9 million for the 2018 season, the final year under his rookie deal. Donald has been reportedly commanding coming north of $20 million per year. While the Rams would have no problem giving that kind of money to someone like Donald, the team has other players they have to worry about in the next couple of years. Players like CB Marcus Peters and RB Todd Gurley are due for new contracts next year, and Jared Goff would be the following year. The Rams want Donald, but must have cap space to sign other players as well.
RB David Johnson- Arizona Cardinals
Johnson sat out mandatory minicamp after attending all of voluntary OTA’s. Johnson came on to the scene in 2016 when he accounted for 2,118 and 20 touchdowns. However, Johnson missed all of the 2017 season after suffering a wrist injury Week 1. The Cardinals might want to see how Johnson will respond from having a year off before committing big money to him. Johnson is scheduled to make $1.9 million this coming season.
RB Le’Veon Bell- Pittsburg Steelers
It is no secret that the Steelers and Bell are at an impasse, much like last year. Bell feels like he should be the highest paid running back in the league. As reported by Mike Chiari of Bleacher Report, Bell has set a price point of himself at $14.5 million per year. Ironically, that is the value of the franchise tag that the Steelers placed on Bell, which Bell has yet to sign. Bell did not attend any offseason workouts, and his absence could extend to training camp and even into the pre-season. That is what happened last year, though it didn’t seem to affect his performance at all.
S Earl Thomas- Seattle Seahawks
One of the more acrimonious holdouts we’ve seen (outside of Bell), Thomas has also missed all offseason workouts. Thomas, on the last year of a four-year, $40 million deal, has stated that he would like to remain a Seahawk for the rest of his career. However, the All-Pro safety is on the record saying that he “wants to have certainty in regards to the upcoming years of my career.” The certainty Thomas is talking about could refer to trade rumors about him that have lasted all offseason, with his name being linked to the Dallas Cowboys most notably. He is scheduled to make $10.4 million this season.
WR Julio Jones- Atlanta Falcons
This one has the makings of going very bad. Jones is holding out for a new deal, even though he is getting ready to enter the third year of a five-year, $71.25 million deal he signed in 2015. The Falcons understandably want Jones to play out more of his contract. However, the situation has become worse due to Jones’ recent involvement with newly minted Hall Of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens, according to Falcons beat writer D. Orlando Ledbetter. Owens, while talented during his career on the field, also had the penchant to rub front offices the wrong way. The Falcons are aware of Owens’ past transgressions and are worried that he is rubbing off on Jones. Ledbetter calls the relationship between the Falcons and Jones “in a bad place right now.”
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