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Notable Sportsmen Who’ve Held Out or Demanded a Trade

Back in 2015, Bleacherreport.com posted an article titled “20 Infamous Sports-Contract Holdouts: Who Won?” Here’s a list of the ones that have the most in common with the current deadlock between Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

Ken Dryden vs. Montreal Canadians (1973) – Dryden sat out the entire 1973-74 season, but then returned the following season, and wound up hoisting the Stanley Cup four more times.

John Riggins vs Washington Redskins (1980) – In the late ‘70s, bruising RB John Riggins demanded a raise, but the Redskins didn’t bat an eye. After sitting out the 1980 season, Riggins came back, but was never quite the same runner over his final five years.

Eric Dickerson vs Los Angeles Rams (1986) – Coming off his 2,105 rushing yards season in 1985, Eric held out for more pay. After he sat out the first two games, the Rams caved. Remarkably, five years later Eric held out again, this time against the Colts, and again he successfully forced that team’s hand.

Bo Jackson vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1986) The Bucs selected Bo with the No. 1 draft pick in 1986. Bo, who reportedly warned the Bucs not to draft him, proceeded to bail on the NFL and went instead to play ball with the Kansas City Royals. A year later, he re-entered the NFL draft, and signed on with the L.A. Raiders.

Mark Messier vs. Edmonton Oilers (1991) – It was headline news when the superstar became discontented with the Oikers – it apparently stemmed from the team trading away Adam Graves. His attitude eventually prompted the Oilers to trade him in 1991 to the New York Rangers. The trade was worth it for the player and the Rangers, who claimed a Stanley Cup in 1984. The Oilers, however, haven’t won one since Messier left.

Emmitt Smith vs. Dallas Cowboys (1994) – After being the league’s top rusher in 1993, Smith’s demands for more money were initially rebuffed by mega-rich owner Jerry Jones. But after the team started out 0-2, Jones served up a 4-year $13M contract – the highest ever for an NFL running back at the time. Jones did wind up with one more Super Bowl ring with Smith on board.

Sean Gilbert vs. Washington Redskins (1997) – Defensive tackle Gilbert rejected having the franchise tag being applied to him, choosing instead to sit out a year. After that, Washington traded him to the Carolina Panthers, where he got a $45.6M contract, but never justified that money in his last five years.

Alexei Yashin vs. Ottawa Senators, (1999) – The Ottawa Senators’ captain wanted out from under the final year of his contract. Both sides held their ground, and Yashin missed the entire season. The Senators then argued that since he didn’t actually play for the team, he owed the team another year of his services. He therefore returned for a final season with the Senators before finally being traded.

Philip Rivers vs. San Diego Chargers (2004) – Just traded by the Giants to the Chargers (for Eli Manning), Rivers held out for more money, but lost that battle. It also cost him a starting job, which paved the way for Drew Brees’s successful career.

Walter Jones vs. Seattle Seahawks (2005) – The Hall of Fame offensive lineman repeatedly complained of not being paid what he was worth, so when the Seahawks put the franchise tag on him in 2005, he sat out training camp. Eventually the Hawks relented and inked him to a 7-year $52M contract.

JaMarcus Russell vs. Oakland Raiders (2007) – After months of holding out, the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft signed a 6-year deal for $68M. Russell self-destructed, however, and only played in the NFL for three years – some view him as the biggest bust in draft history.

Darrelle Revis vs. N.Y. Jets (2010) – Revis held out from training for 35 days, demanding more money. Just before Week 1 of the 2010 season, he got what he wanted: a fresh 4-year $46M deal.

Chris Johnson vs. Tennessee Titans (2011) – Wanting more money, the NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2009 held out heading into the 2011 season. The Titans quickly caved and gave him a 4-year deal at $53.5M. Johnson played for only two more years in Tennessee, and his production plummeted.

Kam Chancellor vs. Seattle Seahawks (2015) – After Seattle’s “Legion of Boom” defenders Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman received lucrative contracts, Chancellor was unhappy with the lesser extension he had previously signed. He held out but only for two weeks before returning to the field without his demands being met.


It’s no surprise there’s no shortage of magnificent players, and gargantuan egos, on the above list.

What transpired with Yeshin in Ottawa is apparently still true. I’ve read three sources that say that if Rodgers were to “retire” and sit out the 2021 season, the Packers would still retain rights to him for three years. That effectively rules out any (non-permanent) retirement option for Rodgers.

Despite what many are saying, I see very little leverage that Aaron can apply on the team,other than to get public sentiment overwhelmingly on his side – and that’s not been happening.

Should they lose their future hall of famer, the Packers are well positioned to transition to a run-dominant offensive attack while they work to get a replacement QB up to speed. In addition to having pro bowler Aaron Jones and stupendous power runner A.J. Dillon, they now have a gadget and sweeps option in Amari Rodgers.

Seventh-rounder RB Kylin Hill is intriguing as well: he’s versatile, has a pro-type physique and strength (5’ 10”, 212 or 214 pounds, 22 bench presses), hails from an SEC college, and has a decent 7.31 RAS – Jamaal Williams had only a 4.55 RA, while Aaron Jones surprised me with an impressive 9.21 RAS – how did he ever slip to the fifth round? Dillon sports a fine 9.16 RAS.

Hill was a four-year man at Mississippi State, though he opted out after three games last season. He was a workhorse in Starkville: as a junior he ran up 1,350 yards on the ground (5.6 ave.), and 1,530 total, – though on a team with a losing record. The Pack can also call upon little-noticed second-year man Patrick Taylor, Jr., who has a 7.14 RAS. There’s also Dexter Williams, the sixth-round pick in 2019 who has an RAS of 8.15. And though they lost center Corey Linsley, their current stable of run-blocking O-linemen might be more impressive, and is certainly deeper, than last year’s group.

Even if Rodgers departs, I can see the Packers making the playoffs on the strength of its run game.

Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.



  1. Howard May 8, 2021

    I would add one more name to your list Rob. Patrick Roy and the Canadians. Roy had been goalie for the Canadians during two Stanley cup hoisting years. Roy was a very good if not great goalie. In 1995 or 1996 the new coach for the Canadians left Roy in as Roy was scored on several times. The game was long over. It was a show of disrespect in Roy’s mind and not consistent with normal NHL standards. Goalies have bad nights sometimes and are usually pulled to reduce the embarrassment. If you are a great goalie who has been in goal during Stanley cup runs and wins it is disrespectful in the NHL to leave a goalie in to surrender 9 goals(?). Roy was finally pulled. Roy skated off the ice and went straight to the team President and said it was the last game he would ever play for the Canadians. Roy never took the ice again for the Canadians. I think it took a week or two and Roy was traded to the Colorado (Denver) Avalanche. Roy was goalie for 2 additional Stanley cups with the Avalanche. The Canadians have not been to one since.

  2. PF4L May 8, 2021

    I don’t get the correlation, every dynamic and detail of all these guys are different, even if the bottom line is money sometimes..
    Take the info from a 2015 article? Hell…why not just copy and post the whole article?

    1. PF4L May 8, 2021

      “Looking to join in and get paid like his peers—both Sherman and Thomas received lucrative deals after Chancellor had signed a lesser extension in 2013—he held out. Two weeks into the NFL season, the holdout ended when No. 31 finally returned to the field.” – Credit…GIANCARLO FERRARI-KING

  3. PF4L May 8, 2021

    “Even if Rodgers departs, I can see the Packers making the playoffs on the strength of its run game.”
    How much money would you wager on that claim?…lol
    Great..hand the ball off to 3 rb’s and throw the occasional out pass to Adams and MVS behind the line of scrimmage, or the quick 6 yard slant. Some screens to the backs to keep the completion percentage above 50%.
    Hell…Hundley can do that for the league minimum and no draft picks.

    1. Deepsky May 8, 2021

      I agree with you PF4L. Unless Love is another Favre or Rodgers, which is about a 1% chance, I don’t see the Packers making the playoffs. Rodgers, when he focuses on winning, is still at top 3 QB. He put up 26 points against the Bucs, when even Mahomes only put up 9 in the Super Bowl. Any QB that would be available would be a liability compared to Rodgers. The Packers would lucky if they got to 8-8. Now if they trade Rodgers for 3 first rounders, then get a top 5 pick for a couple years, they might have a chance of returning to the playoffs within 5 years, but more likely they will enter the draft QB/rebuild cycle for the next 10-20 years because, because while Wolf and Thompson were veteran GMs with a track history outside Green Bay, I don’t think Gutekunst and his current staff are capable of picking another Hall of Famer QB. I think Rodgers will end up being the best Packer quarterback we’ll see in our lifetimes.

    2. Robster May 8, 2021

      I’ll admit that those two bloodbaths at the hands of the 49ers in 2019 left me with an indelible scar. Due to Shanahan’s schemes, Kyle could have called upon any of four running backs. I feel the Packers will have a better stable of RBs this season that did those Niners, and he will probably have as serviceable a QB as Garoppolo even if Aaron departs. Regardless of how the Rodgers’ drama plays out, I view Green Bay as having a playoff-caliber roster, and one with fewer talent gaps than in 2020. Just the other day a TP commenter described the Shanahan-LaFleur designs as not requiring superstars to carry them out. So PF, will you go “on the record” that the Pack won’t make the playoffs without Rodgers?

      1. PF4L May 8, 2021

        I have gone so far as saying they didn’t have what it takes to get to and win a SB, with Rodgers. That i would have put money on it.
        Predicting whether the Packers make the playoffs or not without Rodgers? who knows….the defense can’t regress under a new Coordinator that’s for sure.

        Predicting playoffs sans Rodgers just…..seems petty to me. Too many variables…do NFC north teams improve as expected?…do we obtain a competent back up veteran QB just in case?
        It’s not something i’d bet on with so many variables and to be frankly honest Rob, i give no shit if they make the playoffs without Rodgers…..Where are they going if they get there?
        If we have a strong enough defense, that alone can get you in the playoffs. even with a schlep game manager at QB.
        But how about…. lets just gather our senses, breathe, and wait for Love to be on his first game day active roster, and to complete his first NFL pass. Maybe wait and see what the defense looks like, before we start predicting playoffs.

        1. PF4L May 8, 2021

          All…IF Rodgers is gone.

          1. Mick May 9, 2021

            One thing that we are overlooking is the fact that SF will have their defensive walking wounded back this year. And we all witnessed what happened in the 2019 season; twice, with Rodgers. What makes you think that GB could beat SFs’ defense with a rookie QB, or any FA QB they bring in——- if Rodgers doesn’t return. SF and TB both play aggressive football, and we have yet to see that from GBs’ defense. Barry needs to bring out the nasty in this defense—— just to play even keel with those clubs. Not just SF and TB; this team struggles against quality defenses no matter what their record is. I’m with PF4L on this one. I don’t want to sound negative, but facts are facts, and until those facts change, I’m standing my ground. TB is going to field ALL 22 starters from last years’ SB squad, and with their defense, I don’t care how many RBs’ GB has lined up; you’re not gonna beat them by running the ball only—— they’re just to athletic. Opposing defensive coordinators will see GB without Rodgers, (if that’s the case); and smell blood as soon as GB lines up on offense,,,,,,, good luck with that!

  4. Cheese May 9, 2021

    How about Le’Veon Bell? I guess that was post 2015 though lol. Dude has been on two teams in the past two years and hasn’t even sniffed the 1,000 yard mark again.

    1. PF4L May 9, 2021

      He went from turning down a 14.5 mill franchise tag in 2018 (also turning down a 2 year 30 mill deal offer)
      to…..playing for $716,000 last season for the Chiefs.
      But not before fleecing the Jets out of 28 million in 2019/20 playing in 17 games total, offering 4 TD’s, before being cut in October 2020.
      Those are damn expensive TD’s
      Side note: The Jets are not done paying for him as he still counts 4 mill in dead money against their 2021 salary cap.
      Similar to Aaron Rodgers?
      Not in any way, shape, or form.

      1. Cheese May 9, 2021

        No, not similar to Rodgers at all. I was just curious how Bell was doing after hearing about him so much two years ago, to not hearing about him ever since. Looks like he’s showing the Steelers who got the better end of that deal.

  5. PF4L May 9, 2021

    One of my…WTF moments after reading something….
    “If Rodgers returns and gets hurt, the Pack still need a backup who can take over while Rodgers recovers. There are still several free agents available who could help the Pack in this area. They include Nick Mullens, Blake Bortles and Matt Moore.” Gil Martin
    So…..our back up to Rodgers, isn’t really our back up?
    Is he just called a back up, until we get our real back up?
    After being taken in the first round with two draft picks, is Jordan Love still not prepared to be Rodgers back up?
    Could Love maybe be ready for back up duty his 3rd year?

    May 08, 2021 at 05:12 pm
    If Love isn’t ready yet and most scouts say he isn’t, then you would still need a veteran QB to remain competitive if Rodgers gets hurt and misses some time. None of the players on that list would cost a lot of cap money and all would be on a one-year deal, two at most.
    I’ll wrap this all up in a nice bow with this……

    If 1st round pick Jordan Love isn’t qualified to be Rodgers back up in Loves 2nd year….

    1. Mick May 9, 2021

      Amen to that! You mentioned earlier that Gutes’ future hinges on Loves’ development because of the position they acquired him and the draft capital he spent to get him; knowing that Love wasn’t ready to justify that selection. Fast forward to how they’re managing the Rodgers saga, and it might be the final turd on the pile that sends Gute out the door.

  6. PF4L May 9, 2021
  7. stiggy May 10, 2021

    It would be naive to say money doesnt matter…cause it does…but the rodgers deal is a respect thing. The guy has pulled in a quarter billion in football salary, and that isnt even considering his state farm endorsements among others.
    This is a respect thing and frankly…a much more difficult problem to solve.

    1. PF4L May 10, 2021

      It’s true Stigg, he has pulled that money in.
      But how much money has he pulled into the Packers and the NFL?
      A hell of a lot more than that 250 million, i’ll tell you that.
      And guess what….a lot of future QB’s will pull in more than 250 million, and not have near the resume Rodgers has.
      Sooner, rather than later..40million/year for a starting QB, will be the norm.

  8. PF4L May 10, 2021

    I’m ultimately a Green Bay Packer fan, more than i am a Rodgers fan.
    I won’t be wearing another teams Rodgers Jersey. That isn’t who i am.
    I’d watch him, and wish him all the best.
    Make no mistake, the spirit of my Packer fandom has been tested the last decade.
    So i default into a “wait it out until it’s over mode. But that was like 5 or 6 years ago.
    It just never stops!!!!
    The FO dysfunction continues to roll along, almost endlessly.
    Rodgers isn’t an angel, but Rodgers hasn’t been the problem. For 13 years he’s been the solution.
    Fans (and the team) seem to lose sight of that fact.
    I’m just sick of this bullshit. The entirety of it, not just the last month.
    2011-2017…Most people get a free ride with no accountability, except for a few scapegoat underlings who didn’t deserve to be fired. See Alex Van Pelt
    Murphy: Ted will let me know when he wants to retire
    BOD’s: Remove Ted
    Murphy: Ok, but can i just reassign him a new job title and keep paying him for a few years when he’s living back home in Texas?
    BOD’s: Sure, i don’t see why not.
    Murphy: When searching for a GM, i have just discovered that our upper management staff don’t communicate with each other. There are silo’s, if you will. I didn’t know this, even though i’v been working with them for 11 years. (who knew?)
    McCarthy: I have to get along with and approve of who is hired as GM, or else.
    Muprhy: I’m naming Brian Gutekunst as our new GM.
    McCarthy gets 1 year contract extension that is kept quiet (secret) in a publicly owned team. Which should be reason for dismissal or at least reprimand.
    Murphy: Make no mistake, i’m in charge, make no mistake, i have to ok every decision and move made, everything has to go through me…I AM IN CHARGE…(repeat 5 times).
    Gutekunst: My first moves as GM has me dismissing Jordy Nelson in a respectful manner. Well, dismissing him.
    My 2nd move is signing Jimmy Graham to 10 million/year. I think he will make up for lost production from Nelson, as Graham had some good seasons 4 or 5 years ago.
    Gutekunst goes 13-3 in his first season as GM, Loses in the NFCCG. So what does he do?……..he trades up and drafts a QB he’s been wooing since 2019 and a rb he doesn’t need. Instead of drafting for help to get to the SB
    Gutenkunst admits he could have communicated better with Rodgers.
    So there were silo’s built around Rodgers. But maybe that’s ok because he’s just a player, right Murphy?
    Gutekunst again has a 13-3 record and Rodgers has fantasy type season and wins MVP.
    Gutekunst: OOPS
    Gutekunst: I’m going to look for starters in this draft because like every year, our goal is to get to the Super Bowl.
    Rodgers or someone: I don’t want to play for the Packers anymore.

    When is enough…..enough already?
    Voice of Reason…………..

    Holmgren…..“I can’t imagine a relationship between the coach or management or whoever is making the decisions and the starting quarterback like that getting to this point. I just can’t imagine it. I wouldn’t allow it. It wouldn’t happen. But now, it has happened.”

    1. rebelgb May 10, 2021

      Your a liar. Plain and simple. Anyone who follows this site daily as I do knows the truth. You are an Aaron Rodgers fan BEFORE the Packers Organization. Stop trying to sell a bag of goods you dont own. You would take Rodgers over the Packers 100x. I mean shit look at your posts the last 2 years.

      1. PF4L May 10, 2021

        Now, lets just relax here Sparky.
        No need to slobber all over yourself.
        I’m a HUGE Aaron Rodgers fan!!!
        I’ve been a Packer fan before Rodgers was born. I’m a liar?
        You want the truth?…you can’t handle the truth!
        I post here everyday!! So you folks have something to read, something to think about.
        You sit there….in your Star Trek t-shirt and your “just do it” sweats eating cheeto’s.
        Son!?…..you can’t begin to fathom the sacrifices i make to entertain everyone!!
        Who else is going to do it? Are you going to do it Rebel?
        And you sit there all smug in your Tony the Tiger slippers and judge me?
        I’d rather, you just thanked me, and be on your way.
        Here i thought you were going to make an intelligent comment about football for the first time this year Rebel. Go figure right?
        Now…scoot upstairs and go get some cookies.
        You”re lucky Ferris isn’t around my little friend.