Last week I urged Marcel Reece to get with the program and sign his one-year contract tender. Today he did just that and for his troubles he’ll earn a respectable $540,000. That’s good money for you and me. Great money for anybody on an NFL practice squad looking to make an NFL roster. But for a man like Reece who is likely to see an expanded role in 2012 it’s an insult.
First and foremost I can appreciate the dilemma on both sides.
For Reece it’s all about respect and getting paid what he’s worth. Officially there was no reason given for Reece’s prolonged absence from the team during OTAs. The general assumption is that he was holding out for a new deal. Also there is no official word on how much Reece might be looking for but I’m assuming the money is just a starting point. Having the assumed security of an NFL contract is more than likely the real goal for Reece and his representation.
Now on the other side of the fence sits Reggie McKenzie and a massive mess of a cap situation to sort out. Safe to say that even if McKenzie wanted to pay Reece he couldn’t. Not so long as the Raiders are against the cap and still need to save some funds for a rainy day.
So the real question is what kinds of plans do McKenzie and the Oakland brass have for Reece?
For now the plan falls in line with the evaluating process McKenzie has laid out for everyone on the roster – prove your worth.
McKenzie isn’t going to be running a scholarship program. That’s bad news for guys like Reece who would have surely earned an extended stay on the Al Davis dime. For Marcel the problem is two-fold though. Not only is he auditioning for McKenzie he’s also locked in at a position where the pay isn’t all that great. Fullbacks don’t break the bank no matter how productive they are.
The reality is Reece came into the league as an undrafted free agent which means he never got the chance to get his first pay day. Even with a highly productive 2012 he’ll still be at the mercy of the Raiders as a restricted free agent next season. It’s just another sad reality of the business that is football.
For now Reece did right by putting aside any contract concerns and signing his one year deal. If nothing else he’s being a true pro with hope that it will pay off in the long run. Too bad it won’t pay this year.