Hold-ins continue to be a delicate situation for NFL teams

USA TODAY Sports

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.

10 responses to “Hold-ins continue to be a delicate situation for NFL teams

  1. Seattle loves to go after these alpha dudes with personalities (see the LOB), but these are the potential downfalls. I realize Diggs had a decent year last season. But they just set the market with Adam’s contract and no Diggs wants his too? I mean he is the 19th highest paid safety. Each team has 2 safeties. So in reality he is sitting at 19 of 64. That’s pretty dang good, especially considering the guy who starts next to you is the #1 paid in the league. I would say Diggs comes in as one of the top 20 in the league and his pay reflects that. Seattle got themselves into this mess, let’s see if they can get out.

  2. There’s way more overpaid players then underpaid. Probably like 20-1. Pete doesn’t have to worry about ever becoming an old man, because he’s becoming an old lady.

  3. Since players don’t get paid until the regular season, these hold-ins are merely making a business decision to reduce the bodily risk incurred during practice. If any of them suffer a serious injury during practice, they have ruined their chances at a free-agent contract for nothing. At least during the season, they are building their case for the big bucks, so the risk/benefit analysis changes. These players know their bodies and how much work they need to get ready, so they will still be able to answer the bell while saving wear and tear on their bodies.

  4. Being at Practice and refusing to practice(insubordination), is conduct detrimental to the team.

  5. On the other side of the coin – by refusing to practice, they increase the odds of potential career altering injury; such as a torn achilles.

  6. There is also less risk of injury when they develop chemistry working together and learning to read, sense each other’s ability, reactions and moves in various situations.

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