It’s not uncommon for athletes to lose the drive to get better every day once their big payday comes along. Chris Johnson has been one of the best and most recent examples of this. So far this season he has 699 yards rushing on 183 attempts and just two touchdowns. When you look at these stats they may not be as bad as you think, but he has also had two games in the last three weeks in which he rushed for 320 yards and a touchdown. You could attribute the lack of success to the shortened training camp, but he didn’t even attend training camp, rather deciding it was best to force the Titans to make him one of the highest paid running backs in the NFL. As always, hindsight is 20/20 and I’m sure that the Titans would have let him go had they known what kind of production he was going to give them after being financially set for the rest of his life. It is unfortunate but this is rapidly becoming a theme throughout the NFL, making franchise players a little more expendable to their teams.
This season, two players who are in contract years, Peyton Hillis and DeSean Jackson, have made it easy for NFL teams to realize that these players are not worth the big bucks. Hillis has had an abysmal season, which has really pissed me off since he’s on my fantasy team, missing six games this season already. He has repeatedly stressed to the Browns that he wants a big contract, yet I’m not sure how he thinks he’s worth it when he has been so injury prone and has faced a lot of skepticism about why he has missed these games. Right before one of his games earlier this year, he decided he shouldn’t play because he was “sick” and didn’t want to affect his contract status for next season. There’s no way that Hillis is even close to being worth the money he wants, not only because of this season, but he has only had one year in which he’s rushed over 1,000 yards. It’s become pretty safe to say that Hillis will no longer be receiving a big payday after this season because of his lack of work ethic on and off of the football field.
The other player who has proven that he isn’t worth anymore than a second string wide receiver is the Eagles DeSean Jackson. While Jackson did have back to back seasons above 1,000 yards receiving, his childish attitude and lack of effort on the field has raised the eyebrows of about every GM in the NFL. To those of you who saw this Thursday’s game against where the Eagles were embarrassed by the Seahawks, Jackson was repeatedly shown jogging on routes, pouting on the sidelines and even completely ignoring his quarterback Vince Young. He will most likely not be back with the Eagles after this season along with his coach Andy Reid. Jackson could have been in for a big payday, but once his team fell out of playoff contention, he completely shut down showing he’s not the kind of player you want on your team.
My predictions regarding these three players for next year are:
Chris Johnson: He will rebound next season, but he will never be in top 3 of running backs in the NFL again.
Peyton Hillis: He will not be re-signed by the Browns. His free agency will drag on throughout the offseason because he will be looking for a big deal that no team will give him. I think that he will end up with either the Patriots simply because he could be the half back that finally takes complete control of the position for them. Also Belichick loves white guys in his offense. The other two teams he could end up with are the Lions or possibly even the Green Bay Packers.
For Jackson’s sake, as I said earlier, its highly unlikely that he will be returning to the Eagles next season. I believe he still has the talent to be a number 1 wideout, but hopefully he can use this season as a learning experience for the rest of his career. I think there will be a lot of teams willing to risk the locker room issues for a guy with his kind of talent so it’s hard to say exactly where he will wind up. If I had to say, I think he will end up either the 49ers, Rams, or the Broncos; all of which lack a true number 1 wide receiver.
If you have different opinions, please comment!