So Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe (who has only two more days during which he’s allowed to talk to me before becoming an employee of ESPN) posed an interesting question this morning.
Why would defensive lineman Richard Seymour be flying to Oakland as soon as today, but at the same time pursuing a grievance challenging the Raiders’ ability to force his hand via a “five-day letter”?
There’s a chance that this situation suggests that Seymour and agent Eugene Parker don’t have a cohesive strategy. (We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on this, especially since the Michael Crabtree holdout has gone so smoothly for Parker.)
The more likely explanation is that Seymour doesn’t want to risk taking a stand and ultimately losing his $3.685 million salary for 2009 plus his shot at unrestricted free agency in 2010. But, at the same time, Seymour, Parker, and the NFLPA have opted to seize on this unprecedented situation in order to craft a rule that will, at a minimum, provide players with a greater understanding of their options in the future.
But since Seymour’s situation becomes moot if he reports to the Raiders, our guess is that Seymour will go to Oakland this weekend and then tell the team, “I’ll show up in time to play Monday night if you agree not to apply the franchise tag to me next year.”
If they won’t, then Seymour will simply wait for a ruling on his grievance. If he loses (or if a decision doesn’t come by Tuesday), he’ll report. If he wins, he’ll head back to Boston, and the circus will continue.
UPDATE: Moments after posting this item, we learned that the grievance was filed Friday afternoon, and that the agreement that Seymour would report to the Raiders was reached late Friday night. That said, comments from Seymour to the Boston Herald (which will be addressed in a separate post by Tom Curran) indicate that the grievance will proceed. Though the issue will be moot as to Seymour, the notion that the dispute is “capable of repetition but evading review” will likely trigger a resolution of the grievance, for the benefit of players who are in a similar situation in the future.