To their credit, however, the teams held firm.
Rosenhaus likes to compare himself to a shark. The Packers, Eagles and Colts treated Rosenhaus like an annoying fly, however. Rosenhaus issued one threat after another, only to have the teams just swat at him.
Perhaps the rest of the league's star players — with the obvious exception of all-of-a-sudden crybaby Grady Jackson — will sit up and take notice.
Teams no longer are going to soil their pants when key players hire Rosenhaus and demand more money.
There are two things the typical NFL player wants: money and the limelight.
In the case of Owens, he needs the limelight like Donald Trump needs hairspray. When Owens said pay me or trade me and the Eagles shrugged their shoulders, it slowly became clear to Owens that he needs the Eagles more than the Eagles need him. It slowly became clear that there would, indeed, be Eagles football with him or without him. Owens is articulate and intelligent, but without football, he's nobody.
In the case of Walker, even he admits his threats were a ploy to get more money. So Walker raised a stink in hopes of getting a raise. When the raise wasn't forthcoming, reality began to set in for Walker, too. If he didn't show up for training camp, he could have been fined $6,000 a day. If Walker would have held out but given in after the final preseason game, his walkout would have cost him $198,000. That's serious money considering his base salary for the season is $515,000.
The biggest winner this off-season was the league. In the small picture, Rosenhaus wanted his clients to get more money. In the big picture, however, the league's entire fiscal structure was at stake. If even one of the teams had given in to Rosenhaus' demands, then the inmates indeed would have been running the asylum.
In Green Bay, had the Packers given Walker more money, the line outside general manager Ted Thompson's door would have been 30 deep within minutes. If Walker can literally blackmail his way to more money, then what about Chad Clifton? And Mark Tauscher? And Ahman Green and Donald Driver? Heck, even Mark Roman and Ahmad Carroll probably would have been asking for a raise.
If Philadelphia would have given in to Owens' demands, then why bother even having long-term contracts? Owens signed a seven-year deal just one year ago. Had the Eagles torn up that deal, then the entire premise of long-term contracts, and the security and continuity they bring, would have been null and void.
Imagine, for a second, a league in which players sign one-year deals every year. Brett Favre, instead of being a Packer for life (yeah, yeah, he played for Atlanta one season) could have been a Larry Brown-style nomad. Without having Favre for all these years, the Packers as we know them would not exist. There might not have been those Super Bowls. Without those Super Bowls, the team might not have had the wherewithal to push through a stadium referendum. Without the revamped Lambeau Field, the Packers' financial picture would have been as rosy as a white and fluffy dandelion.
The big loser in all of this is Rosenhaus. Owens fired his agent and hired Rosenhaus. Same with Walker. Rosenhaus worked awfully hard on their behalf during the off-season, and for what? Rosenhaus, like all agents, gets paid for results. Agents are paid a percentage of the player's new contract. Since Walker and Owens didn't get new contracts, Rosenhaus didn't earn a penny. Poor guy.
In the bigger picture, however, Rosenhaus' stature took a huge hit this week. Rosenhaus huffed and puffed but, in the end, he couldn't blow a house of cards down. What did all of that posturing accomplish? Nothing, except ruin a chunk of the goodwill earned by Walker and Owens for their stellar performances last season.
Packers fans likely will forgive and forget, but Walker was hugely popular before this mess began. He was vilified for the last couple of months, however, for being another greedy athlete.
Owens had finally reformed his malcontent, me-first image, but then threw it all away by ripping Donovan McNabb during the off-season and then saying he was going to hold out because he had to think about his family. Yeah, the price of gas makes that $10 million signing bonus you received last year look like chump change.
Throw in how the Mike McKenzie fiasco backfired last year — the once-beloved McKenzie not only didn't get a new contract, but his career has plummeted since last year's holdout and, then, trade to New Orleans — and perhaps players will think twice before listening to what spews from the mile-a-minute mouth of Rosenhaus.
Lawrence is a regular contributor to Packerreport.com. Send comments to email@example.com