From the Sidelines


By now, for most football fans, the Lamar Jackson and Aaron Rogers trade or contract deals is getting boring.  I am tired of all of this.  All of the talking heads on TV are loving this because it gives them something to talk about before the draft.  There are, as in all arguments, 2 sides to these stories, and each side tries harder every day to convince you they are right: the player’s side and the owner’s side. I am looking at this and I will try and put it in the eyes of both camps and let you decide what you would do.

If you are a player, you realize several truths; the NFL is the big dog in sports and raises billions of dollars for the owners and the networks. They are making money off of your talents. You should get an appropriate amount since your putting your body on the line all the time, and the average career of a player is a little over 3 years. You must make as much as you can in that period. Let’s face it, the owners are greedy, they never have enough money, but looking at it rationally, the players don’t either.

Money drives everything in sports.  Lamar and Aaron are considered special athletes.  They are both Hall of Fame material.  They have guided their teams better than most, and should be compensated for their ability. Lamar thinks he is worth $240 million with $200 million or more guaranteed. He is the youngest player in NFL history to win and MVP award.

Aaron Rogers wants out of Green Bay and wants a new contract from the Jets.  He will make $35 million this year on his old contract.  Both are basing their demands on what the Browns foolishly paid Deshaun Watson, $230 million guaranteed. So, based on that, Lamar is worth it. Aaron, for his accomplishments is worth more too.  In Aaron’s case, the compensation for him is more than money, and the Packers want high draft picks too.  I understand their demands, even though to us normal people, those numbers are ridiculous. But, they make a lot of money for other people and create jobs for others, so are those demands really unreasonable in this era of pay nowadays? The owners are colluding!

As an owner, I have made millions in my other businesses, but I always wanted a football team.  It has cost me billions. I have a nice stadium, and millions of people rooting for my team.  I want a Super Bowl for the fans, and for my organization.  Therefore, I will try and hire the best people available for the jobs: G.M., coach, assistants, office personnel, and get the best players I can get.  None of us want to lose. I want an overall great organization, like in my other business.  My team desperately needs a quarterback, and two of the best are available, Lamar and Aaron. They would be great for my team, or any team!  Now, what am I willing to pay for that?

As a business, I want the best for as little as possible. Everyone does.  Is Lamar Jackson worth $240 million?  If he can stay healthy, probably, but he is a running quarterback and they get hurt more often than pocket passers.  If I am going to pay that much, I want him on the field.  In the last 2 years, out of 32 games in regular season, he has missed 10. So, basically one third of the games. That is not good for my team, nor the fans. How will this work on my salary cap?  Really, QB salaries don’t hit the cap too much because of the rookie contracts, and they cannot be renegotiated until they have played at least 3 years. So that spreads it out some.

Fifty to sixty-five are players are under their first contract in the NFL.  The cap this year is $224 million. Plus, I can roll over last year’s cap space. Hmmm……so paying Lamar and Aaron shouldn’t be a problem, as long as I have managed my cap well in other areas. Now, do I want to spend this much on guarantees?  How can I guarantee he will be able to fulfill his part and play all the time? What if I give Aaron a $150 million dollar contract and guarantee $100 million for three years? Lamar is young, Aaron is not!  What if he calls it quits next year?  How will this affect other players on my team when it comes to their salaries?  Let’s slow down!

As you can see, this is a complicated issue, and both sides have good points. As for myself, I just wonder when both sides will kill the golden goose with higher and higher ticket prices and concessions?  Television has to pay more and more, will both sides realize that there is a breaking point for advertisers?  Right now, popularity of the NFL is king, attendance is great, and there is no stopping it in sight!  You decide. That’s the way I see it……from the sidelines!