Some thoughts on Ricky's CFL negotiation
At this stage all the parties are waiting on some contract language to be reviewed and approved by the NFL. This will get done.
So here are some overall thoughts on the subject:
The only reason Williams is hoping to play in the CFL is he needs the money. Don't buy all that stuff about staying in shape and staying motivated during the suspension. Don't even entertain the notion Williams is excited about playing in Toronto because it's a new-age city and he's a new-age kinda guy. That is all bunk.
This is strictly about money and that is a sad statement on Williams. He needs the money to pay child support, with three kids on the payroll already and reportedly another on the way. But Williams doesn't have the money to keep up the payments of about $60,000 a year which leads me to wonder what ever happened to the over $8 million he made in his first NFL season alone? Is it all gone?
OK, what happened to the nearly $5 million he made in base salary alone in 2000-2003? And what about the proceeds from the sale of his multiple South Florida properties following their sale in 2004-2005? Wasn't the real estate market like really good for a person flipping a property then?
So how does an individual -- even one with three children -- blow approximately $14 million? That is absolutely amazing to me.
Next observation: If you are a Dolphins fan you should be quite happy this saga has dragged as long as it has because it means your home team is crossing every i and dotting every T (trying to be funny there) to protect its interests. In that regard, the Dolphins have THE best individual in the business in team president Bryan Wiedmeier.
You don't hear too much about Wiedmeier because he prefers to operate behind the scenes but he was among the league pioneers to introduce conduct and other protective clauses in contracts to insulate his club from strange happenstance -- such as a player going AWOL a week before training camp. Wiedmeier was insisting on such clauses as far back as the Sam Madison contract in the late 1990s. Such clauses are the norm in the NFL now.
One such clause is the reason Williams still owes the Fins $8.6 million and utimately made the decision to unretire in 2005.
So be very secure that the Dolphins are not going to get pushed aside in this affair.
Final thought: The last reason this process is headed in this direction has to do with Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga. Williams, I'm told, was hoping the Dolphins might remove the need for him to go make money in Canada by somehow guaranteeing a nice payday for the 2007 season.
Williams is scheduled to earn approximately $585,000 in 2007 if his suspension is lifted. He obviously isn't getting any money this season. He was hoping the Dolphins would mitigate the need to make money this year by bumping up his salary in 2007.
If they promised to redo his contract and give him, just a guess here, say $2 million in 2007, he could wait out this season's money drought knowing the big shower of bucks is coming in 2007.
The problem, however, is that Huizenga (who is not a huge fan of Ricky, by the way) apparently wouldn't approve the raise. The owner doesn't like bad publicity for his team and Ricky has brought plenty of that the last two years. Anyway, Huizenga could not bring himself to rewarding Williams with a raise -- especially after Williams just tested positive again.
After all, what kind of message would rewarding a drug suspension with a raise send?
So with no guarantee that he could make up the money lost this year in a big 2007 raise, Williams has been forced to try to make some money in the CFL this year.
Oh, by the way, his agent Leigh Steinberg, is also one of the best at his trade. And Steinberg has many CFL connections dating back to his days of representing Warren Moon. So watch Steinberg milk the Argos of every last Canadian penny for Williams.
Yep, as they used to say in the 'hood, it's all about the Benjamins.