Posted on: March 11, 2011 8:29 am
The Calm Before the Storm (Hopefully)
I recently read an article by someone referring to this moment in NFL history as the calm before the storm. Normally, at this point in the off-season, there is a flurry of activity. Players being traded, draft picks being dealt, and free agents signing new contracts with new teams. However this year, all this activity is being hampered by the NFL's collective bargaining agreement hearings in which the NFL owners try to change the format of the way things are done in the NFL even though it seems as if things have been working out just fine for them over the last decade or so. I mean c'mon, every team in the NFL makes money, it's obvious that NFL players get a free pass on performance enhancing drugs, and fan interest and dedication has never been higher. But these owners still want more! More games, more stadiums, and somehow less compensation for the players.
Don't get me wrong, it's not as if the players don't want more as well. More money for veterans and retirees and less money for rookies. But I seem to agree with the players more than with these grey haired owners. If there is one sports league that needs more compensation for it's retired players in forms of pensions and health care it's the NFL. It's the big skeleton in the closet that is slowly rearing it's ugly head. As more players from the "MODERN ERA" retire and begin to feel the stinging affects of the game it becomes very clear that the game of modern NFL football leaves a man battered and broken. They NEED medical coverage because these guys will have severe medical problems leading up to the day they die. Now as for salary caps for rookies, I'm all for it. Sorry 2011 draft class (Locker you should have come out last year) but I need to look no further than JaMarcus Russell or any of these holdout rookies who seem to think that before they ever play a snap in a NFL game, they are somehow entitled to long term contracts worth 8 figures a year. Jesus, you've got to prove yourself worthy before getting something like that. But that is just as much the fault of the owners that has put it into the minds of these young 20 somethings that this is OK or the standard. Something needs to be put in place to limit the amount of dollars you can make fresh out of college and reserve what's leftover for the veterans who are starting to feel the pain of playing in the league. Buy them a Bentley or a Masarati as extra incentive rather than give them a 7 year $65 million dollar contract with $35 million guranteed. If they can really play in the NFL, they'll have no problem making their money throughout their career.
As we all wait for these issues to be worked out amongst what seems to be fairly unreasonable men, the activity of the off-season hangs in limbo. As soon as (I'm being optimistic, I should say IF) the CBA gets signed, I look forward to a storm of free agent signings and deals being made. Sure many teams have re-signed several players but I want to see who gets out of their current surroundings. I want to try to visualize my favorite players in new uniforms. Until then my anticipation for this surge of enterprise wells up in my gut more and more each day. I can't wait to find out in my Seattle Seahawks land Kevin Kolb or re-sign Brandon Mebane or Matt Hasslebeck. I look forward to finding out who Tom Cable will be coaching on the offensive line. From the time that deal is signed to the final pick of the 7th round of the draft... the NFL off-season will finally be in full swing but in a more compacted and intense time span. All I can do is just wait and hope this calm ends soon that the storm will soon be raging.