Training camp has begun and the NFL season will begin in one month, but holdouts and contract disputes are prevalent throughout the league and some get resolved as the days get nearer to game 1. The financial aspect of the game is never simple for either party; players want to be compensated appropriately for placing their bodies on the line every week, while owners and general managers want to construct the most cost-efficient roster possible.
So, with a number of the sport’s finest talents sidelined, which players will receive contracts, and who will have to wait until free agency?
Chris Jones, a defensive tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs, may be the finest player at his position not named Aaron Donald, and he is seeking a contract that more accurately depicts his abilities. According to reports from around the league, Jones is seeking $30 million per year, and the cash-strapped Chiefs have no intention of writing such a check to a 29-year-old player.
Chris Jones should win this NFL impasse, despite the fact that $30 million is a lot of money for a non-quarterback. Kansas City is in the midst of its Super Bowl window and should not allow a contract dispute to impede its pursuit of consecutive titles. Additionally, a Chris Jones extension could create up to $16 million in contract space for the 2023 season, despite the fact that it could cause some financial issues in the future. Jones has the majority of leverage and should obtain a new contract.
In general, organizations and athletes do not engage in personal contract disputes. Both parties recognize that the NFL is a business and that organizations do not take holdouts personally; in fact, Jonathan Taylor is not even holding out; he simply wants a new contract. Almost any other proprietor would manage this situation discreetly in-house.
Jim Irsay is not your typical proprietor, and he has made it abundantly plain that he will not pay a running back a large salary. Taylor will not be traded, and he may even be placed on the Non-Football Injury list to prevent him from entering free agency next season.
The Colts owner went so far as to say that if Taylor and himself died tomorrow, nobody would mourn them. Even though Zack Moss fractured his arm and the Colts urgently need another running back, it is obvious that Irsay will not grant Taylor’s request. This one may last for some time.
Zack Martin is one of the finest guards in football, but seven guards are projected to earn more in 2023. Jerry Jones believes that Martin is adequately compensated for his performance, and it is difficult to imagine how the offensive lineman can reclaim leverage in this situation.
If Martin were a skilled position player, the team could possibly include performance-based bonuses in his contract. Given Martin’s position as a guard, it is difficult to include such incentives in any revised contract. Zack Martin is still excellent, but he does not play a significant position, so the Cowboys have no reason to pay him. Martin will likely report to training camp just prior to the start of the regular season.
John K. Dobbins
This offseason, free football picks said several prominent running backs have struggled to earn Cole Kmet money. J.K. Dobbins, like Taylor, is not technically part of an NFL holdout, but he remains on the Physically Unable to Perform list and may be nurturing his injury to reduce the danger of practice-related injuries.
Whether he is practicing or not, it is unlikely that Dobbins will receive a raise in the near future. Even if you disregard the complete devaluation of the running back position, Dobbins is coming off another injury and has yet to demonstrate that he can handle a full workload. Simply put, there is no market for Dobbins, and if he wants a raise, he must return to the field and demonstrate his value.