City Sports Report

The Good And Bad Of The NFL Veteran Combine

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The NFL is attempting to create more chances for veterans to extend their careers. Instead of having teams reach out to these players and have them do private workouts and things like that, the NFL is having their first annual NFL veteran combine in Arizona on March 22nd. Players who want to participate will have to pay a $400 participation fee, fill out an application via an NFL-created website and they must pass a physical. Ultimately, this decision by the NFL will make some scratch their head as to why the NFL does not have a developmental league. But in all honestly, there is a good and bad side to all of this.

A lot of players have been drafted to the NFL over the years. Many think they have made it as soon as they have get there. But some fail to realize that the work just begins when they arrive on the scene. Some players tend to right the ship before their time runs out, while others seem to never get it out. And just like that, the time has run out of their hourglass. But with the arrival of the Veteran Combine, some players will get a chance to reset their careers. Instead of trying to hold private workouts or going to team facilities for private workouts, the veterans now have a central location to display what talents they have available for all NFL teams to see at one central location. Another good thing about this combine, there will more than likely be no big-name veterans there that have stature in the NFL. Their absence will make it easier for more vets to show their skills amongst players or like or slightly better abilities. And with the big-name guys being absent, it is absolutely good because more attention will be spread around more evenly.

But there is not only good for the lesser-known veterans, but for the NFL teams well. When vets are out there, teams sometimes take fliers on certain players. In some instances, it can work out and that vet can come in and contribute. But in other instances, you could bring a veteran in and he be less than expected. And that usually results in a player being cut. When a player is signed, there is usually a signing bonus or some guaranteed money the player is entitled to via the terms of the contract. And when that is out there, the team takes that hit against that salary cap. Now it may not be a huge hit against their salary caps, but that little bit of a hit may be the difference in a team being able to sign a key difference-maker or not. With the veteran combine, the teams have more of a feel as to what a player has left to contribute to their team. There is no way to say that the combine makes sure that the acquisition of veterans will work out, but this combine certainly gives them a better idea of who can help them at a cheaper cost. And while taking a look at these players, one could be a difference when it comes to winning the Super Bowl, making the playoffs or sitting at home during playoff time.

Along with the good things that come along with the combine, there are also some bad things that can happen. The good thing about one location for all veterans to work out for teams can also be a bad thing. With the present set up, vets have one time to make a good impression. And if that good impression is not made at this combine, there is a very small chance the vet will get a call back from the team. A bad impression could mean the end of your career. The very thing that helps give the players a central location to try out for teams is the same thing that will create a smaller chance for them to make the team. With this combine in place, it really will be the survival of the fittest to see who gets that golden ticket towards continuing their professional careers.

As far as the NFL teams, they are always looking for that one edge over other teams heading into the next season. And with doing so, these teams will send their scouts any and everywhere to try and acquire talent. The potential talent found could be one that separates them from the rest of the pack. Well, now that scout that found talent will be at a disadvantage with the combine in place. Finding that needle in a haystack will turn into a recruiting battle should the player the team wants be coveted by other teams that are present at the combine. Essentially, the process will turn from a talent evaluation. And with that happening, agents will be salivating at the chance to strike for their clients. The player then holds the power to negotiate a deal and it could end up that a player prices himself out of what you would like to give them based on the offers extended from other teams. And because all of the teams that were there have seen the player, they all know the player is not as much of a gamble as unknowns would be. The bidding war some expected for high-priced free agents could potentially come to this arena as well, but on a smaller scale.

When it comes to the Veteran Combine, there will be many views of how it will or won’t help teams and players. This newest creation by the NFL is one that will probably receive mixed views when it actually happens in March. For some players it will be a great thing and for others it could mean the end of their time in the NFL. Some teams may find a piece to their puzzle while others may lose them to recruiting battles. Whether it works for the players or teams or not, only time will tell. It will be interesting to see what comes of this new event.

For more sports talk, feel free to follow me on Twitter @General_MP or check me out on Facebook at Mike Patton-The General .

2 Comments

  1. ASR

    February 8, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    So at 46 as a former player are you saying I have a chance? Lol I think it’s a great idea but for certain players there will still be private workouts. As you alluded in the article, teams will want to keep a veil of secrecy to avoid a bidding war. Cheers

  2. Lee Love

    February 14, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    Thanks for breaking this down I was wondering how the process was going to work… as you said only time will tell overall

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