As training camps around the league officially get underway, there are once again a few notable names putting off their respective arrivals.
Whether it’s sitting out in search of an extension, or just biding one’s time until having to play under the franchise tag, the reasons behind such absences are almost always contractual.
This year’s group includes Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald, Raiders left tackle Donald Penn, and Texans left tackle Duane Brown.
Which holdout will last the longest? Let us know what you think in the poll below.
Bell is the standard case of a franchise-tagged player taking a pass on training camp after not receiving a long-term deal in advance of the July 17 deadline. Sitting out isn’t going to give the star running back any sort of leverage, as he’s set to play under the one-year tender either way. But why should he be in any hurry to report? The fact that he’s technically not under contract means he’s not subject to daily absence fines, and staying fresh for the season and a possible playoff run would only be a plus, anyway. Bell could very well be content to sit out all of camp before rejoining the Steelers late in the summer.
Players usually don’t have much of a case when angling for a new contract with two years remaining on their initial rookie deals. As a generational talent and the key cog on the Rams’ defense, however, Donald certainly finds himself in a good spot to be the exception. Los Angeles likely can’t afford to have him sit the entire preseason and thus miss out on all-important practice reps amid a defensive scheme transition. Will the Rams simply accelerate the inevitable and make him the highest-paid defender in football to end this holdout quickly? They probably should.
A high-level pass-protector for each of his first three seasons in Oakland, Penn is justified in pushing for a spot within the top 10 highest-paid left tackles. The $7.1 million he’s scheduled to make this year is absurdly low for a player of his caliber, and one so key to one of the NFL’s best offensive lines. Penn’s age, 34, also makes the deal a little less complex for the Raiders, as he’d only be in line for a short-term extension. Oakland’s best course of action is to reward him and solve the issue as soon as possible. That said, it’s also tough to predict when a team will dig in.
Brown is absent from Texans camp after also sitting out OTAs during the spring. With no guaranteed money left on the final two years of his contract, the three-time Pro Bowler is understandably angling for a new deal. As is the case with the Raiders and Penn, the Texans should be doing everything they can to get their standout blindside protector into camp. That would be the logical move, at least. Can the lack of progress to this point be considered an indication of a hard-line stance from the front office?
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