This is why Ryan Grant held out of training camp back in 2008 looking for a big pay day.
Grant was coming off a breakout year entering the ’08 season but had three things working against him: He was a running back, he was only a second-year pro for free-agency purposes, and he already was 25 years old. He wouldn’t have been eligible for unrestricted free agency until 2011, when he would be 28, so he held out of the ’08 training camp for a week before the Packers signed him to a new four-year contract.
Grant now is in the last year of that deal, which paid him $14.6 million the first three years and was scheduled to pay another $5.5 million in salary and bonuses in 2011.
But Grant also is coming off the broken ankle in last year’s opener and plays a position with probably the shortest life span in the NFL. A little more than a week into camp, the Packers proposed a $1 million pay cut in exchange for guaranteeing a $2.5 million in base salary in 2011.
“Nobody wants to lose any money, but at the same time you have to look at the situation,” Grant said after practice Sunday. “I’m not the first person to (take a pay cut), I won’t be the last person to do it. We’ll see how it pans out. The fact that it’s guaranteed makes you feel good they’re willing to do that as an organization.”
With roster bonuses included, Grant can make up to $4.5 million this season. But if he hadn’t held out for the new contract in ’08, he would have entered the post-lockout NFL last month as a 28-year-old free-agent coming off a serious injury with almost no leverage on the open market. He’ll probably have a limited market when he’s a free agent next year.
“Our position is a little different than other positions,” Grant said of running backs. “You’re seeing that with some of the backs around the league. The age thing, they have a tag on it, so when you look at backs at 25, 26, that’s usually the age guys want that new deal. I was fortunate enough; I think I got mine when I was 25. You see that around the league, but it’s a weird thing with us, the likelihood of us getting injured is pretty high.”
Grant betrayed no ill feelings about the pay cut.
“At some point in time, it doesn’t matter who you are, they’re going to ask you to leave,” Grant said. “If you can get past that (realization) early on, everything else will be fine. If they can let Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith and Brett Favre go, guess what? It makes the job easier and it makes the game easier if you can get past that point.”
Sunday’s cuts: The Packers cut three players Sunday and have until Tuesday to release three more and get their roster down to 80 players. The deadline of 53 players is Saturday.
Two of the Packers cuts Sunday were players from last season: receiver Brett Swain and tight end Spencer Havner. The third was undrafted rookie Theo Sherman, a tackle from James Madison University.
“Something that’s never easy, particularly with guys you had a chance to spend time with, work with for a couple years,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “(Swain and Havner) will definitely always be a part of that Super Bowl team. We wish them the best.”
Hurricane Irene hits home: Grant, whose offseason home is just across the Hudson River from Manhattan in the town of Englewood, N.J., said he found out after practice Sunday his house had about three feet of water in its basement.
“My weight room, my bathroom, my laundry room are all flooded,” Grant said. “They’re literally as we speak pumping water out of there. It’s not cool to get out of practice and hear that, but what are you going to do? It is what it is, a natural disaster. I’m glad everyone (in the family) is safe.”
Injury news: Receiver James Jones had to leave practice Sunday because of a bruised knee. Receivers Greg Jennings and Randall Cobb, who didn’t play last Friday against Indianapolis, returned to practice Sunday. Jennings had a knee injury and Cobb had bruised knees.
Tight end Jermichael Finley (sprained ankle) and receiver Jordy Nelson (bruised knee) didn’t practice Sunday because of injuries sustained against the Colts.
Returned from injury: WR Greg Jennings (knee), WR Randall Cobb (bruised knees), WR Shaky Smithson (shoulder).
Still out: S Anthony Levine (concussion), ILB K.C. Asiodu (chest), OLB Frank Zombo (shoulder blade), G Adrian Battles (Achilles), T Chris Campbell (knee), DE Lawrence Guy (concussion), DE Mike Neal (knee), DE C.J. Wilson (concussion).
New injuries: WR Jordy Nelson (bruised knee from game), TE Jermichael Finley (sprained ankle from game), WR James Jones (left practice with bruised knee), S Nick Collins (lower back from game), CB Josh Gordy (shoulder from game).
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