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T. O. in control


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Most of the Sports Pundits are beginning to sound like NFL apologists. Their employers should check to see if they are on an NFL payroll. The prevailing themes are that Terrell Owens signed his contract last year and should honor it or that Drew Rosenhaus has cast a line and Owens has swallowed the bait, hook, line, and sinker.

What may be just sport to most observers, however, is a business to these athletes, coaches, agents, and owners. If Owens can influence the renegotiation of his contract for more money, then he should. He would be imprudent not to try.

The contract that Owens signed has a 5 Million roster bonus, payable next year, that the Eagles will be unlikely to pay. In other words, there is a strong chance that the Eagles will probably trade or release Owens after this year anyway. In the NFL, it is fine for Owners to ask players to renegotiate their contract ala John Runyon or to cut players during the term of their contract but a player better not ask to renegotiate. Give me a break!

Owens is not just a star; he is a superstar with production that the Eagles can not replace in that WR position unless they have Marvin Harrison in their back pocket. There is a strong concern that renegotiation will set an unwelcome precedent. But, other players realize that they do not possess Owens’ talent or value and are unlikely to follow suit.

After seeing Owens play, it is obvious that the Eagles along with Owens have short changed themselves. It is obvious that Owens has more than one year left of productive playing time in his career. The current contract assumes that Owens would be with the Eagles for 2 years. It may be mutually beneficial to restructure the contract in a way that would avoid next year’s cap burden and allow Owens to be an Eagle for a longer period of time.

Owens in Control Fact 1 - Owens is in the driver seat with nothing to lose. If the Eagles do nothing, Owens will probably hold out to the beginning of the season and then return. The Eagles will be glad to have him back regardless of what they do in the draft. Owens loses no money.

Owens in Control Fact 2 – If the Eagles trade Owens, he will make it known to the new team that he will not show without a renegotiated contract. Another team does not need to take that chance. Owens gets more money.

Owens in Control Fact 3 – If the Eagles release Owens, he will be gladly signed by another team after what he did last year in the Regular Season and in the Superbowl. Owens gets more money.

Owens in Control Fact 4 – If the Eagles decide to renegotiate his contract, Owens gets more money.

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Nope. Sorry. The point is that just because owners are bad at the loyality thing and don't honor contracts it is still not right for players to pull the same crap. Neither side is right and I was raised to believe that two wrongs don't make a right. Owens got a great contract last year. If he shuts up and plays hard, he will make it very hard for the Eagles not to pay that roster bonus next year and keep him.

He and other players like him need to be using their influence to work on changing the system so that contracts get written in such a fashion that both sides feel good about honoring them for the life of the contract. So that letting the contract run it's full term is a possibility. As it is, they are just trying to make the system even more fluid and less honorable every day. If it goes much further contracts will become completely worthless.

He is making an obscene amount of money for playing a game. He has more time off during the year than anyone on this board and when he leaves football he is set for life if he can manage his money right.

He is showing a lack of class and loyality to a team that really wanted him last year. He is displaying everything that is wrong with the athlete and pro sports today. Not to mention the fact that Philly's offense actually averaged fewer points per game with him then it did the previous season without him...

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While I agree with you about the legitimacy of Owens right to hold out, I doubt he is really negoitiating from a position of power.

The central difference between this team and Owens' previous team is that the Eagles don't need him. They've already demonstrated that they can win games without him. So, I guess both sides could play chicken and see who blinks first.

What I would be interested to know is if Owens holds out, can the Eagles recover a part of their $10 million signing bonus?

Also, I think his contract was structured so that the Eagles have him for two years and then release him. At the time, I think that was supposedly amenable to both parties, otherwise, Owens would have been stuck in Baltimore (pending the arbitration).

I think the Eagles best course of action is to file the necessary motions to recover a part of the signing bonus should Owens not play. Or atleast make Rosenhaus aware that they attend to recoup their money if he misses a single game. After that, just start the season and see what happens.

At that point, Owens can:

1. Return on time: No penalty.

2. Return late: Prorated salary and possibly forfeit a portion of his signing bonus.

3. Hold out: No salary and possibly forfeit his signing bonus.

Of course, the signing bonus is where Owens has the upper hand. The Eagles need to be aggressive wrt recouping it, a la Wayne Huizenga and the Miami Dolphins.

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bottom line is he is becoming more of a distraction than an athlete. Teams will not bring him on becuase of his antics. He is burning philly and will burn the next one. Each contract will be smaller than the last. Owners will bring him in for a year when they have to. But, only begrudgingly. TRADE HIM TO BALTIMORE. Then we can see him cry for every week.

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Last season the Eagles paid Owens a 6.5M roster bonus which wouldn't be recoverable should he quit. If he has another great year in 05 why would the Eagles not want to pay him his 5M 06 roster bonus and keep him another year. John Runyan is in the last year of his contract and is due 5.5M and will receive that money. As long as Owens is playing at a high level the Eagles will live up to their end of the bargain.

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