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Hines ward holdout

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Hines turned down a contract offer:


Ed Bouchette of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that receiver Hines Ward has told the team, "Thanks, and no thanks" to an offer that would have made the four-time Pro Bowler the highest-paid player in franchise history.

Per Bouchette, who cites an unnamed source, the deal "would put Ward among a tier of receivers just below several of the highest paid in the league."

The organization is keeping a very tight seal on the actual numbers. Through our own sources, we've only been able to determine that the package is, in the view of management, an "enormous" one and that "it is enough [money] to satisfy a real team player."

Bouchette's piece strongly implies that the signing bonus being offered to Ward is in the neighborhood of $10 million. Ward's agents, Eugene Parker and Roosevelt Barnes, have taken the position that Hines should be among the highest-paid players in the game.

As to Ward, the Steelers could restrict his movement after the season by whipping out the franchise tag. In 2005, the franchise tender for receivers was $7.768 million. It figures to be higher in 2006.

It could be that Parker and Barnes are looking to force the Steelers to use the franchise tag for a couple of seasons, as they did with Seahawks offensive tackle Walter Jones, who pocketed three years of franchise money before signing a long-term deal.

The downside to such an approach is that the player assumes the risk of suffering an injury that would make him less desirable on the open market. Still, if the Steelers are offering only $10 million or so in bonus money, it likely makes plenty of sense from the perspective of Ward's agents for him to take the tender instead. At its current level, three years under the franchise tag would put a whopping $28.27552 million in Ward's pockets.

From that perspective, then, Ward's request for a contract that pays $25 million in the first three years doesn't seem so ridiculous.

And if any wideout is willing to put his head down and play hard regardless of the risk of injury, it's Ward. He has managed to stay healthy thus far in his career, never missing a game in a 7-year career.

The problem is that, despite his success, his numbers fall way short in two key respects from another high-end wideout who also has played since 1998 -- Randy Moss of the Raiders.

Moss has 69 more catches, 3,087 more yards, and 49 more touchdowns than Ward during that same time period.

Sure, Moss hasn't spent several of his seasons catching bounce-passes from guys like Kordell Stewart, but when it's time to give out the big money to pass-catchers, stats take on great importance -- and in that regard Ward is definitely a giant step below the guy whom many consider to be the best in the game.

So what will happen with this one? Our guess is that Ward will play out the contract and see what happens. We think that it will be very hard for the powers-that-be in the 'Burgh to use the franchise tag on Ward, based on the amount of money that the tag will tie up, and based on their last experience with the "F" word. (In 2002, the Steelers used the tag on linebacker Jason Gildon, signed him to a long-term deal, and cut him two seasons later.)

Here's hoping that both sides eventually recognize the importance of keeping Ward in black and gold. His hard-nosed, team-first attitude embodies the Pittsburgh mentality, and the fans there love him for it. The Steelers seem to be banking on the likelihood that Ward will take one for the organization, but his agents most likely could care less about whether the team has enough money left over to field a competitive team.

And, in the end, that's the real question for Ward. Does he want to be paid extremely well and have money left over to keep the overall quality level on the roster high, or does he want to eat up space that otherwise would help maintain and/or improve a team that has had several strong seasons over the past decade or so because of its ability to manage the cap?

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I think that Ward will get PAID, but this will hamstring the Steelers. They can't cut ties with such a fan fave and perennial All-Pro and expect to have it not bite them in the arse.

I would overpay to keep the Jailbirds or Browns from getting his happy ace.

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i dont know about everyone else but i always pictured him as the type of guy who does things for the better of the team...like bettis taking a pay cut to stay...

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ESPNews reports that Hines is sitting until he gets some bigger bills...

He knows he is the only receiving option in Pittsburgh and he is using it...

I think he will be in camp sooner than later....

Oh by the way, I hate sports agents....

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I thought he was all about the team! Haha, I bet he's smiling right now as always.

I would smile too if I was making millions AND asking for more....where do I sign...reality, come in reality...do you hear me???check, check...

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I saw that Hines Ward decided to hold out. The Steelers say that they will not negotiate with players that hold out. If Hines Ward becomes another Carl Pickens, then Big Ben might as well break a leg on his motorcycle. He will be a non-factor without his two go-to guys (Plaxico and Hines). I'm feeling really good about winning the AFC North right now. Anyone think Hines will not give in?

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I don't like holdouts but its clear as day Hines deserves more money,

he's been underpayed for along time and it's about time he gets what he deserves....acourse were probbley thinking what a jack as I'D play for free and here they are earning more money in 1 year then I'll ever have in my life.

well if you had the skills of Hines Ward or Chad Johnson you would be playing but you don't,football is their job and when your the best @ what you do you get payed more for it. it's just like real life does a doctor get payed the same as a nurse or a intern? Ward will get his money just like Seymour did,if steelers don't give it to him then their screwed and will be lucky to finish 8-8

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