As of Thursday, Grant, an exclusive-rights free agent who has yet to sign a one-year tender offered by the Packers, is a no-show at Packers training camp. It might remain that way for several more weeks unless he takes some control over what has become a surprisingly ugly situation.
Grant's agent, Alan Herman, grabbed headlines over the weekend when several published reports indicated his displeasure over the Packers' most recent contract offer to his client. He spoke for Grant, saying the 25-year-old running back is "very angry," adding that he has never seen anything like this in his 24 years in the business. He said the offer was "insulting" and an "absolute joke."
The way Herman is handling the situation is a joke, too. By playing out contract matters through the public and making outlandish comments to reporters, he is appearing desperate and juvenile. He is beginning to burn bridges in Green Bay in a manner similar to Drew Rosenhaus when Rosenhaus represented Walker in 2005.
Listen, the Packers are well within reason to deny Grant the big bucks at this time. With just a half season as a starter, and really only one year of active NFL experience to his credit, Grant hardly qualifies as deserving of a fat, long-term contract.
Plus, Grant has little leverage being an exclusive-rights free agent. He cannot negotiate with anyone else. Thus, the Packers are not about to move on a lucrative deal until a little further down the road — like in the middle of the season, when they can more creatively to fit a new contract into their salary cap.
Like Walker, there is no doubt Grant is legitimate. The Packers know it, and the rest of the league saw it last season. He is also a top client for Herman, who is looking to strike while the iron is hot.
The problem is the timing.
Grant's camp wants to accelerate matters to make up for lost time, while the Packers are making perfect business sense to wait and stand by the original one-year, $370,000 tender.
Based on reports, Herman was given an offer worth much more than that this past weekend, just not anything near what the top backs are making or what certain players have recently negotiated. Herman's comments make it seem like he wants to make a name for himself or that he is looking for a blockbuster deal that would all but pull one over on the Packers.
Possibly complicating matters further is Grant's background. He spent his first NFL season on the Giants' practice squad, then his second on the non-football injured reserve list after gashing his forearm in a nightclub accident. Last year, he came to the Packers in a trade just before the season opener. He became the starter in Week 9 and finished the regular season with 956 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.
Grant needs to remember where he came from and get to camp soon, even if he has to swallow his pride and play for $370,000 for at least some of the season. He has missed out on a couple seasons and cannot afford to miss time again.
Every player wants to be paid their value. Grant is no different. He will get his money soon, but for now, he needs to take control of his agent or risk damaging his career as Walker did.
Matt Tevsh is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.