Just three years after signing a contract worth $14.25 million per season that runs through 2020, Julio Jones is looking for a new deal. The wide receiver has decided not to attend Falcons voluntary OTAs unless he receives an “updated” contract.
When players are unhappy with their contracts, it usually is easy to pinpoint why. Either the player has outperformed his contract or the NFL market has changed. A player also could be in the final year of his contract and is worried something could derail his free agency the following season.
The team wasn’t blown up, but the roster was pruned a bit. Shattenkirk, Williams and Karl Alzner all left via free agency. Marcus Johansson was traded. In their place, a youth movement: The Capitals had six regulars 23 years or younger, when you factor in returning pieces Andre Burakovsky (22) and Tom Wilson (23).
“They gave us a boost for sure, just fresh energy, different look. I think the guys that have been there are leading the way, but we’re getting the boost at times from young guys,” said defenseman Matt Niskanen.
What this youth movement created, beyond an infusion of naïve enthusiasm in a jaded dressing room, was something the Capitals hadn’t had on their roster in a while: competition. Bowey (51 games) and Djoos (63) fought for time on defense. Vrana (73) and Stephenson (67) did the same at forward. Complacency was no longer an option for some on the Capitals roster, who glanced over their shoulders and saw younger (and cheaper) workers. Even if it took the newbies a while to find their way around the office.
“The conflict is now people are treating him differently than who he knows he really is. And so he has to be able to distinguish the difference between [the two and tell himself], ‘This is who people think I am and want to treat me this way because I am the first pick, I am a Heisman Trophy winner, but I, as Baker Mayfield, have to remember that I’m a twice walk-on, and I have to keep that edge about Cheap Replica Jerseys me, or this game and the entertainment value around this Cheap Paintball Jerseys game will eat a player up and spit him out.'”