NFL training camp 2018: Contract holdouts and where they stand
When all is said and done, the NFL is a business. And like any employee, players want to get paid what they are worth.
The NFL offseason has brought numerous mega-deals for quarterbacks Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins and Jimmy Garoppolo.
Jimmy Graham, Richard Sherman and Malcolm Butler also received lucrative contracts. However, a number of other big-name players are still left waiting for their payday.
Here, we look at the most notable contract holdouts heading into training camp and where they stand.
Le'Veon Bell - Pittsburgh Steelers
The running back and the Steelers have had their contract problems in the past. Pittsburgh used the franchise tag on Bell for the second straight year this offseason, prompting him to repeat his stance from last year, when he sat out workouts and training camp before signing the tender prior to the start of the regular season.
But Bell has expressed optimism about getting a long-term deal done so he can join his team, adding that he does not want to have "replications of what happened last year", when he suffered an early drop in production.
Bell, who finished third among all rushers with 1,291 yards last season, is said to be looking for a deal worth $17million annually. Should he play under the tag again, he will earn $14.5m. The two sides have until Monday's 16:00 (EST) deadline to come to a resolution on a long-term deal.
I do not forget a thing, I'm patient, it's a gift... pic.twitter.com/BtyM6BWeJ9
— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) July 12, 2018
<script></script> Julio Jones - Atlanta FalconsFalcons coach Dan Quinn kept the faith of fans alive when he said he remained hopeful the wide receiver would negotiate a new contract in time for training camp, but a deal has yet to be finalised.
Jones was second among all receivers with 1,444 yards last season and said he wants to continue his legacy in Atlanta for the remainder of his career. However, he informed the team before the start of offseason workouts that the five-year deal worth $71.26m he signed in 2015 is not enough. He even removed all Falcons references from his social media accounts.
While the two sides have yet to reach an agreement, Jones confirmed "there's no bad blood" between him and the team.
Earl Thomas - Seattle Seahawks
Free safety Thomas has vowed to skip training camp until the Seahawks give him a new contract, though the end for him in Seattle could be inevitable.
Reports have suggested a trade to the Dallas Cowboys is "still is in play" and the six-time Pro Bowl selection fuelled the fire last week when he liked an Instagram post that indicated such a move could be on the cards.
Thomas has spent his entire eight-year career with the Seahawks but has admitted to coveting the young Cowboys squad led by Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.
The 29-year-old, the last remaining member of the Seahawks' famed 'Legion of Boom' is in the final year of a four-year contract worth $40m signed in 2014.
Aaron Donald - Los Angeles Rams
For the second straight year, the Rams have been hesitant to give star defensive end Donald the contract he is longing for.
Donald skipped training camp last year as he pushed for a new deal and is now in the final year of his rookie contract, in which he is scheduled to make $6.89m. The Rams have been adamant about wanting to sign him to a long-term deal, but can also place the franchise tag on him if they do not reach an agreement by next season.
The three-time All-Pro has undoubtedly earned a pay out after racking up 11 sacks, five forced fumbles and a league-leading 91 pressures en route to Defensive Player of the Year honours last season.
The Defensive Player of the Year @AaronDonald97 checks in at #7 on the countdown!#NFLTop100 pic.twitter.com/lqwiLAkg9W
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) June 26, 2018