NFL, Rams, Players – It’s A Business
As fans one tends to look at their favorite NFL team through a specific set of lenses. There is a good chance you’ve followed your particular team for years. You’ve been there through the bad times as well as the good and you have therefore invested your sports passion in a most dubious endeavor, the NFL team.
1. – a group of players forming one side in a competitive game or sport.
2. – come together as a team to achieve a common goal.
The NFL “Team” to a degree, is a myth. In reality the NFL is a group of businessman.
Not for some teams of course. Some organizations are built on mutual respect and treat their players thusly. Some clubs have a defined culture, a specific identity, leaders in the locker room, walk with a certain swag and more than likely have a Lombardi Trophy (or two) sitting in the hallway trophy shelf.
These clubs have veterans that teach rookies the “team way” as they enter the league. Home-grown players (drafted) rarely reach free agency as the teams tend to lock them up for a second (or more) contracts. There are of course “negotiations” that go on however rarely is this done in the public eye. They are after all, a “team.” Ergo the front office takes care of it’s own.
Then there is the majority (rest) of the league. For exhibit A we give you the latest from the Los Angeles Rams.
The Rams front office, fresh off having let valued draft selections and veteran free agents walk from their vaunted defense due to bad cap management and worse player personnel decisions are now dragging out the second contract negotiations of former first round draft selection DT Aaron Donald and doing it in the public eye.
Let’s recap. Aaron Donald is an All-Pro former first round draft selection. He is also All-World, the best defensive tackle in the NFL game today who has just skipped three weeks of OTA’s as he is working on getting a new contract on his vastly under-paid rookie deal.
SIDEBAR: Yes, it is PERFECTLY ok for a player to ask to be fairly compensated for his services and renegotiate a deal he is out performing. If a player under performs their contract the team has every right to cut the player and not honor the remainder of the deal. Same goes for over performance. This is America. The door swings both directions.
The point here is a front office who has made the fans suffer through YEARS of .500 ball under the direction of a JAG coach at the end of his tenure (perhaps letting the fans suffer while they worked their way back to LA????), then watched some of their best players leave due to cap issues and poor player decisions are now jerking both their fan base and their best player around some more.
The fans get it, his teammates get it. However, somehow the Rams front office hasn’t figured it out yet. You take care of your own and they take care of you. Otherwise, they leave when they get the chance and your club will continue to perform at a low level. It’s called .500 ball for a reason. It’s not a compliment.
The Rams finally fired Jeff .500 Fisher. However are they now going to hamstring their new DC Wade Phillips, arguably the best DC in the NFL? Donald is a team leader. The rest of the players are paying very close attention to how he is treated because they realize they have less leverage than him. If the team isn’t going to treat their best player with respect …… well, you do the math.
Clock is ticking Rams, who are you going to be? LA Rams, world champion contenders? Or LA Rams, the legacy of Georgia Frontiere?
No matter which way it goes, you, the fan, will foot the bill.
What say you Sports Nation?
Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over