Two words come to mind when thinking about this Jason Peters holdout: stupid and selfish.
They may seem like harsh words, but that’s exactly how the Bills Pro Bowl tackle is acting. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not acting stupid and selfish because he wants a new contract. In fact, he completely deserves more money. The way he is approaching getting a new contract is what is stupid and selfish, and he’s making problems where there shouldn’t be any.
Usually, if you want something in life, you have to ask to get it. Did Peters miss this day of Kindergarten? It sure seems like it with the silent treatment he is giving the Bills, having not spoken with them since January. According to Bills COO Russ Brandon, it’s been a “road map of silence” with Peters not being present at any spring workouts, mandatory or otherwise, and not even contacting the team about any of it. How can he just assume the team can read his mind, and know he wanted a new contract?
Peters is a professional football player, key word being professional. The professional approach to his situation would be to contact the front office about a new deal. They know you had a great season, and they know that you are a huge part of the team. This season, they also happen to have a lot of room under the salary cap and would be more likely to talk about a new deal. If the Bills refuse to negotiate, then you hold out. It is highly unlikely that the Bills wouldn’t negotiate, given Peters’ talent and their available money, they’d be stupid not to talk. The fact there wasn’t even communication from Peters just shows irresponsibility.
The Bills were the proactive ones back in 2006, when they took a chance on the still unproven Peters and signed him to a multi-year deal. They’re not obligated to do anything at this point, because they’re honoring their part of the contract. Now, it’s Peters who needs to be proactive if he wants something done, him and his agent need to get the ball rolling. Isn’t that what Peters is paying his agent to do anyways? This debacle may not even be Peters’ fault, it could be his agent’s plan of attack.
Peters’ agent happens to be Eugene Parker, who is behind several holdouts this training camp. Devin Hester, the Bears’ shining star on special teams, held out at the beginning of camp only to return two days later. It’s not known if he did get a new contract, but it looks like he just caved. Another one of Parker’s clients is St. Louis RB Steven Jackson, and Jackson is doing exactly what Peters is doing. Much like the Bills, the Rams say they won’t negotiate while Jackson isn’t present at camp.
By not showing up at camp, Peters is also creating an unnecessary distraction for his teammates, and this is where the selfishness comes in.
This is a Bills team primed for the playoffs, and they need as little off-field distraction as possible. I’m sure there is a whole bunch of players on that team who want more money, but they all showed up to work. They’re trying to prove they deserve more money every time they step on the field, and that works. Aaron Schobel is also a Pro Bowl caliber player, he never held out of training camp and was rewarded with an extension and more money. Terrence McGee, Brad Butler, Kyle Williams, the list goes on of players who were rewarded and didn’t pitch a fit.
Lee Evans is currently working on a new deal with the team and he is at camp, working hard with the rest of the team. Things seem to be progressing well with the Evans deal, and it’s causing zero problems for the team and front office. He’s choosing the right way to do business, getting things done without making a negative splash and throwing your team under the bus.
JP Losman was basically kicked in the teeth last season when he was benched for Edwards, but he still decides to show up at camp and work hard for his team because he is a team player. Football is the ultimate team sport, and everyone needs to do their part to be successful. Right now, with his actions, Jason Peters isn’t playing for a team, he’s playing for himself.
Peters can right this ship that is seemingly going in circles by coming to camp and proving last season wasn’t a fluke. If he shows the team that respect, then the team can show him the respect of paying him what he deserves. Until he makes that first step in contacting the team, things will go nowhere. If he’s disappointed with the $3.3 million he’ll be making this season, think of the dent $15,000 a day will make in that.
Just swallow your pride, end the silence, and make that call.
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