Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew ended the most pointless holdout in NFL history on Sunday morning, and instantly created a high moment of comedy in my life, before I even heard him speak on it. The entire idea of what he was trying to accomplish isn’t new, but as soon as his new boss, Jags new owner Shahid Khan (who bares an uncanny resemblance to Soda Popinski by the way) said there was basically no way in hell he was getting a new deal, I knew there was going to be some comedy. However, the logic that MJD deployed hit Dwight Howard-levels of confusing ridiculousness.
He says that he deserves more than what he signed for originally because “teams have the ability to release or cancel contracts if a player underperforms, so they should raise them when one performs well.” Wait a minute, maybe I’m forget the point of what a contract actually serves, but isn’t it a binding, exclusive agreement for re-imbursement for services? Would you temper how well you perform for the money that you personally considered yourself to be worth over pre-agreed upon amount of time?
Absolutely not, MJD knew that back in 2008 when he signed this deal that it was for FIVE YEARS, and this amount of money. This idea that you can pause your legal agreements because of the fact that you don’t like a decision you made anymore is preposterous. I have good days at work, I have bad days at work. However, I still get the same check regardless. I’m aware of the fact that if I do a good job, over time, I’ll gain more, but what I get in the moment is what I get, because I signed a contract that established this. Sure I’d like to make more; who doesn’t? But what you put your name to is what you put your name to, maybe having a higher opinion of what your worth COULD be in a few years, compared to what it is in the moment when you sign the deal helps avoid all of this. Or perhaps, you bargain in what are called “performance incentives”, which increase your deal as you do better, but only if you live up to it. What’s so hard to understand about this idea?
In the end, instead of him gaining whatever amount of money he felt he deserved, he’s subject to fines of up to $1.6 million dollars and still has the pleasure of coming back, ball and chain style, to make more money for the guy that refused to give him more than he agreed he was worth already. I applaud Kahn for making MJD own up to his both his terms and the terms that Jones-Drew himself agreed to. Basically, the boss broke it off plain and simple:
“No, I don’t HAVE TO give you more of my money, just because you think you’re entitled to it.”
“No, I will not trade you so that somebody else caves in to you.”
“Yes, you can sit out as long as you want to. The world will keep revolving in Jacksonville, with or without you.”
And finally, “Yes, you will come back, because your bottom of the mountain leverage will never get any higher with me.”
There’s a lot more wrong than right in this scenario, and the right is all on the Jags side. I’m far from a pro-management guy, and I’m definitely a proponent of athletes receiving an exceptional level of pay in comparison to everyday jobs, because they have a rare, uncommon talent. However, I am always a bigger fan of honoring your creed and charges. Because this wasn’t about yards, it damn sure isn’t about wins in Jacksonville. It was all about about bravado, and looking good in comparison to the other kids in class. Having the same Jordans that Matt Forte, Arian Foster and Chris Johnson have.
Hey Maurice, newsflash: contracts are time sensitive. As soon as one guy sets a mark with a deal, it’s just there to be broken. Keep on balling, and maybe you can jump the highest hurdle and set the $$$ for yourself as high as you want it to be. But until then, go to and DO WORK.
For more on the moment and my random struggles with lapses of a shared sense of common sense in the sports (and general) world, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan