The Cincinnati Bengals released wide receiver Antonio Bryant, the team announced Sunday.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, $8 million of Bryant's contract is guaranteed.
The Cincinnati Bengals have just pissed $8 million dollars down the drain because Antonio Bryant's knee ligaments can't get right. The same Cincinnati Bengals who have been accused of being one of the most frugal franchises in all of sports history, with an owner in Mike Brown who makes Cincinnatians (is that what you all call yourselves, please help) foot the bill when Bengals costs come up, basically said, "we ain't tripping on $8 million."
So why is it when you see owners of these professional teams tell you that they don't have any money, why do we as sports fans continue to believe them? Are we that dumb? Do they just do a great job of tricking us?
Let me be perfectly clear about this, the Bengals ABSOLUTELY did the right thing by admitting their mistake and cutting ties immediately. There's nothing wrong at all in doing that, in fact, I think some owners and general managers would be stubborn and try to make a situation like this work. Now, I understand that there is a dearth of wide receiver talent in Cincinnati (Ocho, T.O., Andre Caldwell, Matt Jones, Dezmon Briscoe....ok fine, Jordan Shipley and Quan Cosby too. Tuck Fexas) so making the cut isn't killing them talent-wise, but I actually respect the move.
In reality, the Bengals should've targeted Brandon Marshall from the get go (if you add up Bryant's and Owens' money, they could've offered Marshall a combined $12 million/year) but chose to play wide receiver charades instead.
So when you see an owner just "throw it in the bag" with their players, its seen as making the team better. However, what you see happening with Darrelle Revis and Vincent Jackson with their teams is something different? We all know the story about Darrelle Revis, he's one of the top 2 corners in all of football, and the man is unwilling to move off his current stance of wanting to be paid like it. Yes, he has three years left on his deal, but he's being unfairly compensated. Plus, in reality if he sits out the year then he AUTOMATICALLY becomes a free agent in an uncapped 2011? You think Jerry Jones or Daniel Snyder isn't going to throw all the money in the world at this man's feet?
Jets' owner Woody Johnson has the money, he's signed virtually every other player on his team to extensions. Some of them were already under contract (Nick Mangold had one year left on his deal, resigned him for the highest deal for a center in NFL history) plus we've seen other teams sign their best players to fair-market deals to keep their stars happy. Andre Johnson just redid his deal that has him paid until 2016. He's the best player in Texans history, and their owner treated him like such. Wasn't even a big deal. (Matter of fact, I didn't even know there was an issue...all of a sudden, on the bottom line I see, "Andre Johnson signs new contract extension" and that was that.)
In other words, its all a public relations spin. The Jets and the media are going to make this seem like Darrelle Revis is in the wrong, because he won't honor his contract. Well, his contract technically has "options" and of those options is that if he sits out a year he automatically becomes a free agent. If I'm the Jets owner, I never let it get to that point. Our own head coach has stated publicly, many times I add, that Revis is our best player. So why are we sitting here wasting time? You just got a brand new stadium, you have a team that's destined to make a run at a Super Bowl, and you're letting your best player just sit out?
Let me make one point before I finish this post, if the Jets are trying to make a point that cornerbacks shouldn't be making that much money then I will totally back off my stance on this. Its not their fault that the Raiders and owner Al Davis inflated the going rate for top flight corner backs drastically. Nnamdi Asomugha is making $16.5 million/year on his three year deal, and Revis is using that deal as leverage. $16.5 million. Quarterbacks don't even make that much money outside of the big 3 (Brees, Manning, Brady...the latter two are waiting on new deals too, by the way...I'll touch base on them in a minute) and I could see the Jets having a problem with it. However, in reality I don't, not at all.
Here's your precedent. At the end of the day, we're talking about owners who are billionaires, not millionaires. Case in point. Shift focus to the NBA real quick. The Golden State Warriors were just sold recently for $450 million dollars in 2010. You know how much they bought the team for back in 1995? $119 million dollars.
That's a profit of $231 million dollars. For a moribund, decrepit, can't get right franchise who hasn't done anything memorable in the last 15 years except for shocking the world in the 2007 playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks.
$231 million dollars profit.
I don't care how many bad contracts these teams sign. I don't care if they brought Jim Brown back on the field to run a lead draw. The owners have money, and don't let these people tell you otherwise. If the Jets end up letting Revis sit there, its their own fault. No one wants a job where they are paid well below market value, but the problem is that regular NFL players can't afford to do what Revis is doing. You know why? Because he has leverage. That's why Vincent Jackson's negotiations aren't working out as well, because in my opinion he doesn't have nearly the leverage Revis does.
I see the reality of what's going on with Mike Brown and the Bengals, their owner is getting old and I think for the longest time he was only concerned about getting this money and making the team profitable. Now he realizes that he might go on in the rest of his life without making a real run at a title and has thrown caution to the wind. Now the Bengals are contenders, finally, and if you have to throw $8 million dollars away to do it then you've got to do it.
The Bengals are the Brown's family business, its a mom & pop business of epic proportions essentially. Maybe Mike's snapped out of it, who knows. Maybe Jets' owner Woody Johnson will get over it and just pay the man. When you get old and you don't have that Super Bowl trophy in your case, maybe you shouldn't send the blame to the player...send it to the owner.
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