Carl is doing the right thing. He's holding his ground in a deal where he has almost nothing to lose – except that ground itself. If Green gets lost in the scuffle, so be it.
When you sign a large contract, as Green did in 2003 when he inked a 7-year, $50 million deal, you're not just getting compensated for playing the high-risk sport of professional football. You're signing over your rights as a marketable commodity around the league.
That's what Green is. Maybe it's a harsh way of looking at it, but the stark reality of the situation is that to the Chiefs, Green is a pork belly. He's gold, wheat, coffee and frozen orange juice (don't you love Trading Places?). He's got value right now, and there's at least one team willing to buy.
Green is not being treated unfairly. Had it not been for the Chiefs trading a first-round pick for him in 2001 and assembling a wealth of offensive talent around him, he'd be a footnote on the landscape of NFL history. His NFL bio would read like that of a Vietnam POW (career killed while attempting to escape from Rodney Harrison).
Trent Green has value today because he worked hard, yes. But the Chiefs gave him that opportunity.
And now he's complaining about it? Sorry Trent, but the Chiefs owe you nothing – apart from $7.2 million. And let's be honest, here. Millions of Americans would gladly accept that kind of payout to watch football games with their butts planted firmly in a seat. Heck, I'd stand up – I already pay the Chiefs for that honor.
So criticize Carl all you want, but he's doing the right thing for the Chiefs. He wasn't hired to do the right thing for one player, and that isn't his job at present. This is a business, and Carl has to do the right thing for all 53 players on the roster and his coaching staff.
Remember the Priest Holmes situation following the 2002 season? Carl had to make sure Holmes could carry the load before paying him. He had to make sure his orange crop (Holmes) wasn't damaged by a passing freeze (the hip injury). He was doing the right thing for the football team (drafting Larry Johnson), even if it was woefully unpopular at the time.
And contrary to what some people might say, the extension of this standoff isn't going to hinder Brodie Croyle's development or create drama and distraction in the locker room. It's May. Training camp doesn't start for well over a month. Herm Edwards understands that.
"We're talking about the offseason," said Edwards at Wednesday's practice. "Are you kidding me? This is the offseason and we've had one practice, and all of a sudden we think it's a distraction? This is not a distraction in any stretch of the imagination."
No, Carl's going to sit tight, sip some cool lemonade of leverage out on his patio of negotiation, and enjoy his KC summer of draft picks (the Chiefs could have as many as 12 or 13 picks in the next draft). There's no reason to rush things – not yet.
So don't vilify Carl over this. Green isn't Terrell Owens, but he's orchestrating almost the exact same scenario TO did when he vetoed a trade to the Baltimore Ravens a few years ago – it was Philadelphia or bust for Owens, who had already worked out a contract with the Eagles. Isn't that almost exactly what Green did with the Dolphins?
And it's not just about this deal. If that was the case, I'm sure it would already be done. If Carl caves now, he lets everyone around the league know he can be had in future negotiations. Look what happened to Daniel Snyder in Washington. Has there been an offseason since he bought the Redskins where he hasn't been taken for all he's worth in the trade market?
If Green really wants to play football sooner than later in 2007, maybe he should seek out an NFL team other than the Miami Dolphins – one that values him more than Enron stock.
Hold your ground, Carl.
Defending The King
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