More than a few players, in lieu of holding out at the start of training camp, showed up but didn’t practice. In every case, their teams allowed it.
And so a new kind of hold-in was born. Previously, the term as used in NFL circles referred to a player who either embellished or fabricated an injury in order to not practice. Now, the teams seem to simply shrug at the notion that a player who isn’t happy with his contract will show up for camp but participate in on-field drills until it the problem is solved.
The rules aren’t clear. And, in Seattle, the patience the team previously showed with safety Jamal Adams and continues to show with tackle Duane Brown has spread. Safety Quandre Diggs, who previously was practicing, now isn’t.
“I can’t remember what the rules were in the past as far as guys not coming and showing up and all that in the past,” coach Pete Carroll told reporters on Friday, after saying that Diggs “deserves” to make a statement by not practicing. “I think this is an opportunity for players in all sports to communicate where they’re coming from, and this is a way to do it. Quandre has been great all through camp. He’s had a fantastic camp, and he’s in great shape and he’s ready to go.”
The rules used to be that players who didn’t like their contracts would hold out and incur daily fines. Then, when the holdout ended, the team would waive the fines. Now that the fines have shot to $50,000 per day and can’t be waived unless a player is operating under his rookie deal, a player who isn’t happy has to show up and then basically refuse to work. And the teams are letting them do it.
Carroll, who allowed Adams and Brown to do it from the start of camp, is now shrugging at Diggs doing an about-face as he tries to get a new deal.
At some point, however, the team has to say, “Enough.” At some point, it’s time to work. If any player who doesn’t like his contract can just show up and refuse to work indefinitely, more and more will do it.
It’s a dangerous precedent, one that was created by CBA changes that made holdouts much harder to accomplish. For now, hold-ins are much easier to accomplish. Especially in Seattle.