Monday, June 23, 2008

The Slippery Slope

by: Michael Steffes

I have been meaning to post about this for a little while, and the article I linked too earlier reminded me. There is most defintely two sides to every story, and right now, courtesy of the Jets, we get to take a look at the after effects of caving in to player demands.

Last year at this time the Jets were dealing with the Pete Kendall situation. For those who need a refresher, Kendall had restructured his deal the year before, had a good season, and wanted the team to bump him up a million bucks. This was something he believed was told would happen verbally, but was not part of his restructured contract. To continue...

Kendall, after skipping the voluntary portions of offseason work, reported for mandatory mini camp. He talked long and loud about his displeasures, and by training camp he was letting his play do the talking. He pulled several stunts, including in a preseason game snapping two ball intentionally over the Qbs head, that made it clear the Jets had to trade him. Granted... the Jets didn't play their hand well either, putting him in the rookie dorm during training camp.

Now this year, Chris Baker thinks the team promised him more money. He is talking long and loud to everyone who will listen. As Lombardi pointed out in the Holmgren article, he is parking in the team presidents spot. What will happen if he isn't appeased by the time training camp rolls around. Who knows?

My point is that this is what is referred to as the slippery slope, and this is why Tim Ruskell won't just hand Bobby Engram more money. There is clearly a connection to the Kendall situation and the Baker situation. Baker saw clear as day that poor behavior helped Kendall get his way. Now he wants more money or a trade, so he is using the same playbook. To think things are as simple as giving a player more money because he deserves it is an oversimplification. This is also the reason that I am adamant that Bobby should have handled his situation differently. My guess is that Ruskell told him he wasn't getting a new deal before he went public, but now that he has, caving to his demands sets an awful precedent.

The last thing we need is to come to find that skipping voluntary workouts and demanding new deals becomes an epidemic in Seattle. Look at the Giants. A little success and everyone wants to cash in. That could be the Seahawks next year, especially testing the new staff. As everyone says, Football is a business first, and this is the time of year those issues get focused on.