Coming off a career year and wanting a raise, will RB Thomas Jones become an offseason distraction?
Is “The Good Soldier” going AWOL?
Thomas Jones has not yet reported to the Jets' offseason conditioning program, missing his second day. The belief is that he is hoping to force the club to renegotiate his contract.
Such is life in the NFL these days.
Jones is signed through 2010 and is hoping to convert last year's monster season into one final payday. However, such a goal is probably an unrealistic one for the 31 year old veteran. He is due to make $1 million this year and has a $3 million bonus coming to him next March if he's still on the team.
I think just about everybody (including his agent, the infamous Drew Rosenhaus) can read the writing on the wall on this subject. For those who can't, let me spell it out for you: Barring some bizarre circumstance where Thomas Jones becomes one of the greatest running backs in NFL history overnight, he will almost certainly be cut prior to next March.
For those of you who have read my columns in the past, you should be well familiar with my stance on players holding out. I find it ridiculous that one individual can be allowed to disrupt an entire team because of their own selfish desires.
Yes, football is a business where talented athletes endure enormous physical pain during the course of a season (and often end up continuing to pay the price well past their playing years.) Their professional lifespan is incredibly short, so they need to make as much money during their prime earning years as possible. Of course, the money that gets paid to them is a pittance when compared with how much cash the rich owner is probably making off of their labor.
However, the people that the players should really be upset with are those who ratified the Collective Bargaining Agreement so long ago that allows the owners to prematurely truncate the ridiculous contracts they hand out. I'm not sure why anyone on the players' side thought that this was a good idea. To me, that's like you or I (you know, the “normals” who were born without the ability to run fast, jump high, or bench press our own body weight 30 times) accepting a job where we're promised a huge bonus in November, but agreeing to the fact that the company can fire us without cause in October without owing us an extra cent (hmmm….come to think of it, that probably has happened with at least some employees of financial institutions that have recently collapsed.)
Regardless of whether or not the situation is fair, Jones had better be careful of overplaying his hand here. It's rare that the career of an NFL running back extends past the age of 31. When things start to deteriorate for them, they go downhill fast. The Jets have done a lot of free agent shopping to fill holes on the defensive side of the ball and will almost certainly spend their first round pick on a “skill player” (quarterback, running back, wide receiver or tight end.) There are several running backs in this draft that should fall to them who could replace him.
Jones has always been a team player throughout his career. He shouldn't let a leech like Rosenhaus (who is merely looking out for his own commission) destroy his reputation.
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Written by Frank Mazzola