Ok, let me preface this by saying that I'm prettys ure that I hate T.O. and the Eagles pretty equally. I'm writing this because I have not really heard one person, here or in the media, stick up for the guy. So, I'm going to do my best. I will say that I believe that some of this argument is valid, but I will not say that I think T.O. should sit out or miss any camp. And, I'm not saying that I think professional athletes are underpaid, or taken advantage of, or anything of the sort. But here goes:
First of all, I think the first place to start is to assess the way that the NFL contracts work. The NFL is the only sports league, to my knowledge, that does not have guaranteed contracts for any players. It's also the league in which players put their bodies on the line more than any other. I think the NFL Players Union really messed that up. This league generates more money than any other in the country, by far, and the players see the smallest slice of it. So, the way the system is set up, players are held to their contracts, but Owners are not. Now, something about this does seem intrinsically unfair to me. I do not pity owners, who have more money than almost anyone in the country, who are able to cut people loose from the contracts, yet hold them to the contracts whenever they want. I don't know, but I think that this seems unfair on some level.
Next, lets get specific. T.O. IS underpaid. That is a fact. He is not in the highest 20 paid WR's in the league. Coles got 3 million more in guaranteed money than T.O. did when he signed with the Skins. Second, T.O. is arguable the best player on the Eagles, and he is no less than the second best player. Shouldn't the Eagles do what they can to keep him happy? If T.O. came and said, "hey guys, I'm underpaid, what can you do about this?" Shouldn't the Eagles have said, "ok, T.O., you are underpaid, let's see what we can do." Should they have "drawn a line in the sand" like every analyst loves to point out they did?
Finally, let me point out that the Eagles DO HAVE the money. They have the cap room and the funds. The Eagles are refusing to re-negotiate based on "principle." Is that honorable, or just stubborn? Should we feel blessed to see an owner, who has multi-millions, refuse to play an equally overpaid athlete?
In conclusion, I guess I see where the Eagles should have paid T.O. what he's worth. The Eagles do not deny that he is worth more than he is paid. They simply refuse to re-do his contract. I don't think T.O. is breaking any rules. The way the system is set up, contracts are guaranteed for owners, but not for players. Part of that system, inherent in it really, is that the players only weapon is to hold out. There is nothing person there, that is simply the way the business works. Again, I'm not saying that I side with either party. But I will say that the Eagles could have paid him what he was worth and avoided the whole situation to start.
I don't know that this will change any minds, but I hope it can instigate a good conversation.