For a team that went 2-14 last season, this fan base is pretty fired up about its team. A busy and eventful offseason has a lot to do with that and of course we'd all like to keep the positive energy flowing. That's why I'm holding out for no rookie holdouts this offseason. They seem to be a bit of a buzz kill.
The Jaguars rookie holdout history actually started in the year of the team's best season. In July of 1999 Fernando Bryant walked away from contract talks (at the advice of his agent Jimmy Sexton) over the 5th year of his contract. The Jaguars wanted it in his deal, he didn't. Eleven days later Bryant was in camp with a 5 year, 5.3 million deal. The team would go on to complete a 14-2 season, reach the AFC Championship, and only lose to one team all year. The holdout didn't affect the season or the player that much. Not all rookie holdouts would go so smoothly though.
During the 2003 Draft, someone at the Vikings organization (or Ravens depending on who's telling the story) lost track of time and didn't get the trade or pick in. The result: our Jaguars had the unexpected joy of drafting Byron Leftwich. The team was looking for a replacement for then QB Mark Brunell and Byron was their guy. The fan base was split on this idea at the time and the only thing that could aggravate those feelings more was a rookie holdout. Leftwich's holdout would be the longest in franchise history lasting 19 days. His final deal was a 5 year deal worth close to $30 million. This was Jaguars fans' first taste of a real nasty holdout, and it affected feelings toward the QB that lasted arguably his entire time here. But the Leftwhich holdout wasn't the worst or the longest.
The worst holdout in team history was the 33 day holdout of defensive end Derrick Harvey. Drafted 8th overall in 2008, the University of Florida standout is considered to be one of the biggest busts in franchise history. The issue was mostly dollars and cents. Harvey's agent thought his client's contract should look like Sedrick Ellis' 5 year deal with $20 million guaranteed. In the end, after missing all of training camp and the first 3 preseason games, Harvey received a 5 year deal worth over $33 million with over $17 million guaranteed. The deal was also loaded with incentives based on his expected success. Harvey's career being described as "less than stellar" is about the nicest way to put it. As soon as the deal was done, Harvey met up with the rest of the team in Washington D.C. to play the last half of the last preseason game. His rookie season would be a constant struggle as he tried to learn all the things he missed by not being in training camp. To compound the problem for Harvey and the team, the 2008 campaign was a disaster. After going 11-5 and reaching the playoffs in 2007, the team would only win 5 games the year after not meeting any preseason expectations.
So as we anxiously await the start of the 2013 season, I'm hoping the new front office has some sort of magic potion that will keep the holdout demons away. Holdouts tend to make it hard for a player to get acclimated to the NFL and also just isn't fun to read about from a fan's perspective. Whether any of this Draft class' rookies holdout or not, It'll be an interesting way to gauge how the new front office does business and a great way to see how quickly any honeymoons will end for the new regime.