The Infamy of June 1

June 1st is a day that provides change throughout the league. Teams that need cap room for the year in question can release high priced players so they can use the money freed up for other purposes. This money can be used to sign additional free agents, draft choices or just to have the breathing room under the cap.

A case that comes to mind is Brian Griese and the Broncos. By releasing him yesterday, the Broncos saved $6.3 million over the next two years.

 

This day can be one of excitement and a time of anxiety. There has to be a degree of nervousness that accompanies change. No matter how much we talk it up, change has a way of un-nerving us. Most of the players that go through this process know in advance that it is coming because their situations are well publicized.

 

Some of the players that are released can still play the game at a high level, and will get another chance to prove this with another team. Yet there are some players that will not be given another chance based on other teams' cap situations, and therefore their careers are cut short.

 

The irony is that most of these guys are released because their former status of being a great player has led to their big paydays. The big signing bonuses that they received have been granted to them in the year/years preceding their release. Mike McCary had some big paydays but injuries have shortened a career that had promise. Now he is about to become a cap causality after June 1.

 

Some players have been asked by the team to restructure their contracts or to accept a pay cut. Sometimes a player's pride gets hurt when he is asked to make this financial sacrifice. This causes the team and the player to be at odds when it comes time to negotiate. It is crucial for the player to recognize where his strength lies and know that change can be a good, but sometimes a bad thing. Generally when someone is asked to take a pay cut, this player has lost a step or his spirit in the game has changed but still thinks he is the player that he once was. The team still sees value in this player and wants to keep him around. If the fore mentioned is true, than generally some sort of resolution may be worked out prior to June 1.

 

Greise and most other players in this group of June 1 cuts were very good players at one time. So much so, that they were considered untouchable players. The untouchable player is one you build your team around, one that you will never trade and god forbid never ever, ever cut. The untouchable status may have been as near in time as last year.

 

However, circumstances change very quickly in this league, which influences the June 1st cuts. A team may be in a drastic economical state, like we were two off-seasons ago. A player may become disenfranchised because his ability or game changed after he got the big payday. Think about Dana Stubblefield and his stint with the Redskins.  He played great the year with San Francisco before he paid the big bucks, but for some reason he could not find his game with him in Washington. Sometimes someone that makes less money may outplay a player and the team decides to go in another direction. Hey it happens. Change, that is, happens all the time.  

 

The overall point to this day of June 1, is that it's a day that will be remembered by a lot of high profile players, as well as a day that will be in the league official's minds until a new CBA is agreed upon. It is a day of good fortune and a day of sudden ends. Let's see if some of the leagues former favorite players are able to regain their footing with their new teams.


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