The start of the voluntary workouts for NFL teams are usually supposed to be a time of positivity. Player X is determined to get better, Player Y is in the best shape of his life, and the team is going to use this time to come together.
Well, the Jacksonville Jaguars start of voluntary workouts came with a little bit of a sour taste, as Branden Albert, the Jaguars newly acquired Left Tackle, is holding out looking for a new contract.
Public relations wise, this obviously isn't a good look, just because of the negative vibe that is held around the word "'holdout". The player is painted as selfish, and in some cases the team is painted as being cheap.
The fact is with this holdout, I don't think there is much to actually worry about. Again, this is only voluntary workouts, and there are several months before the start of actual mandatory training camp. I feel both sides will be able to figure this out, as the Jaguars realize that Albert is important for their success, and Albert realizes every dollar he makes at this stage of his career is icing on the cake.
People will take from this situation what they want. Albert isn't a team player. He is making a bad impression on his new team. If he was really excited to be in Jacksonville, a place he said he felt wanted, why would he miss their first initial workouts?
Though players make millions, and Albert has made good money in his career (He signed a five-year, $45 million dollar contract in 2014), the only leverage they have for increased financial security is holding out. Albert has no more guaranteed money left on his contract the next two years. Now, I doubt the Jaguars would cut him, considering they have no other options at Left Tackle. However, in case of some sort of freak injury, and to maybe guarantee money for himself next season, Albert is trying to increase the money he could walk away with considering the worst possible outcome.
There is really no loyalty in the NFL. People will whine that a player won't take a hometown discount, yet when a team thinks even for one second that a player isn't worth his value, he is good as gone most of the time. Yes, the money is bigger, but don't we all seek financial stability in the jobs that we have? Knowing you could be laid off at any time, even if you feel like it is unlikely, is unsettling to say the least. Albert has been in the league long enough that he knows this, and is doing what he feels is right.
Someone's value is worth what someone is willing to give them, and what their loss would mean to their company. The Jaguars, as weird as it sounds, are a company. And Albert is one of their more important employees.
I also don't think it would be that outrageous for the Jaguars to add a few million guaranteed dollars to his contract. Hell, even adding like 1 or 2 million guaranteed for next year could probably get the job done. Even if they added 2 million guaranteed for 2018, if they wanted to cut him they would still save 7.6 million dollars.
I find it funny how people will whine about millionaire players trying to grab a few extra bucks, but never seem to whine as loud when billionaire owners make cash grabs as well. Anyways, this will all be figured out most likely, but I can't blame Albert for using the only leverage he has. Honestly, we are all more like Albert in our jobs then we think.