Every year in the NFL there are a handful of players that try to hold out in hopes of getting a new contract. The most notable name of this season was Maurice Jones-Drew. Holding is a standard business practice because not much of the money is guaranteed in this league. A player can be cut at any time if their health or production deteriorates. Before holding out, a player should take into account the three rules below. If they qualify for all three, then they are more likely to succeed with their hold out and may be rewarded with a bigger contract. If a player does not qualify for one or more of the guidelines, they would be better off lacing up the cleats and proving their worth on the field.
Rule 1- The team they are playing for should have high hopes for the season. If the team is in rebuilding mode and do not have much hope to make the playoffs, there is less incentive to pay a star player. If the team will be competing for a playoff berth, it is important that the player will contribute a vital role to their success. If the player can easily be replaced, their holdout is not going to be successful.
Rule 2-The player should have outperformed their current contract and should have reasonable demands. If the player has outperformed his current contract, he should be looking to get paid approximately the same as other players with similar production. Too many players are looking to be the highest paid player at their position even though their production does not indicate they are the best at the position.
Rule 3-The player should have one year left on the contract. Teams often front load contracts so that players can have more money in the first few years of their contract. They do this to satisfy the players but to also allow some cushion for the future salary cap that may come into play. Players easily forget this and constantly want a new deal. They should only consider holding out if they have one year left on their contract.
Obviously there are some exceptions to these rules but they are extremely rare. A player should consider the three general guidelines when they are mulling the idea of holding out. In most cases, it would be favorable to have them play out the year and get paid in the offseason.