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A Game of Cleats

How Players Are Being Played


With football season coming up, there have been discussions about whether teams are willing to give players improved contracts. Although this is mostly about the money and business side of the sport, the contract discussions are much deeper than that.

For years, players have felt like they deserved a larger contract and to be rewarded for their success on the field. For example, this season, Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon has sat out many games into the season in hopes of getting a contract extension.

While Gordon has been one of the most productive players of his position over the past few years, having 38 touchdowns in only his first four seasons, the Chargers refuse to pay him a contract extension because his team believes it is unnecessary to give a running back a sizeable contract.

Although Gordon has missed several weeks of the season so far, he still plans to play in 2019, despite speculation that he may not return this year. The Chargers would most likely get a high draft pick or another player with pro-bowl talent if they decide to trade him.

Last year, Odell Beckham Jr. had a situation opposite to Melvin Gordon’s. Odell has been one of the better receivers in the league since he was drafted to the New York Giants in 2014, for whom he accumulated over 313 receptions and 38 touchdowns. In the summer before the 2018 season, Beckham received a contract extension from the Giants that is worth up to $95 million for five years, with $65 million guaranteed.

The next season he ended up having another fantastic year, statistically having over 1,052 yards and six touchdowns. At the time, Beckham’s future in New York should’ve been certain, but it was far from that.

Beckham had a history of antics on and off the football field and would often get attacked by the media as a result.

Despite signing an extension with the Giants not even a year prior, the Giants’ general manager Dave Gettleman said that he was not going to trade him. Odell was traded to the Browns in March of 2019.

Many believe that Odell did everything he was supposed to do on a football field. He is a tremendous receiver who plays the game well and with passion, but this was not enough to prevent getting traded. The Giants apparently did not enjoy the unwanted media attention that followed Beckham every year.

It’s time that teams and owners realize that players are people too.

Players like Odell Beckham Jr. and Melvin Gordon often get unfairly criticized for showing emotion on the football field or holding out for a larger contract. These players are misunderstood, and they have bad relationships with their coaches and owners because of it.

Teams must realize that if they have a top-notch talent, they must be willing to pay them fairly or deal with the consequences.

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