Walker has two seasons remaining on the $7.5 million rookie contract he signed in 2002. He is scheduled to receive base salaries of $515,000 this season and $650,000 in 2006. Coming off a breakthrough season in which he earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl, Walker has demanded a pay raise. To underline his point, he has skipped the team's off-season minicamps, though, a month ago hinted on a national television show that he will report for training camp.
Rosenhaus said the Packers have refused to negotiate with him ever since he first approached the team this spring to tear up Walker's current contract, which has two years remaining and calls for him to make $515,000 this season. Rosenhaus reportedly submitted a long-term contract proposal to the Packers in February that asks for more than the eight-year, $75 million deal that Randy Moss got from the Vikings in 2001.
"I haven't had very many holdouts in my career, but I've been unable to get the Packers to commit to any discussion of a new deal," Rosenhaus said. "The Packers have refused to negotiate with us. They expect him to play the year out."
"I can't let this player go out on the field and jeopardize his career for that kind of money. I just can't fathom it," he said in an interview with HBO taped last Friday and scheduled to air next week.
Walker led the Packers in receiving last year when he caught 89 passes for 1,328 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Walker's holdout threat has drawn the ire of quarterback Brett Favre, who also criticized Rosenhaus for his tactics.
Rosenhaus responded by saying Favre should call him to get all the facts.
"I don't think he'll answer my calls," Favre said this week while playing in a charity pro-am at the US Bank Championship golf tournament in Milwaukee. "Set me straight on what? I've played 14 straight years. I have not held out one time. He has nothing to say to me."
Rosenhaus said Wednesday he has plenty to say to the three-time MVP.
"I reached out to Brett. If you take issue with our position, call me," Rosenhaus said. "I'm not allowed to call him. But if he calls me, I'll tell him what our status is. I don't think he knows all the facts. I'd love to fill him in."
Favre said Walker is under contract, "and to me that means he should be here."
Rosenhaus said he would take Favre's call any time.
Full squad practices for the Packers begin on July 29. Veterans are scheduled to report on July 27. The Packers also are facing the possibility of beginning camp without defensive tackle Grady Jackson. Jackson recently hired Rosenhaus and has indicated that he will hold out unless the Packers renegotiate his contract. Jackson is entering the final season of a two-year, $2.3 million extension that he signed in December of 2003.