Happy August 9th! It's a day you should have circled on your football calendar, because today's the day that players have to report to camp in order to accrue a year of service. As dictated by the new CBA, any players still holding out for reworked contracts will have to wait an extra year for their free agency. And lookee there, Chris Johnson still hasn't shown up to Titans camp. Uh-oh? No.
Johnson's being paid a measly $800,000 this year and next, and is clearly due for a re-up. One option would have been to stay quiet, play it out, and become a very rich man in a free agency bidding war. But by continuing his holdout through today's deadline, he makes it clear that he's not willing or expecting to wait until free agency to get paid. In his mind, the Titans are going to give him a new deal; in his mind, he's going to be a Titan long-term. It's counterintuitive, but a player who doesn't care about reporting by the free agency cutoff date clearly isn't planning to go anywhere.
So what about the counterpoint? Should fans worry if a disgruntled player makes a point to report just in time for the deadline? DeSean Jackson, upset over his own $600,000 paycheck, meekly showed up to Eagles camp yesterday. He said all the right things: he's here to play football, he doesn't want to be a distraction. But just the fact that he was there without a new deal should be cause for concern.
Jackson deserves more money, but with the Eagles breaking the bank on some high-profile signings, the money may not be there. It's very unlike Philadelphia not to lock up their young cornerstones, and they might not see him as a cornerstone anyway. Does Jackson know this? It doesn't really matter: all he knows that if he wants to join another team come March, he had to be in Bethlehem yesterday. Those aren't the actions of a player who expects to be with Philadelphia for many years to come — Jackson is very aware of his impending free agency, and expects to take advantage of it.