John Mullin at csnchicago.com makes one of the more irritating, if common, mis-statements regarding contract negotiations as he addresses Martellus Bennett‘s failure to show up for workouts last spring:
“One note here: Simply because Bennett was/is under contract shouldn’t be held against him whatsoever. Public outcry is swift with, ‘But he’s under contract’ when a player holds out. But as Brian Urlacher once put in clear, simple terms, nobody seems to mind when teams cut players with time still left on contracts. ‘Contract’ is a very fluid term in the NFL.”
First, the workouts that Bennett skipped were voluntary. He didn’t have to show up and he was well within his rights to not do so.
Second – and this is the one that really irks me – the language that allows teams to cut players is written into the contract. Allowing players to hold out is not. Every player knows both of those things when they sign and if they don’t like it, they don’t have to do it.
I understand that its a standard and accepted negotiating tactic in the NFL and I’m not saying that players shouldn’t hold out if they think its appropriate. But lets not fool ourselves, either. They are breaking the contract that they signed and they are going back on their word when they do it. That’s a simple fact and every fan (and player) knows it.