Players, agents not reacting well to public waffling on fifth-year options

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Every May 3, teams must decide whether to pick up the fifth-year option for first-round draft picks entering their fourth NFL seasons.  This year, multiple teams publicly have expressed reservations about picking up the options on 2012 first-round picks.

The players typically hope that their options aren’t picked up.  They want to enter contract years with a chance to hit the open market, or at worst to get the far more lucrative franchise tag in what otherwise would be their option year.

But the players, and their agents, don’t appreciate coaches, General Managers, and/or other team executives expressing doubt about whether an option will be exercised.  Whatever the intended message, players and agents are inclined to regard the comments as an expression of doubt regarding their abilities — and as a lack of desire to keep them on the team.

The better approach would be to say nothing about whether the option will be exercised before May 3.  No strategic benefit comes from making those remarks, unless the goal is to let a player know that the team may not like him enough to pick up the option before they officially don’t pick up the option and confirm it.

15 responses to “Players, agents not reacting well to public waffling on fifth-year options

  1. The reality is the Teams feel the need to fill the Media’s bucket of quotes with a bunch of junk….one feeds the other.

  2. I guess when Owners/GMs (Jerry Jones) look at scumbag players (like Greg Hardy) as a simple commodity and nothing more, they treat them as such.

    Imagine that.

  3. So the players dont want their options picked up, and the teams tell them they are going to get what they want, and this is a problem? The reason the team exercises the option or not is based on productivity/value. Whether the team says it or not, other teams will know why they get released the following year. Not sure how this negatively impact sthe players?

  4. How many times have we seen a player’s best year is his option year? How many times does a player who seems to have potential but hasn’t reached it do his best when his ability has been questioned? Most (though not all) football players respond to a challenge to their ability by trying to prove the critic wrong.

    If the critic in turn rewards an improved performance (both vocally and financially), then all is forgiven. The problem comes when the critic (read coach/GM/owner) decides that’s how they will always try to motivate a player, through criticism. That’s when you start seeing players shut down and seek a trade.

  5. Agents, creatures so low they can crawl under the bellies of bugs that crawl under the bellies of works that crawl under the bellies of snakes.

    Does anyone give the slightest care if they don’t like or are offended by someone ?

  6. The correct answer is “Well, if we find a replacement for the guy in the draft then his option probably won’t be picked up.”

  7. Trade Bait. Going into the draft with something of value to trade with can give teams an edge above draft picks and get them a pick they aren’t otherwise in a position to hope for. Since they have until May 3, this still gives the team plenty of time to see which way the winds are blowing with the draft and go to plan B if they have to, i.e. pick up the option on their player who is still ahead of the learning curve for any rookie.

  8. If there is no benefit in it, why do these GMs do it? Surely, as high paid executives in the public eye they realize that everything they say will have some impact. Perhaps PFT doesn’t see the benefit. Jerry Jones? He just can’t keep his mouth shut. But the others?

  9. No strategic benefit? How about the benefit of motivating the player to put in the work needed to secure an extended contract? That strategy has worked over time.

  10. Another major failure from Smith. This shouldn’t even be part of players rookie contracts. A 3 or 4-year initial rookie deal with no option is more than sufficient to know what you have and what you’d have to pay them to keep them, whether you have a superstar, bad player, or something in between. As it is now, players have basically one year to cash in unless you want a league of Revises, which is exactly what I’d do if I was a top end player who isn’t a QB. Let the hypocritical fans tell their owners how much they love the team colors and name while I go get paid.

  11. If they are in that position it’s probably because they have not lived up to expectations. Look how many times you’ve seen a guy mail it in until their contract year. Then all of a sudden they turn in the best year in their career. Do you really want your team to sign someone like that to a huge contract (ask Washington about Albert Haynesworth).

    I think the smart teams go out and find their own talent, hang on to them as long as they can then replace them with cheaper talent. That way they have money to sign long-term deals with players who have a constant motor instead of shelling out a ton of money on players whose motor only runs when they are in their contract year.

    Look at the Steelers, Ravens and Packers. They don’t overpay people (look how that worked out for Miami and Mike Wallace) and just find replacements in the draft. Of course that will only work if you have a good scouting department. Quite frankly, it’s the only way to stay competitive year after year givne the turnover and all the big money spent on people who turn out to be busts under their second contract.

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