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There should be one word on the minds of every NFL player

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There should be one word on the minds of every NFL player

Messagepar zhangzk » Mer 3 Juil 2019 03:00

Guaranteed.It’s way past time for those who play America’s most popular — and physically demanding — sport to be paid what they’re worth. The most obvious starting point would be to ensure their contracts work like pretty much every other professional league on the planet.The NFL’s standard practice of only guaranteeing part of a contract , even for the biggest stars, seems grossly inadequate when one considers that players have a shorter shelf life than any other sport and often face a lifetime of debilitating health problems because of the sheer brutality they put their bodies through.A first-of-its-kind analysis from The Associated Press only strengthens the argument that players are getting a raw deal. Since 2005, the AP found, the average amount of playing experience for athletes on the NFL’s opening-day rosters has shrunk from 4.6 to 4.3 years.Essentially, a 53-man roster is comprised of a few star millionaires — most notably, the quarterback — and a bevy of young players earning close to the minimum salary. Older players, especially those at positions considered more easily replaced, are being forced out of the game or left with take-it-or-leave-it contracts that are great for teams but do little to ensure an athlete’s long-term financial health.Just look what happened to Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas.Heading into the final year of his contract, Thomas held out through the preseason in hopes of landing a new long-term contract, one with plenty of up-front money that he could put in the bank before he stepped on the field again. Essentially, he wanted an insurance policy in case of serious injury. Holding out was the only way to get it under the league’s current structure.The Seahawks refused to budge for the ninth-year player, insisting that Thomas — a six-time Pro Bowler, Super Bowl champion and last remaining member of the “Legion of Boom” that will go down as one of the greatest defenses in NFL history — fulfill his expiring deal. And what happened? In the fourth game of the season, Thomas went down with a broken leg.As he was carted off their field, Thomas flashed an obscene gesture toward his own bench. He might as well have made it to the entire league and the union that represents him.In all likelihood, Thomas’ last chance to earn another big payday has gone up in smoke.Thomas could have stuck to his demands Taylor Rapp Jersey , like Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell. Problem is, that would have meant sitting out the entire season — a huge sacrifice in a sport that already is a short-term career for most.Coming off two straight 1,200-yard rushing seasons, Bell had every right to demand a long-term deal that would ease the financial pain of a serious injury. Considering what happened to Thomas, the sixth-year running back probably made the right move by sitting out when the Steelers wouldn’t meet his demands. But he’s now lost a year in the prime of his career, and it’s likely that he’ll have to take less money on the open market after a season on the sideline.Amazingly enough, NFL Players Association President Eric Winston says guaranteed contracts aren’t a panacea when it comes to ensuring players getting a bigger piece of the league’s windfall.“We can’t forget the cause and effect to all this,” he said. “The more guaranteed money you get, maybe the shorter your contract should be. We live in this world where we think, ‘If we had guaranteed contracts, I’d get six years and $120 million guaranteed.’ No. It would probably be three and 60. It’s just one of those things where I think there’s a give and a take.”The problem is, the NFL owners have been taking for far too long — and the players, through a union that is almost certainly the weakest of all the major sports, has been more than willing to give.The NFLPA has often appeared to be little more than a subsidiary of the league, repeating many of the league’s talking points and not bothering to put up much of a fight whenever it was time to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement.Over a two-decade period beginning in 1968, there were five strikes or lockouts as the players tried to flex their collective muscle. But the last of those Shareef Miller Jersey , in 1987, was a devastating defeat for the union. Some players refused to take part in the strike or quickly broke ranks. The owners assembled teams of replacement players to keep the games going for three weeks. The walkout lasted a mere 24 days.Since then, there’s been only one NFL lockout, which occurred largely during the 2011 offseason. The dispute was settled without any regular-season games being missed.While no one wants to see games lost, it’s rather amazing that the owners have been able to largely maintain labor peace for more than three decades, all while bolstering their own wealth enormously through new stadium deals and continually rising franchise values — and still getting the players to work for non-guaranteed contracts and burying for years the enormous health problems caused by head injuries.The players must stand up for themselves when the current labor agreement expires after the 2020 season. That means putting aside a nice little nest egg each month to prepare for the very real likelihood that the owners won’t be very amenable to their demands. They’ll likely have to go on strike, perhaps for a very long time, but they shouldn’t budge on two key issues: guaranteed contracts and a bigger piece of the pie.There are other issues worth talking about, of course. Player safety. Long-term health care. Some additional tweaking to the contract structure (perhaps something more in line with the NBA, which puts restrictions on what the top players can make but creates more opportunities for players in the middle of the pack). Limits on Commissioner Roger Goodell’s broad disciplinary powers. The right to peacefully protest (and some sort of settlement and compensation for the blatant blackballing of Colin Kaepernick).Winston said creating a quicker route to free agency is best way to improve the players’ lot.“What’s the union’s role in that?” he asked. “How do we help players overcome certain barriers to get to free agency as quickly as possible? We want it coming out of college. Owners want it never. Where does that bargain begin?”Indeed, it’s going to be a tough road. But the players need to make one thing clear: If the owners won’t agree to some very reasonable demands, they won’t have anyone to play the games.Guaranteed. PITTSBURGH (AP) — Donte Moncrief can do the math in his head. Yet the newest Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver has no plans to fill the void left by Antonio Brown.“AB is one of the best if not the best ever,” Moncrief said on Thursday hours after signing a two-year deal with Pittsburgh. “You can’t try to be what he was. You can only be what you are.”What Moncrief has been during his five-year career is dependable if not always prolific. A third-round pick by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2014 NFL draft, Moncrief brings 200 career receptions for 2,543 yards and 21 touchdowns to Pittsburgh, where he suddenly finds himself as the most experienced receiver in the room.The 25-year-old wideout has played in 69 games for Indianapolis and Jacksonville. The group Moncrief joins — rising star JuJu Smith-Schuster Germaine Pratt Jersey , James Washington and Eli Rogers (re-signed to a two-year deal on Thursday) — has played in 74 career games combined.Now, the player who was mentored by longtime Colts star Reggie Wayne finds himself in position to do the mentoring in Pittsburgh. Moncrief said the Steelers have a “great room,” and if he can be “the guy that pushes guy,” it’s a role he’ll gladly accept.Pittsburgh does provide Moncrief with something he hasn’t enjoyed in recent seasons: stability at quarterback. In the last four years Moncrief has caught passes from Andrew Luck, Matt Hasselbeck, Jacoby Brissett, Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler. Barring injury, there is no such uncertainty in Pittsburgh, where 37-year-old Ben Roethlisberger remains a part of the team’s long-term plans. Roethlisberger is entering the final season of his contract but is expected to sign an extension in the very near future.That’s fine by Moncrief, who heard from Roethlisberger shortly after the deal was completed.“He’s ready to get going, get some chemistry, lock in,” Moncrief said.Moncrief’s arrival also gives him common ground with his father, Spencer. The elder Moncrief is a lifelong Steelers fan and told his son a month ago he had a feeling he would end up in Pittsburgh.“I’m a Steeler now, so I guess we’re in the same boat,” Moncrief said.Moncrief can play on both the outside and the inside , though his 6-foot-2 frame would seem to make him a perfect complement to the 6-1 Smith-Schuster, with the 5-11 Washington and the 5-10 Rogers working primarily in the slot. Not that it ultimately matters. Offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner showed in his first season that he will get creative with where his receivers line up in an effort to create the best matchup.Moncrief has shown an ability to get downfield. He averaged 13.9 yards per catch playing for the Jaguars in 2018 and had a career-best 15.0 yards per reception during his final season with the Colts in 2017.The numbers, however, don’t exactly line up with Brown’s historic production. The only player with six consecutive seasons of at least 100 catches is now playing in Oakland after a messy divorce that ended with Brown being shipped to the Raiders for a pair of draft picks.Brown’s highly public fallout with the team following his benching in Week 17 created headlines for weeks. Moncrief ignored them and said everyone he talked to before officially joining the Steelers talked about the way the organization treats its players.Pittsburgh prefers to take care of its own, and it did that again when it re-signed Rogers shortly before Moncrief’s deal became official. The 26-year-old Rogers made the team as an undrafted free agent out of Louisville. He spent most of 2018 recovering from a torn ACL in his right knee suffered in a playoff loss to Jacksonville 15 months ago. He returned to catch 12 passes for 79 yards in limited action.Both Moncrief and Rogers will get a chance to face newly acquired cornerback Steven Nelson when the Steelers begin organized team activities in the spring. Nelson, who agreed to a three-year contract on Wednesday, picked off four passes for Kansas City in 2018, matching the total of Pittsburgh’s entire secondary.Nelson is aware creating takeaways was a problem for the Steelers last season. He hopes to be part of the solution.“I know this year will be different,” Nelson said Thursday. “We’re going to change that around this year.”Nelson is also looking forward to the fall and lining up across from the retooled Cleveland Browns, whose receiving group includes Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr., whom Cleveland landed in a stunning trade earlier this week.“I welcome that challenge,” Nelson said.
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Re: There should be one word on the minds of every NFL playe

Messagepar GregoryKap » Lun 9 Sep 2019 16:53

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