As the Julio Jones training camp holdout looms, some fear that this truly has no end in sight.
Indeed, things might take some time between Atlanta and Jones to get settled. The Falcons don’t want to be the team to buck tradition of changing things up mid-contract, just as Jones wants to probably both get his own compensation adjusted and be the first player with massive star power to really get something like this settled.
We know that there’s some fear this will carry over into the regular season, and, well, as ludicrous as it sounds, we can’t actually rule it out as definitely impossible, which begrudges me to say, as The Falcoholic’s resident fate tempter.
Though, the last time a player held a major holdout into the season on a contract dispute, things didn’t go according to plan.
D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution mentioned on his newest edition of The Bow Tie Chronicles that he thinks this could all liken itself to the holdout former Seahawks S Kam Chancellor went through in 2015, which carried over all the way to the second regular season game.
The Wiki reads that one year into a four-year contract, Chancellor wanted an adjustment to his pay, which is even sooner than the situation Jones is in.
He reported back for the third game of the season just as he was when he came into the holdout (no deal, nothing gained, only lost). The Seahawks missed him badly. They went 0-2 in that stretch (including a season-opening loss to the then-putrid Rams), but were able to right the ship and go 10-6 that year, setting themselves up for a divisional round exit.
Nobody accomplished anything during Chancellor’s holdout; he lost money on not playing his two regular season games, and incurred financial penalties from the organization for the time he missed. Do you remember how much? CBS Sports remembers.
Chancellor accrued around $2 million in fines ($30,000 a day for each day of work missed) and lost salary ($270,000 for each of the two regular-season games he missed). While the Seahawks won’t levy the full extent of those penalties (they could try to recoup part of his signing bonus as well by the letter of the CBA), Chancellor will lose a considerable amount of money by withholding his services for the time missed, and the team will only be waiving a portion of his financial penalties.
Even if the Seahawks stood their ground in not doing a new deal, they still missed a vital part of their defense, and lost the two games Chancellor missed.
Jones will begin to take on more financial penalties from the Falcons once his holdout begins, as training camp is mandatory for all players. From then on, he would not be compensated for the games he missed. Basically, if he, in the most unlikely of scenarios, decided to hold out the entire season, he would officially be the least-paid receiver in the NFL, because he would basically be paid no money. If his quest right now is for more money, then, er, you know he won’t do that.
It’s regrettably possible he could miss that season opener to make a point to the team, but Jones is smarter than that. Missing one game and coming back for the next week accomplishes nothing. Chancellor didn’t do himself any favors in his brief holdout, and reaped no reward. His deal was later extended in 2017, just before his retirement.
It’s hard to find other players who have actually held out into the regular season as of late (even Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell reported for practice on Sept. 1 last season). Traditionally, these things get settled sometime in August. That’s still the most likely outcome with Jones.
Chancellor proved that holding out into the regular season is much ado about nothing. He only hurt his team, and really, hurt himself financially by missing games. As much as I’m with Jones through this, he would be silly to miss a regular-season game.
At that point, the Falcons really would hold tight, and let Jones watch the game checks return to sender. Jones is smarter than that.
Unless he’s in some way, shape or form okay with losing out on 2018 money to prove a grander point, we should see him back sometime before September gets going. It’s just a matter of, right now, seeing exactly when that will be, and if the missed time has any impact on the offense getting back on track (it’s doubtful).
Not to scare you, but if, somehow, Jones missed the first two games of 2018, then, sure, the Falcons would be in trouble. That’s the Philly opener on the road, and the New Orleans game at home. They need to win at least one of those, and they may not be able to win either of those without their best player.
But, again, it’s wholly unlikely this gets this far. Chancellor serves as a warning to all players in the midst of a holdout as to what happens when you go past the start of September.
Nobody wins on that path.