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Antoine Winfield Is Getting Upset

NFL_winfield.jpgAs Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield enters the final year of his six-year, $34.8 million contract with the team, he still wants a new one.

And he’s getting upset.

Not simply because he hasn’t gotten one, but because he believes he’s getting the runaround.

“They all said I was ‘their guy,’ and that we would
try to get you done,” Winfield told Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press in reference to team officials like coach Brad Childress, defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, and chief contract negotiator Rob Brzezinski.  “That’s all I was hearing.  My goal was
to get something done so I could end my career as a Viking.  But, for
some reason, we can’t get the deal done.”


Most recently, V.P. of player personnel Rick Spielman said
publicly that Winfield is “an important part of our defense” and that the team would do “everything we can to keep” him.”

“If they want me here, they should be able to get a
deal done.  There shouldn’t be a problem,” Winfield told Jensen.  “If they don’t, then
they need to
say that and let’s work toward a resolution that works out good for everyone.”

In other words, Winfield — who is considering moving his family from Minnesota to Houston — apparently would like to be traded.

So how about this resolution?  Winfield honors the final year of his contract, makes another $6 million in salary, and then hits the open market in what could be an uncapped year?

The problem, in our view, is that Winfield wants the Vikings to give him open market value right now, before the Vikings have had the benefit of the final year of his existing deal.

Thus, it’s wrong, in our view, for Jensen to compare Winfield to players who played their way into positions of real leverage and open-market opportunity, like cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha, DeAngelo Hall, Kelvin Hayden, and Domonique Foxworth. 

Winfield will be at that point in March; he’s not there yet.

Look, we understand that he’d prefer to start his retirement contract now, at age 32.  After the coming season, maybe other teams won’t be interested in giving a big pile of money to a guy who’ll be 33 when the 2010 season begins.

Still, he put his name on a contract and he has collected $28.8 million in five seasons.  Now that he finally has made it to a Pro Bowl, he wants more than $6 million for the sixth year.

But that’s not how it works.  The Vikings have bought and paid for his services for six seasons, and Winfield is contractually obligated to spend one more year with the team.

The money he already has made provides him with a sufficient war chest to hold out, since he’d be subject to fines in excess of $17,000 per day.  Eventually, however, he’d also owe the team the equivalent of a game check ($352,000) for each preseason game he skips.

So Winfield’s options remain limited, as a practical matter.  And even if he fears that he’ll get the Matt Birk or the Darren Sharper treatment once his contract expires, that’s the way the system works.

If he doesn’t like it, he shouldn’t hold out . . . he should simply retire.

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26 Responses to “Antoine Winfield Is Getting Upset”
  1. gwinn1952 says: Jul 6, 2009 7:12 AM

    You signed a contract…..finally made the pro bowl….and you want more money. Give me a break. You athletes need to show you are not a one year wonder. Do it again this year and then go for the contract. You signed a deal for lots of money and only made the pro bowl once. Get over yourself.

  2. aj says: Jul 6, 2009 7:26 AM

    Maybe Winfield can call up Dunta Robinson ($9.96 million guaranteed this year with a franchise tag but still refusing to sign) and share stories about how they’re being dissed.

  3. Bob Nelson says: Jul 6, 2009 8:10 AM

    1) The guy is overpaid now and not worth his current contract.
    2) He knows no other team will be as stupid with their money.
    3) He won’t get that money next year.
    4) It’s tough getting old.

  4. Tim says: Jul 6, 2009 8:17 AM

    Give the man a few bucks at a lower per year rate compared to his current salary. Sign him through the 2012/13 season(s) with both sides understanding that he should retire at that point and he won’t get another dollar from the Vikes.
    The man is a player and has been the lone bright spot on a historically bad pass defense.

  5. MattskiJK says: Jul 6, 2009 8:54 AM

    As a Vikings fan this really grinds my gears. Kind of a dick move Winny.

  6. DCViking says: Jul 6, 2009 9:07 AM

    It would be great to Winfield back for the long term, but he is getting old — I don’t blame the Vikings for being cautious with signing him. Plus, for the all things he does, he’s not a great coverage guy — though that doesn’t seem to be a big deal as long as the Vikes run a 2-deep style defense.
    The signing of a certain quarterback is probably also factoring into the negotiations.
    But, mark this down, if the Vikings don’t sign him at least of one those people who claim “The guy is overpaid now and not worth his current contract.” will whine at the end of each of his posts with something to the effect that the Vikings lost their best defensive back, and thus are doomed to failure (among other reasons).

  7. Vikings Guy 29 says: Jul 6, 2009 9:42 AM

    The key word is “try”… It’s not like a team is going to open up their checkbook and say, how much do you want? I get it, he wants it to get out that he’s unhappy to create a stir… Times are rough, don’t expect fans to feel your pain. Play out your contract and go elsewhere if you don’t like it here or feel you haven’t been treated fairly.. Two things that motivate players.. Wins and money, choose one move on!
    I love it, he claims he’s a team guy, and all he wants is money.. For a CB that got beat on routes alot last year, I wouldn’t give him that kind of money…

  8. Vikings Guy 29 says: Jul 6, 2009 9:43 AM

    The key word is “try”… It’s not like a team is going to open up their checkbook and say, how much do you want? I get it, he wants it to get out that he’s unhappy to create a stir… Times are rough, don’t expect fans to feel your pain. Play out your contract and go elsewhere if you don’t like it here or feel you haven’t been treated fairly.. Two things that motivate players.. Wins and money, choose one move on!
    I love it, he claims he’s a team guy, and all he wants is money.. For a CB that got beat on routes alot last year, I wouldn’t give him that kind of money…

  9. Bob Nelson is a Whiney Titty Baby says: Jul 6, 2009 9:43 AM

    Winfield is worth the $ he has been paid. But he is at an age where his shelf life is short. Perhaps something will happen after a certain other player signs and the cap implications are known.

  10. Agent Michael Scarn says: Jul 6, 2009 10:03 AM

    “They all said I was ‘their guy,’ and that we would try to get you done”
    That’s what she said

  11. Kaz says: Jul 6, 2009 10:17 AM

    In this economy, he needs to pocket the 6 million and worry about next year…well…next year. No one’s in the position to turn down money nowadays…

  12. halestorm74 says: Jul 6, 2009 10:18 AM

    Calm down Antoine. You know the Vikes want to extend you, however, there is another contract looming in the shadows that they might want to get done first (a certain QB). Just relax I have a feeling it will get done.

  13. Mandingo52 says: Jul 6, 2009 10:45 AM

    Hey people…his kids have to eat too.

  14. realitypolice says: Jul 6, 2009 10:53 AM

    “If he doesn’t like it, he shouldn’t hold out . . . he should simply retire.”
    “As a Vikings fan this really grinds my gears. Kind of a dick move Winny.”
    Wait a second. What has done that’s such a dick move? Is he threatening to holdout? I don’t hear that in his comments. Stop putting words in player’s mouths, Florio.
    It’s perfectly natural for a NFL player to want to avoid a lame duck season. There’s no safety net if he gets injured. As long as he doesn’t act on his dissatisfaction, he is doing nothing wrong here.
    BTW, as I always like to point out in these types of situations, the NFL will renege on dozens of contracts this season, cutting players long before they pay the money in the contract they also signed. It amazes me how the average, hard working fan consistently takes the side of billionaire owners in these arguments.

  15. Greg P says: Jul 6, 2009 11:08 AM

    Winfield 6 million not enough? No its that you want that four the next 5 years I bet. The Vikes should offer him a 2 or 3 year deal, at 6 million per… He said he wants to retire as a Viking, but a 5 or 6 year deal for a guy thats 32, at 6 million plus per season. Yikes!
    With a #1CB in Cedric Griffen, Ben Sapp, Marcus McCauley and 3rd round draft pick Asher Allen the Vikes are ready to move on, if they have to. Winfield’s positives outweigh any shortcomings he may have and it is a surprise that he has not made more than one Pro Bowl. Having said that, at this stage in his career, a short term contract would be in the Vikes best interest.

  16. purpleguy says: Jul 6, 2009 11:10 AM

    He’s worth a 3 year contract, but I bet he wants 4 years. You also got to wonder if the delay is at all related to the Lord Favre saga and the delay in determining the cap implications of signing bonuses and/or guaranteed money for both of them.

  17. cliffcla says: Jul 6, 2009 12:00 PM

    Winfield is a class act. Anyone would be frustrated by hearing statements coming out that we want him. From the buzz his agent and the organization are not that far apart on the contract. I think this boils down to incentives, signing bonus, and Bret Favre. I really believe that the organization is waiting to see how much they will need to pay Favre before doing any other big money deals. This includes first second round draft picks and Winfield. Unless of course Favre has a contract in place already…

  18. SpartaChris says: Jul 6, 2009 12:14 PM

    realitypolice says:
    July 6, 2009 10:53 AM
    “If he doesn’t like it, he shouldn’t hold out . . . he should simply retire.”
    “As a Vikings fan this really grinds my gears. Kind of a dick move Winny.”
    Wait a second. What has done that’s such a dick move? Is he threatening to holdout? I don’t hear that in his comments. Stop putting words in player’s mouths, Florio.

    Might want to go back and re-read the comments. Florio didn’t call anything Winfield’s done a “dick move.”
    And skipping OTA’s due to contract issues is a threat to hold out. In fact, he was quoted in this article: http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2009/06/05/childress-on-winfield-i-want-him-here/ as saying, “I want all to know that I’m not at OTAs because I don’t want to be there. I do want to be there! As I have stated before, I want to finish my career a Viking.” If money wasn’t the issue, why would he skip OTA’s?

  19. Wayne says: Jul 6, 2009 12:40 PM

    I have to question this player or any player’s knowledge of what is happening to the nation and our economy right now. Greed is not a good attribute for anyone.
    Does Winfield know that President Obama, the guy he probably voted for, along with the rest of the liberals in DC are in the process of totally destroying our nations economy, those greenbacks will be worthless to us all in another year. Welcome to communism comrade Winfield.
    Now play football cause in the future, you’ll be playing for much less.

  20. texasPHINSfan says: Jul 6, 2009 12:43 PM

    100% agree florio. he is a great player, but he needs to honor his contract. the Vikings didn’t go after a refund when he had bad years, why should they have to pony up an extra mil or so in his final year?
    it’s not an entitlement, it’s a privilege…. and he’s had a nice payday.

  21. CanadianVikingFan says: Jul 6, 2009 2:13 PM

    Winfield was a great corner, he brought an intensity and a consistancy thats been missing at the corner position for a while. But he is old, I’m not sure how much juice he is going to have at the end of this season. Lets just hope one of the other corners can step up. Cedric Griffin has been playing amazingly this past year so I have no worries about him. But the others, Marcus McUseless, rookie Asher Allen, and the other guys..
    Another thing I want to point out, they realize that Winfield is old and wont extend his contract but they will sign a old wilted Qb who is 8years older than him….. Makes me wonder if Chilli or Zigi have any common sense at all..

  22. JimmySmith says: Jul 6, 2009 2:38 PM

    You have got to look at this in context. The Vikings paid Darren Sharper well past the point of his usefulness. They paid Berriman $44 million and the clown didn’t even make it up to 50 catches. They paid Allen over $70 million and whether he is worth it or not is hardly the point, its the fact that the Vikings spend stupid levels of money and now Winfield wants in on the action.
    Can you blame him? He wants that same level of stupidity that justifies signing a 40 year old INT machine to a $10 Million dollar contract to apply to his contract.

  23. Chris Rush says: Jul 6, 2009 3:40 PM

    What a weird blurb. Can anyone remember Florio ever taking such a hard line stance on players who gripe about their contracts? I mean, this happens all the time to every team in the league, and I don’t think you’ve ever issued such a blanket rebuttal like this:
    “But that’s not how it works. The Vikings have bought and paid for his services for six seasons, and Winfield is contractually obligated to spend one more year with the team.”
    Wow. You sure do make it sound open and shut.
    In past years you’ve talked about how the Jets had a disgruntled player every offseason: Kendall, Baker, Coles. Those three guys said the same thing Antoine Winfield is saying now: “The organization lied to me.” In those cases, you did not see that issue in shades of black and white, but chose to ask what was happening inside the Jets organization that was causing such a thing.
    But that’s not how it works. The Jets have bought and paid for his services for (#) seasons, and (player) is contractually obligated to spend (#) more year(s) with the team.
    You never said that. And I’ve got a feeling that, the next time a player gripes about his contract and you don’t take the same, unequivocal stance that you did today, you’re going to hear about it from the folks who remember this blurb.

  24. realitypolice says: Jul 6, 2009 4:27 PM

    SpartaChris-
    The “dick move” quote was from a comment posted by mattskiJK. The “holdout” quote was from Florio. Try to keep up.
    Lots of players skip OTA’s (which, it’s worth pointing out, are optional), and a very small percentage of them hold out of camp. So one is not an indicator of the other.

  25. ZN0rseman says: Jul 6, 2009 4:30 PM

    You know, what ever happened to the players in 80′s who would willingly help the team by taking a pay cut to help get a player signed that can help them win? Do they not care about winning anymore?
    It’s winning and sacrifice turns a great player into a hero.
    Winfield is a great player who is in a great situation in Minny… perhaps he should start thinking along the of heroism instead of how he can line his already extrordinarily fat pocketbook?
    $0.02,
    –Z

  26. jrmbadger says: Jul 6, 2009 5:03 PM

    “MattskiJK says:
    July 6, 2009 8:54 AM
    As a Vikings fan this really grinds my gears. Kind of a dick move Winny.”
    So a guy wants a contract extension, is told by the TEAM that he deserves one and will get one, then gets the cold shoulder and complains. So what?
    That’s not a dick move……
    THIS is a dick move…..
    Retire. Then express doubt. Call coaches who charter a flight to go welcome you back. Call coach back – nevermind. Then after the team has publicly moved on, change mind. Create a huge distraction and a huge problem for a young team until you finally force a trade – whining the whole way about how bad uncle Teddy is for not TAKING YOU FOR YOUR WORD. Suck for a year. Then go to the team you really wanted to go to, but big old bad Teddy wouldn’t let you before ….. for the sole purpose of “sticking” it to your old team.
    That my friend, is a “dick” move.
    Any you are now lined up right in front of him, so get ready to be shafted by the king of all dick moves.

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