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  1. #1
    Curly Horns's Avatar
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    Cool Keenan does have a point, but he's wrong

    By DEREK REDD, dsredd@naplesnews.com
    June 30, 2004

    In holding out this preseason, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Keenan McCardell is not making the wisest decision.

    But why he's making it is understandable.

    McCardell was a 12-year veteran brought in as option No. 2 behind Keyshawn Johnson. He was then thrust into the No. 1 spot after Keyshawn's relationship with the Bucs melted down. He was one of the few bright spots on an otherwise disappointing 7-9 Bucs team. He caught 84 balls for 1,174 yards fifth in the NFC and eight touchdowns.

    He earned $2 million in 2003.

    Muhsin Muhammad got $3.9 million to catch 54 passes for 837 yards and three scores. Marty Booker got $2.5 million to catch 52 passes for 715 yards and four scores.

    McCardell will earn a 2004 base salary of $2 million this season, plus a $500,000 roster bonus. That's still less than the $4.4 million Muhammad will make or the $2.7 million Booker will make.

    So if he's the team's No. 1 receiver and produces No. 1 receiver numbers, he'd like to get paid like a No. 1 receiver. He's not in the $5 million-plus club like Marvin Harrison or Randy Moss, but the Bucs should put a little more space between his salary and, say, Peter Warrick's ($2.06 million).

    The popular refrain among print and radio pundits is that McCardell should shut his trap, report to camp and whatever happens, happens. Once he finishes the last two years of his contract, then he and the team can talk.

    Not really.

    McCardell is 34 years old. The pundits also point out that 34-year-old wideouts don't make big-time money. Well, unless you're Jerry Rice, 36-year-olds don't make that money, either.

    They get cut for being over the hill.

    He can't really play himself into a better contract. By the time his current one expires, the Bucs can balk at a bigger paycheck, with his age as their excuse. Now is the only time he can make more money, and if holding out is his sole weapon, then he's using it.

    But he's using it against the wrong team at the wrong time.

    This Bucs regime doesn't budge. It paid Keyshawn to sit on his can at home for the second half of 2003. It jettisoned John Lynch and Warren Sapp without so much as a goodbye. When Jon Gruden says he's willing to move forward without McCardell, you should take him at his word.

    The rest of the receiving corps didn't help McCardell's chances at last week's mini-camp. Joey Galloway looked good, as did rookie Michael Clayton. And if Joe Jurevicius fully recovers from injury, the Bucs have three exceptional receivers and McCardell's name isn't among them.

    So McCardell will fight for more money, money he probably deserves, the only way he knows how. He and the Bucs will stare each other down to see who flinches first.

    I can't say I agree with McCardell.

    But I understand.


  2. #2
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Keenan does have a point, but he's wrong

    These guys are really starting to get to me.
    He earned $2 million in 2003.
    About $1.97 million more than most people in this country make who don't decide to "sit out".
    Muhsin Muhammad got $3.9 million to catch 54 passes for 837 yards and three scores. Marty Booker got $2.5 million to catch 52 passes for 715 yards and four scores.
    No Mr. Redd, they were paid to do the best job they could do. There was no pre-determined number of catches and total yardage amount that was required in return for their salary. They signed a contract to play the best football they are capable of playing for the term of the contract.
    The popular refrain among print and radio pundits is that McCardell should shut his trap, report to camp and whatever happens, happens. Once he finishes the last two years of his contract, then he and the team can talk.
    Yes, Mr. Redd. That is what an honest man does when he signs his name to a contract. He fulfills the contract. If the Bucs stop sending his paycheck, then he has a complaint.
    He can't really play himself into a better contract. By the time his current one expires, the Bucs can balk at a bigger paycheck, with his age as their excuse.
    A thought that Mr. McCardell should have had before he signed the contract.
    The rest of the receiving corps didn't help McCardell's chances at last week's mini-camp. Joey Galloway looked good, as did rookie Michael Clayton. And if Joe Jurevicius fully recovers from injury, the Bucs have three exceptional receivers and McCardell's name isn't among them.
    Sounds to me that he should be happy with what he's getting.
    I can't say I agree with McCardell.
    That makes two of us.
    But I understand.
    And that makes one of us.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  3. #3
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    Re: Keenan does have a point, but he's wrong

    If you sign a contract, you should be prepared to live up to it. Do you ever see players agree to take less money after a sub-par year? Not a chance. If a player has the bargaining power to get a re-negotiated contract, great. But if a contract is signed and a player wants to get paid according to performance, he should get an incentive clause.

  4. #4
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    Re: Keenan does have a point, but he's wrong

    I suppose athletes, like anyone else, have the right to try to renegotiate when they perceive their bargaining power to be at its highest. But the minute they start whining about being underpaid, I just tune out.

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    Re: Keenan does have a point, but he's wrong

    I understand McCardell's beef because his role on the team has changed. The contract he signed with Tampa Bay was that of a #2 receiver behind Johnson. He's making money equivilent of a receiver in that position, perhaps even less. But now he's the team's number one option, and he wants to be paid accordingly. If I was employed by a workplace and a similar store across the road was paying someone 25% more than what I was getting for the same job, I wouldn't just sit on my rear end and be happy. We're talking about this guy's career. He wants to be paid for the performance and the role he's in since it's now changed from that of his previous contract. I dunno, I can't say I'd burn him at the stake for this one.

    We talk about how players should live with the contract they signed, but how often do franchises follow that motto? Every year we hear about renegotiations with players, pay cuts, players being cut to avoid paying them their money... if players are to be held to the contract they sign, so should franchises. The ugly truth is that that's never going to happen, so arguing for it is rather pointless. Yes, it'd be nice if players and franchises could sign a deal and live by it, all the way to the end. But it just doesn't happen on either end. Franchises hardly ever let those final big cap hit years see the light of day before they either cut a player or renegotiate a longer deal.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Keenan does have a point, but he's wrong

    Don't get me wrong. McCardell is a grown man and can do what he wants. But if I were him, I would live up to the contract I signed. I can't control what the franchise does, but I wouldn't depreciate my name by backing out of the contract.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  7. #7
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    Re: Keenan does have a point, but he's wrong

    Well, I'm not sure if it's worth holding out over, but I think McCardell is justified in asking for a raise. Especially when you consider that he's probably not going to get much later in his career as he gets older.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Keenan does have a point, but he's wrong

    Those of us looking for jobs making 5 figures, definitely have a great deal of sympathy for him.

    Suck it up.

    I understand the desire to compare those in similar positions and their salaries, but come on. Sorry, but I have very little sympathy for athletes whining about more money, regardless of what team the play for.
    Last edited by DJRamFan; -07-02-2004 at 09:24 AM.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Keenan does have a point, but he's wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by DJRamFan
    Those of us looking for jobs making 5 figures, definitely have a great deal of sympathy for him.

    Suck it up.

    I understand the desire to compare those in similar positions and their salaries, but come on. Sorry, but I have very little sympathy for athletes whining about more money, regardless of what team the play for.
    I definitely see your side of the coin, and even agree with it in ways, but I think it's different once you're inside of the system. What Keenan is asking for is a salary fitting of his role since his job has now changed. Would any of us like being told to "suck it up" if our job changed to something with more weight on our shoulders but we saw no increase in pay? I know I wouldn't. I wouldn't hold out about it, but I'd probably ask for a raise.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Keenan does have a point, but he's wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by NickSeiler
    I definitely see your side of the coin, and even agree with it in ways, but I think it's different once you're inside of the system. What Keenan is asking for is a salary fitting of his role since his job has now changed. Would any of us like being told to "suck it up" if our job changed to something with more weight on our shoulders but we saw no increase in pay? I know I wouldn't. I wouldn't hold out about it, but I'd probably ask for a raise.
    If I was getting paid $2.2 million per year to catch say 50 passes, and my boss asked me to catch 80 passes for the same money, would I do it? Hm.....absolutely yes. Making multiple millions per year for playing a sport? Yea, I'd give them 30 catches for free.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  11. #11
    Curly Horns's Avatar
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    Cool Re: Keenan does have a point, but he's wrong

    This is turning into an interesting debate. To me, this is the classic case of the working man vs the big rich company. It doesn't matter what the salary is, all that matters is what the market dictates. If the going rate for a number one receiver is millions of dollars then that is the bottom line. For the context of the argument at hand, it is really not fair to compare the multi-million dollar salary of an NFL player to the average working mans salary. If the company doesn't want to pay the money then that is their choice, but I don't think it is right to appease the company by working more for free.

    Hell you can't hardly find a pair of shoes let alone other products that are made in the USA. Why? Because American workers refuse to work for rice kernels like their counterparts in china. Of course, you don't see American citizens protesting by refusing to buy the products made outside of the USA, rather, they consider working more, for free, just to keep their already low paying and hard to find jobs, so they can buy the trash made in china.
    Last edited by Curly Horns; -07-02-2004 at 05:24 PM.

  12. #12
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    Re: Keenan does have a point, but he's wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison
    If I was getting paid $2.2 million per year to catch say 50 passes, and my boss asked me to catch 80 passes for the same money, would I do it? Hm.....absolutely yes. Making multiple millions per year for playing a sport? Yea, I'd give them 30 catches for free.
    And I think that's an opinion based on being outside the system. If you really were a professional athlete, there would be a lot more you'd have to do than just catch 80 passes a year. You'd be involved in heavy physical and mental training, practices, team functions, etc etc. Keep in mind you're also risking permanent physical injury or even death every time you step out into the field.

    What I'm saying is I don't fault Keenan for asking the market value for what he's doing. He's being paid for a role he's not playing in, and I can understand his wanting compensation for the job he's actually doing. I think that's fair, but we all know this sport isn't fair.
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  13. #13
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    Re: Keenan does have a point, but he's wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by NickSeiler
    And I think that's an opinion based on being outside the system. If you really were a professional athlete, there would be a lot more you'd have to do than just catch 80 passes a year. You'd be involved in heavy physical and mental training, practices, team functions, etc etc. Keep in mind you're also risking permanent physical injury or even death every time you step out into the field.

    What I'm saying is I don't fault Keenan for asking the market value for what he's doing. He's being paid for a role he's not playing in, and I can understand his wanting compensation for the job he's actually doing. I think that's fair, but we all know this sport isn't fair.
    Nick, you're right. I'm not in the system. But I don't think that would change who I am. My point is simple. He signed a contract to play football for the Tampa Bay Bucaneers for a certain time period for a certain amount of money. That time period has not passed, yet Keenan is refusing to play football for the TB Bucs (ie. fulfilling his end of the transaction) without a change in that certain money amount agreed upon in the contract. Strictly my opinion here, but Keenan is not living up to his word. And regardless of whether I'm in the system or outside the system, I would not go back on my word. But that's just me.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Keenan does have a point, but he's wrong

    To me, this is the classic case of the working man vs the big rich company.
    I'd see it more as a multi-millionaire vs some other multi-millionaires.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  15. #15
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    Re: Keenan does have a point, but he's wrong

    Keep in mind you're also risking permanent physical injury or even death every time you step out into the field.
    Just like every law enforcement officer, firefighter, soldier, seaman, airman, marine, etc... none of which get paid multiple millions of dollars every year to do the job they said they would do. And yet they show up to work every day. Honestly it is more dangerous to work a minimum-wage job at the local convenience store than it is to be an NFL player.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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