The Most Notable Holdouts of the 2018 Offseason

The 5 Most Notable NFL Player Holdouts

A few high-profile players are holding out in an attempt to cash in.

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There are a handful of players in the NFL who are currently holding out of offseason practices for their respective teams. These players want a lucrative long-term contract extension or an adjustment to their current contract that pays them more money. Many of these players are well-known across the league and consistently perform at a high level, so this has created interest among NFL spectators and teams. Here are some of the most notable holdouts of the 2018 offseason:

1. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers' star running back has been in contract standoffs with his team since the 2016 offseason. Pittsburgh placed the franchise tag on him for the second straight year, and the two sides failed to come to an agreement on a long-term deal. Bell was reportedly seeking nothing less than $14.5 million per season, even though this amount is $6 million more than the annual salary of the previous highest-paid running back in the NFL, the Atlanta Falcons' Devonta Freeman.

However, the Los Angeles Rams shocked the rest of the NFL by signing Todd Gurley to an extension that will pay him $15 million per year, resetting the NFL running back market. Bell noticed this and praised the Rams' decision. The sixth-year veteran will play under the franchise tag again, and the Steelers stated they will attempt to work out a long-term contract with Bell again next offseason.

2. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

Julio Jones is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Atlanta's most notable offensive stalwart received a five-year $71.5 million contract extension in 2015, but he is holding out in hopes of receiving an adjustment to his already sizable contract that will result in a pay raise. The wide receiver market exploded this offseason as Jones quickly found himself overtaken by his peers. He is widely considered to be a top 3 NFL receiver and wishes to be paid like one. Jones has stated that he wants to play his entire career in Atlanta, so why else would he be holding out?

3. Aaron Donald, DE, Los Angeles Rams

The Rams' defensive end has been one of the most disruptive players in the NFL since he arrived on the scene. The 2017 NFL Defensive Player of the Year is entering a contract year and wishes to be given a high-level contract that matches his elite production. With teammates Gurley and Brandin Cooks receiving massive extensions and taking up significant cap space in the foreseeable future, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the Rams to negotiate a proper compensation for Donald.

4. Khalil Mack, DE, Oakland Raiders

Khalil Mack has established himself as one of the premier edge rushers in the NFL, a one-man wrecking crew and the Oakland Raiders' best defensive player by a wide margin. Like Jones, Mack has stated that he wants to play with his current team for his entire career but seeks to be rewarded handsomely for his production. Mack has racked up 70+ tackles and 10+ sacks for three straight seasons, so it is no wonder he craves a lofty contract extension.

5. Earl Thomas, FS, Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks' perennial All-Pro free safety has held out of offseason activities while sending messages to teams like Oakland and the Dallas Cowboys to acquire him. There are few safeties like Thomas in the NFL and he wants financial security for the future, so Seattle has to either give him the contract extension he desires or trade him to another team and receive valuable compensation.

Will they cash in, or will their efforts be fruitless?

It seems that we will soon find out.

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn't sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It's obvious your calling wasn't coaching and you weren't meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn't have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn't your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that's how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “It's not what you say, its how you say it."

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won't even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don't hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That's the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she's the reason I continued to play."

I don't blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn't working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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Seattle Seahawks 2019 Draft Review

This year's draft featured predictability and surprise.

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The Seattle Seahawks made a few expected and unexpected moves in the 2019 NFL Draft. With only four picks in the draft, many analysts and fans suspected that they would trade down. They did exactly that, trading their first-round selection (21st overall) to the Green Bay Packers in exchange for theirs (30th overall) along with two fourth-round picks (114th and 118th overall). However, they promptly traded their 30th selection to the New York Giants for three picks of theirs (37th, 132nd and 142th overall) and traded the remaining two picks to the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots, respectively. In return, they acquired New England's 64th overall selection and Minnesota's 120th and 204th overall picks. However, Seattle's most notable move was acquiring the Kansas City Chiefs' first-round selection (29th overall) while giving them star pass rusher Frank Clark.

Not many expected Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf to fall to Seattle at pick 64 at the second round, but the Seahawks snatched him up when they realized he was still available. They also drafted two additional wide receivers in Gary Jennings Jr. and John Ursua to add depth to the position and possibly replace longtime mainstay Doug Baldwin eventually. They used their top two picks on TCU defensive end L.J. Collier (29th overall) and Utah safety Marquise Blair (47th overall) to fill needs on the defensive side of the ball after the departures of Clark and Earl Thomas, and drafted a pair of linebackers in Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven as insurance for Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, the latter of whom will likely not be with Seattle in the long-term future.

The Seahawks have made both predictable and surprising moves in this year's draft, and we will see how they pan out after the 2019 NFL season commences in September.

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