This year, there could be more than a few veteran holdouts

Training camp is coming. When the 32 teams gather for preseason practices, several high-profile players might not be present, if they force the issue on getting new contracts.

So which names are the ones to watch? Funny you should ask, even if you didn’t.

The goal of this item is to list all of the potential veteran holdouts, with some explanation and analysis of each situation.

That said, there’s a chance some of the players listed below will “hold in.” That’s a fairly new trend where the player shows up for training camp but doesn’t practice while negotiations continue. The only problem with this approach is that, if/when there’s no deal, at some point it’s time to practice and play. For the player who never shows up, it’s easier to keep holding firm. And the pressure remains even more pronounced on the team if the player isn’t there.

The following list has no particular order to it, other than the fact that I went through the eight divisions from AFC East to AFC North to AFC South to AFC West before doing the same in the NFC when compiling the list.

Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa

He wants a market deal. The Dolphins have yet to offer one, or they’d already have an agreement. At some point before training camp opens, the Dolphins will make an offer far better than the $23.1 million he’s due to make in his option year. To get what he wants, Tua’s best and only play might be to hold out.

Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill

He’s doing everything he can to put a happy face on a contract situation that has him nearly as unhappy as he was two years ago in Kansas City. Still, the market has passed him by. Even though he says he’s making $30 million per year, he’s at $25 million — behind teammate Jaylen Waddle.

Hill seems to believe the Dolphins will adjust his contract. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. Maybe, at most, they’ll move some of the $45 million he’s due to make in 2026 into 2024, where he’s south of $20 million. If that’s not good enough, maybe he’ll stay away in order to get a deal that compares favorably to other high-end receivers.

Patriots linebacker Matt Judon

Judon skipped some of the offseason program as he enters the final year of his contract. He showed up for mandatory minicamp.

Last year, he held in. This year, he said he won’t be “throwing tantrums.”

One way to not throw tantrums is to not show up. Still, he has made it clear that he plans to show up. While plans can change, his mindset as of last month was to show up and get to work.

Jets linebacker Haason Reddick

The Jets traded for a guy who wanted a new contract without signing him to a new contract. It should be no surprise, then, that he skipped the entire offseason program.

Will he show up for camp? No one knows at this point. The possibility that he won’t underscores the magnitude of the mistake the Jets made in trading for him without getting him signed.

Yeah, the Jets supposedly thought they had a verbal understanding with Reddick that he’d show up for the offseason and they’d eventually do something with his contract. As we’ve seen time and again, verbal understandings aren’t worth the paper they aren’t printed on.

Bengals receiver Ja’Marr Chase

On the day Justin Jefferson got his new deal, the Bengals could have worked out a contract for Chase that same day. And they should have.

It should be easy to get to the new-money number Chase wants. Although Chase showed up for mandatory minicamp, he could decide to take a stand if the Bengals keep dragging their feet.

The good news for the Bengals is that receiver Tee Higgins has signed his franchise tender. Since training camp opens after the deadline for doing a long-term deal, there’s nothing to be gained by staying away. He has opted to accept $21.8 million for 2024, followed by a likely shot at free agency in March, given the team’s longstanding habit of tagging a player for one year before letting him walk away.

Browns receiver Amari Cooper

Cooper skipped mandatory minicamp in an effort to get a deal to replace the final year of his current contract, with a base salary of $20 million. If he doesn’t get a new deal by the start of camp, a holdout can’t be ruled out.

Broncos receiver Courtland Sutton

Sutton showed up for mandatory minicamp despite wanting a new deal. (He’s due to make only $13 million this season.) He hasn’t ruled out a holdout.

Cowboys receiver CeeDee Lamb

Lamb reportedly won’t attend camp without a deal that replaces the $17.9 million he’s due to make in the final year of his rookie contract. Will the Cowboys give him what he wants? As explained Monday, there’s a way to do it while also creating current-year cap space. Which would be a win-win for a team desperately hoping to engineer some wins in the playoffs.

Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons

Parsons has said he’ll be patient when it comes to getting a new contract. He shouldn’t be.

He’s one of the best defensive players in football. He shouldn’t risk his health for less than $3 million in 2024. He should refuse to practice or play until he gets paid.

Yes, he attended mandatory minicamp. So did Ezekiel Elliott in 2019. And then Zeke didn’t show up for training camp.

Without a new contract, Parsons should do the same.

Packers quarterback Jordan Love

There’s currently no reason to think the Packers and Love won’t get a new deal done before training camp opens. If they don’t, however, why should Love show up?

He’s due to make only $11 million this year. He needs to be willing to take a stand, if his contract situation isn’t resolved before the Packers head to training camp.

Buccaneers tackle Tristan Wirfs

With only $18.44 million in salary for 2024, he’s been looking for a new deal all year. He showed up at mandatory minicamp. Again, that’s no guarantee he’ll show up for training camp unless he gets a contract offer that prompts him to sign on the dotted line.

Saints running back Alvin Kamara

Kamara left mandatory minicamp early, due to frustration with contract talks. He wants security beyond 2024, given that the team will tear up next year’s phony-baloney $25 million compensation package.

Will he skip camp without a new deal? We’ll find out when camp opens.

49ers receiver Brandon Aiyuk

Much has been said about Aiyuk and the 49ers and whether he will or won’t be traded. He ultimately needs to ask himself whether he’s willing to show up and play for $14.1 million in 2024 — or whether he wants to draw a line in the sand.

Short of a long-term, market-level deal, the 49ers could give him a sweetener and/or agree not to tag him in 2025. For now, there’s been nothing other than a staring contest augmented by the various things Aiyuk has said, on social media and elsewhere.

When it’s time to show up for camp, we’ll see if he does.

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford

Stafford has wanted more guarantees for a while. He should also want more money. A deal hasn’t been done yet.

If it doesn’t happen before camp opens, who knows? Given the lack of high-end options on the roster, Stafford had plenty of leverage. If he chooses to use it.

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