The Star Trib's NFL/Viking blogger, Mark Craig, casually asserted something that I think all close followers of the NFL know to be true, but maybe cause some confusion amongst casual fans, and it gets to the heart of the labor issues in the NFL.
Here's the quote: "In a league where teams often don't honor contracts after players have terrible seasons, it was good to see Chris Johnson get a nice and well-deserved pay bump after joining the elite class of runners to top 2,000 yards in a season. CJ was threatening to sit out rather than work for about 500 grand. I didn't blame him. That was his only piece of leverage."
The next time you hear the talking heads on ESPN complain about a guy who is sitting out a contract, even though that contract was front-loaded, remember the NFL contract is the least contract-y thing called a contract in professional sports. Players who have years left on their deal, and get injured, or just don't live up to their promise, can get cut, and they won't get paid for the length of their contract (which is funny, because you'd think that's what a contract guarantees). Is there another sport that talks more about "Guaranteed Money" than the NFL? I don't think so. Just sayin'. Bear that in mind.