Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson recently said he will be reporting to practice for mandatory minicamp. He was noticeably absent from voluntary camp and workouts. Granted, these practices are optional for veterans to attend, however, it's the first time in his career that he has not attended.
His camp has pushed the narrative that he was working out on his own, and that his personal workouts will have him better prepared than the team organized ones. Others, in fact many of us, have speculated he is using his presence as leverage to secure a new long term contract exceeding $200 Million. Whether he is worth his asking price is not the question. The big question is, "Is holding out effective in contract negotiations?".
Sometimes you win..
In the 1994 NBA Draft, the then Washington Bullets took Michigan power forward and member of the Fab 5, Juwan Howard with the fifth overall pick. They offered him was perceived as a fair and standard rookie contract. Howard felt like his skill set and celebrity entitled him to something bigger, and he decided not to report to the team until they paid him what he was worth. The result, was an 11 year - $36 million deal, with an opt out clause after 2 seasons.
From 2008-2010, the Titans running back, known as CJ2K ran for 3,600 yards and 34 touchdowns. He was the fastest back in the league, and combined with his size (6'0 and 200lbs), he was a force to be reckoned with. Unwilling to continue playing out his rookie deal until the team backed up the brinks truck, he held out of practices and workouts until September 1, when he was awarded a 4 year deal, for $53.5 million. Despite three consecutive 1,000 yard seasons following the deal, he was never as good as those first 3 seasons.
Sports card collectors from Gen X know this name and know it well. Taylor was a high school pitcher taken first overall in the 1991 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees. The team offered him a standard top pick contract of $300,000. Taylor and his family, advised by Scott Boras, and backed by a 100 mile per hour fastball said they would not sign any contract that was less than $1 million. When the dust settled, Taylors $1.55 million signing bonus was the biggest in the history of baseball rookie deals.
Sometimes You Lose.
NFL fans are familiar with the legion of boom, and maybe no member of the Seahawks secondary boomed opponents with bigger hits than their safety, Kam Chancellor. After his teammates Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas signed lucrative extensions, Chancellor decided to hold out for more money in 2013. The holdout lasted until 2 weeks into the season, when he finally reported to the team without a raise and without a restructure.
Sometimes you not only miss out on a big payday with a holdout, but the team can charge you money for the holdout. Seahawks receiver Joey Galloway had back to back 1,000 yard seasons in 1997 and 1998. He decided to holdout until he got paid in 1999, and the holdout lasted 8 weeks into the NFL regular season. Not only did he return to the team without a payday, but after giving up $837,000 in salary, and paying $210,000 in fines for not being there. Dallas overpaid for him as a free agent, and he wouldn't be productive again until he went to Tampa in 2005.
Bo knows holdouts. After winning the Heisman in 1985, Jackson was the clear-cut favorite to be the top pick in the draft. He attended the combine and ran a 4.18 forty yard dash. Then it was time to meet with teams. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held the top pick and wanted Bo to fly to them. They told him they cleared the flight with the NCAA, but they hadn't and when he went to baseball practice after returning to campus, he was informed he was ineligible to play college baseball. Furious, he refused to play for Tampa when they picked him first overall. He chose to become a pro baseball player instead, and the following year, took up his hobby of pro football after being drafted 183rd overall by the Raiders in the 1986 draft. Though he never made it to the top of the depth chart, maybe his holdout was a push in this case.
Will Lamar Jackson go down in history as a loser or winner in the game of contract holdouts? Only time will tell. One thing is for sure, and that is, the outcome will be determined by if the team feels they can win without him. In a league so quarterback rich at the moment that a first round talent like Malik Willis drops to 86th overall, I probably wouldn't be playing contract hardball if I was Lamar. But that's just me.