Campbell's Agent: Cutler Pursuit Will Not Affect Talks
I reached Jason Campbell's agent this morning, and asked him about how the events of the past week might play into any potential contract talks. So I wrote a short news story about what Joel Segal, who rarely talks to the media (at least in my experience) had to say.
(A quick summary of my thoughts on the past 24 hours: it's refreshing to see this fiasco not play out anywhere near the way it did with Jay Cutler in Denver. Campbell has been as classy as possible, his agent is taking the same tack -- as you will see -- and I have to give props to Daniel Snyder and Vinny Cerrato for being candid, honest and upfront with Campbell at their meeting. They deserve kudos for that. This was nothing like the he-said/he-said of, say, the Coles Plasma TV Affair or any of the meetings with LaVar Arrington. I applaud the forthright approach they took in the aftermath of the failed trade, which has helped ease a potentially ugly and lingering situation.)
Here's the story:
The Redskins' pursuit of quarterback Jay Cutler last week and their overtures toward shopping quarterback Jason Campbell have not deterred Campbell's willingness to sign a long-term deal in Washington, according to his agent. Joel Segal, who has represented Campbell since he entered the league in 2005, said Washington's flirtations with Cutler will not impact any future negotiations, and will not prompt the quarterback to force any alterations to his current deal, which expires after the 2009 season.
Campbell, a first-round pick in 2005, has long been open to discussing a contract extension, but the club has been unwilling to do so to this point. Owner Daniel Snyder and executive vice president Vinny Cerrato have not publicly declared him their quarterback of the future, either, but Segal, who has been in constant contact with Campbell throughout this ordeal, said never did that undermine his client's will to thrive in 2009 and earn a new contract with the Redskins.
"It hasn't changed that desire, absolutely not," said Segal, adding that he did not expect the Redskins to pursue other quarterback options, but is not "surprised by anything" in this league. "This past week had no effect. The NFL is, first and foremost, a business, and Jason loves playing for the Redskins and he loves the city of D.C. and this does not preclude him from signing a long-term deal here at any time from our side. From our perspective it will not have any affect on any negotiations."
Campbell met with Snyder, Cerrato and Coach Jim Zorn Friday at the team's behest, in a candid two-hour discussion during which Snyder conveyed why the team went after Cutler, who ended up going from Denver to Chicago Thursday as part of a blockbuster deal. The chat was amicable by all accounts, and Cerrato released a statement afterward, saying in part, "We are all on the same page and we are moving forward," though stopping short of making any declarations about Campbell's long-term status.
Often in a case such as this, a player might use a failed trade of a possible successor to garner leverage in terms of contract demands. However, Campbell, while obviously hoping to gain long-term stability at some point, is not averse to playing out his rookie contract in 2009, believing his performance will merit comparable compensation, Segal said.
"We talk through each situation, whether it be the contract or a trade," Segal said, "and Jason has a strong confidence in his ability. For now he's solely focused on winning."
An unconsummated trade can also prompt some to skip voluntary workouts, pout, threaten a holdout or demand a trade (a tact more in line with what Cutler took with Denver). Segal said such options never came up in his many discussions with Campbell, with the quarterback, a starter for the past two full seasons, not wanting to make himself or his plight bigger than the team.
Campbell was attending voluntary workouts at Redskins Park Wednesday and Thursday as the team was partaking in trade machinations, and never criticized the organization. In the past his reserved nature and quiet confidence have been interpreted by some fans and media observers as a lack of fire or passion. Campbell's teammates have disputed that notion and Segal said the quarterback's innate competitiveness might manifest itself more this season, with the Cutler dalliance further motivating him to prove he can be a franchise quarterback.
"Everyone has their own style, and way of leading, and Jason's leadership skills were really embodied by the way he handled everything this week," Segal said. "But it would be a huge mistake to view Jason's class and professionalism as a lack of fire. It would be completely wrong. Jason is as competitive as any client I've ever represented, and I believe that covert fire may become a lot more overt now."
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