Is The NFL Going Down A Dangerous Path?

The NFL

Is The NFL Going Down A Dangerous Path? | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com

As with many things in the sports world, the way the NFL does business is changing this offseason as players with long relationships with team are being released, and those with multi-year contracts are asking to be traded. Players are no longer contracted employees but are being treated as free agents even while under contract, forcing teams to react to their whims, and change their plans on the fly as players no longer feel happy with their situations. In short, the NFL is changing before our very eyes, but are the changes for the better, and where is the league headed now?

The first work week after Super Bowl LV saw the Houston Texans release J.J. Watt after ten seasons with the franchise as the rest of the NFL wondered where the often-injured star would end up signing as a free agent next month. This comes on the heels of the team receiving a trade demand from their 25-year-old quarterback, Deshaun Watson, a demand they have to date ignored. While other NFL quarterbacks like Russell Wilson are asking for more input in team decisions.

The recent activity and conversation involving NFL players is proof that how the NBA does business is impacting the NFL as players are being stronger with their voices of dissent and exercising one of their one true positions of leverage, trade me or I won’t play for you. 

Of course, players with their tenure of J.J. Watt are granted their divorce in the form of a release, with some saying that’s just as bad as a player forcing a trade. 

My first reaction is that NFL franchise owners are happy about this for one reason: If players feel it is OK to demand trades months after signing a long-term deal such as Deshaun Watson is, then owners are more justified in saying that fully guaranteed contracts don’t make sense from a business or football perspective.

Think about it, would J.J. Watt have been released if his salary was sitting as an empty space on Houston’s salary cap in 2021? They may have traded Watt, but with a guaranteed contract, trading players becomes too difficult in any sport with a salary cap, especially a hard cap like the NFL has.

My second thought is how dangerous this game NFL players are playing is. 

Their sport is not like the NBA where it only takes seven or eight players to win a title, begging the question why they would want to have influence over a roster that, for the most part, is a revolving door of role players with a handful a steady starters all looking to catch lightning in a bottle every season.

Unlike LeBron James and other NBA players who can quickly force deals, NFL players don’t have that ability yet, but seems to be thriving to acquire it; but truthfully, I don’t know why. Because even the addition of one star, a bad injury can derail almost any NFL season, and franchises don’t want to appear to be allowing their players, even quarterbacks, to run the team. 

What is more confusing to me is why players would want the burden of being called when players become available since it would be them, not those in the front office who would take the hit if the signing fails, making it easier for their team to release them to save their own skins during a power struggle.

The NFL has begun down a path they may regret as players are granted powers they may believe they want, but may only prove to contribute to their downfall, not success. Patrick Mahomes had it right when he said he would allow Kansas City’s front office to make team decisions, but Seattle’s Russell Wilson calling for more influence over the team’s roster is only going to hurt him in the Seahawks locker room, and put more pressure on him to win. It’s something players like he and Deshaun Watson think they want, but probably won’t like when they have it.

If the NFL gives the players this power, then the league will be going down a road that fans may be turned off by, since rooting for players will become a year-to-year proposition as super teams are formed and who is wearing your team’s uniform this year will change faster then before. 

 


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Is The NFL Going Down A Dangerous Path? | TooAthletic.com

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