As teams approach the conclusion of mini camp and the beginning of training camp, we will start to see more and more players threatening to sit out due to their contracts. Plaxico Burress, Lito Sheppard, Jason Peters, Jeff Garcia and Brian Urlacher have all voiced their dissatisfaction with their current deals.
In some cases I don’t blame players for complaining about their contracts, because teams can cut them at any time. With football being such a physical sport, players know they need to make the money as soon as possible, for one injury can end their career. I understand players like Urlacher complaining, especially when he is the heart and soul of the defense and his current contract is now outdated compared to others at the linebacker position.
But what I can’t stand is when guys like Jeff Garcia or Lito Sheppard complain. While Garcia is a very talented quarterback and deserves the respect he is demanding, he is also an old quarterback. Garcia isn’t getting younger and it seems only natural that the Bucs are looking towards the future without the aging QB. Why threaten to retire? If you sign a contract, you should be ready to play through the contract. At this point Garcia must know the business of football. Not every player deserves extensions before his current deal expires.
The Lito Sheppard situation really confuses me; he signed a 5 yr $25 million that runs through 2011 and yet he’s complaining. Since his contract was signed in 2005, he has only played in 34 games. He has proven he just can’t stay on the field, and he is no longer one of the elite corners in the league. He may think his contract is now outdated compared to the recent deals signed by Nate Clements, Asante Samuel, Marcus Trufant and Terrance Newman. Unfortunately for Lito, he just hasn’t earned himself a new lucrative contract.
I understand griping about contracts is part of the business because of the lack of guarantees, but I would like to see a time when players play through the contracts they are given.