The time for NFL Training Camp is now. For all the teams, there will be a lot of the same faces at camp in the first few days. This is not always a good thing. Why? Because this means that the new faces are rookie holdouts. I’d like to share my point of view on this matter, since I have a lot to say about it.
Just like college ball, training camp is vital to a rookie’s success in the NFL. It is the equivalent of a new student at school missing the first month of classes, in that there is a lot of work to be made up and a lot of key tips missed from the instructor. Clifton Brown of NFL.com had this to say about rookie holdouts: “Any player who misses more than three days of camp is taking a serious risk. What rookies see at OTAs and minicamps doesn’t compare to what they see at training camp. Everything is accelerated 100 percent. Historically, rookie holdouts have a hard time playing well and they often suffer injuries after they show up.”
As some of you may recall, former Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell held out for 47 days before signing his mega deal. We all know how that turned out. One could argue that Russell was a lost cause from the start, but we don’t know that for sure. Another big name that we all are familiar with is 49ers WR Michael Crabtree. Crab held out for 67 days before signing a six-year, $32 million deal with $17 million in guaranteed cash. Earlier in the holdout, Crabtree was seeking a bit more money than what he was presented with. He played decent when he joined the team, but there is still a lot to be shown before I’m sold.
Since my goal is to eventually become a successful agent, I have already begun to think out how I will handle these types of situations. Never too early, right?
First off, before I did any type of negotiating, I would explain to my client the benefits and detriments of holding out. Then I would ask him if holding out is an option for him (after all it is the client’s career). Some players feel confident enough that they will earn big money later on, so they decide to head to camp and accept whatever is negotiated. To me, image of my client is very high on my list. I do not want to put my client in a position to hurt his image. I was always taught to never burn bridges, and I just feel as though a player can be much more successful and comfortable with a team if he shows up to camp on time and eager to learn.
So, I ask you all: What would you do if you were in this position?
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