Crabtree/NFL, Not Maybin, To Blame For The Long Hold-Out

By PFC Bills Writer Jay Kommuru

Buffalo Bills Rookie DE, Aaron Maybin, finally ended his 26-day holdout and became the third-to-last rookie in this year’s draft to sign a deal. It is being widely reported that the base-value for his deal is $17.6M and it could be as high as $25M per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.  Bills fans across the nation sighed in relief when they heard the news on Friday morning (8/21/2009). However, it seems as though a majority of the Bills fans were and continue to be somewhat upset at Maybin for holding out. And I understand it, to a certain degree. The team is going into a very critical year, their pass rush last year was as ever present as George W. Bush’s intelligence, and Maybin was supposed to come in and contribute right away.  Not to mention, he was only one of three unsigned rookies this year which really made him look like a greedy, money mongrel right in line with Michael Crabtree (WR, 49ers) and Andre Smith (OT, Cincinnati).

But, nothing could be farther from the truth. You can sense the level of frustration from Maybin over the holdout and the fact that his public perception continued to take a constant downwards dip in the eyes of Bills fans. He swore himself off Twitter until he got signed because of all the negative comments he was receiving from Bills fans regarding the holdout.  The Buffalo Bills official reporter, Chris Brown, had reported several times on his blog that Maybin has been eagerly waiting to get signed and get back to camp.  You can also sense the relief he has now that the business side of it is finally over and he can continue on to play football and show the Bills why they made him the #11 pick overall. He was “ecstatic” to finally have resolved the contract issue and having been introduced at the Friday afternoon press conference. There is no question that Maybin has shown great work ethic in the limited time he was available to the Bills coaching staff. However, scanning across the Bills faithful, many are holding a grudge against him for the long holdout and are certain to quip at the first sign of unimpressive play.

To them, I ask this: If you were a professional athlete and were told that you could either take a certain amount of money now, or wait for a few weeks and possibly get a 10-15% raise over the original offer in a sport where the average shelf life is about 3 years, wouldn’t you have done the same thing that Maybin did? I realize that I am defending an individual who probably ended up getting what he would’ve gotten had he originally signed a few weeks ago. However, based on how the 49ers handled Michael Crabtree, Maybin could have gotten an additional 10-15% over what he signed for. If you want to point fingers at someone, point it at Michael Crabtree who wants to be paid like a top-5 pick even though he was barely in the top-10 (10th overall). Better yet, if you want to complain about something, complain about the lack of a NFL rookie pay scale that gives every 1st rounder some leverage to holdout for a better contract. But please don’t blame Maybin, who is simply an athlete trying to use the system in place to his benefit.