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"Think of this wine as what you keep calling hell. There's many other names for it too. Malevolence, evil, darkness. And here it is swirling around in a bottle unable to get out. Because if it did, it would spread. The cork is this island, and it's the only thing keeping the darkness where it belongs." --LOST's Jacob discussing the NFL's uncapped off-season.
An uncapped off-season, a reeling economy and an impending negotiation war between the Players Association and the owners in the National Football League has uncorked a dark age of contract instability amidst the league and it's players.
Last June, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell took a $2 million pay cut out of his $11 million dollar salary and shed the league's staff by 10 to 15 percent. Fortunately, Goodell's tenure is a lifetime contract. Chris Johnson, Vincent Jackson, Elvis Dumervil, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning aren't afforded that luxury. And you can rest assured once the league recovers from these economic jabs to their wallet, Goodell will reward himself with a lucrative pay raise.
In San Diego the Chargers are preparing for life without restricted free agent wide receiver Vincent Jackson and offensive tackle Marcus O'Neill. In a bold act of defiance, both players plan to hold out until week 10. They'd prefer not to play for San Diego at all in 2010, however, they're required to play 10 weeks to accrue a year towards free agency. In one fail swoop, Phillip Rivers lost one of the best down field threats in the league and his Pro Bowl brick wall left tackle.
Holding out their final season doesn't help much for their financial
portfolio as much as it sends a message that they want out of San Diego,
which is likely considering their low price tags coupled with their Pro
Bowl talent and the Chargers desire to get something, anything in
return for two guys whose relationship is irreparable.
Instead of playing for $3 million dollars this season and becoming free agents in 2011, their salaries have been lowered to 600,000 each. Not exactly Ghandi's hunger strike but the message has been sent.