So why isn’t safety Kerry Rhodes currently on an NFL team? The fact that there’s no buzz at all about Rhodes coupled with Internet rumors regarding Rhodes’ sexuality (Rhodes strongly denies he is gay) creates the impression he has been shunned by the NFL after eight years of service.
But there’s another side to the story. After we posted our item regarding the Deadspin article highlighting Rhodes’ absence from the league, multiple league sources reached out to explain that Rhodes could have been on a team for 2013, but that he wanted too much money.
It started with the Cardinals, who were due to pay Rhodes $5.5 million in 2013. One source claims the Cardinals offered Rhodes a reduced contract before cutting him on March 13. Rhodes, however, wanted more than the Cardinals were willing to pay.
Mike Jurecki of 910-AM in Phoenix reported Friday that Arizona actually offered Rhodes a one-year, $3 million guaranteed deal. Per Jurecki, Rhodes wanted to “roll the dice” in free agency — and only the Bengals were interested.
Another source told PFT that one team other than the Bengals contacted Rhodes in the offseason. The team in question viewed Rhodes as a player who deserved to earn a contract in the one-year minimum range, but the team learned that Rhodes wasn’t interested in playing unless his compensation was “significant.”
Yet another source said the Rhodes is “just really OK and doesn’t really like football.”
Other sources have characterized these claims as “he said/she said” contentions, pointing out that, regardless of the events that resulted in the Cardinals cutting Rhodes, there’s been no interest since the early days of free agency. One source explained that, in recent months, there have been and continue to be no opportunities or interest even at the minimum salary level, which for Rhodes would be $840,000.
No matter how the dominoes fell for Rhodes in Arizona, the end result is that Rhodes currently is drawing no interest, and that he apparently didn’t draw much in the first place. If the Cardinals truly deemed him to be worthy of a one-year, $3 million contract in March, why would no one offer him anything in May, June, July, August, or September?
Coincidentally, the rumors regarding Rhodes’ sexuality hit the Internet in April.
Based on the timeline, it’s possible that Rhodes priced himself out of the market in March, and that the market otherwise decided after April to avoid him for reasons other than his contractual expectations. The reality of situations like this is that the employers who are steering around a given employee will never admit that they’re doing so for reasons that aren’t legitimate.
For Rhodes, the reality is that the Cardinals reportedly wanted to give him $3 million guaranteed in April, and that no one wants to give him anything now. And so the end result continues to be that, like the Chewbacca defense, Rhodes’ ongoing unemployment does not make sense.