NFL Holdout Watch 2024

NFL Holdout Watch 2024: Brandon Aiyuk Demands Trade

NFL holdout watch has hit its apex with San Francisco 49ers receiver Brandon Aiyuk demanding a trade this week. As the NFL off-season rolls along the annual tradition of players skipping team activities to angle for new contracts quickly comes to the fore. This year, many Pro Bowl and All-Pro level talents feel their play on the field has fair exceeded their current contracts.

Let's dive into the long (and growing) list of NFL players on holdout watch.

NFL Holdout Watch 2024

PlayerTeam
Brandon AiyukSan Francisco 49ers
Ja'Marr ChaseCincinnati Bengals
Cameron HeywardPittsburgh Steelers
Courtland SuttonDenver Broncos
Alvin KamaraNew Orleans Saints
Haason ReddickNew York Jets

 

Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers

Aiyuk demanded a trade on Tuesday morning, bringing his whirlwind off-season saga back to the fore of NFL news. It's his last play, perhaps the final piece towards pushing the 49ers into a new deal. However, General Manager John Lynch seems unwilling to budge.

The 49ers reportedly have no desire to trade Aiyuk and have stated that he remains a foundational piece of their team as they chase a Super Bowl title. Although, he's done everything in his power to publicly put pressure on the organization.

A publicised video call with former Arizona State teammate, and current Washington Commanders quarterback Jayden Daniels has done little to dispel rumors that Aiyuk's time in San Francisco is at an end.

With so many highly paid players - Christian McCaffrey, Trent Williams, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Nick Bosa, Javon Kinlaw, Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw all make over $10M/year - Lynch has to draw the line somewhere.

Aiyuk reportedly wants a contract that exceeds the deal signed by Detroit Lions standout Amon-Ra St. Brown, who now makes about $28 million per year. As things stand the financially depleted 49ers are reluctant to meet those demands. No. 11 led the team with 75 receptions for 1,342 yards and seven touchdowns in 2023 and looks ready to publicly vie for a new contract.

Things could get ugly in this one. Aiyuk has every right to fight for his own bag and seems to be prepared to dig in. Expect Brandon Aiyuk to either holdout through training camp or be traded before the 2024 NFL season. Any time he misses will only open up training camp (and fantasy) opportunities for first round draft pick Ricky Pearsall.

Projected Holdout Outcome: Brandon Aiyuk holds out through training camp.

Ja'Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals

Ja'Marr Chase will reportedly opt for a hold-in. He's at minicamp but only taking part in meetings and walkthroughs. Regardless, it appears the Bengals will be forced to meet his demands.

However, it's important to remember, Cincinnati has a history of only offering guaranteed money in the first year of contracts. A stipulation that lost them standout tackle Andrew Whitworth and has led to many free agents choosing alternate destinations over the years. Ownership wilted for Joe Burrow's contract last year, and they will have to do the same for his running mate.

Chase will almost certainly aim to exceed the four year, $140 million extension his former LSU teammate Justin Jefferson just signed with the Minnesota Vikings. The Bengals are in no position to play hard ball here. Cincinnati's offensive efficiency nosedives without No. 1 on the field.

Projected Holdout Outcome: Chase signs a 4-year, $144 million extension making him the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history with just under $100 million guaranteed.

Cameron Heyward, Pittsburgh Steelers

Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers stalwart Cameron Heyward is sitting out of minicamp in the hopes of signing a contract extension. He's entering the final year of a four-year, $65 million deal he signed in 2020, but feels his play has far exceeded those terms.

Heyward has amassed six Pro Bowls and three first-team All-Pro honors in his career. That being said, the 35-year-old missed six games with a groin injury last year, and hardly looked himself while on the field. He had just two sacks in 2023, which were the second fewest of his career.

The 2011 first-round pick is in no hurry to leave the only NFL team he's ever known, stating "the goal is to be a Steeler for the rest of my career", on social media. Even so, the Steelers won't be in a rush to give a player now on the wrong side of 35 a raise. Expect to see Heyward and the team agree to terms with added guaranteed money to ensure he finishes his career in the Steel City.

Projected Holdout Outcome: Heyward signs a 2-year, $34 million extension, with $24 million guaranteed.

Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton has expressed his desire for a new contract. Surprisingly, he did report to OTAs earlier this month, however the 7th-year wideout is unhappy with his current deal and will consider holding out from training camp.

Like many on this NFL holdout watch list, Sutton is due $13.6 million this season, but has no guarantees left in 2025. He wants an extension, and a raise after hauling in 10 touchdowns for Sean Payton's moribund offense last year.

With young players in Marvin Mims Jr. and Troy Franklin aiming to ascend the depth chart, don't expect to see Sutton sign a massive extension. He'll likely be forced to accept a nice purse of guaranteed money added to his current deal, or be traded during the season.

Projected Holdout Outcome: Broncos give Sutton $8 million guaranteed in 2025.

Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

Kamara skipped the final days of Saints minicamp this month in search off a more lucrative contract. He has just two years remaining on his contract and is set to be paid $11.8 million this season. The problem is all of the $25 million Kamara is due next year is non-guaranteed, and he's looking to secure his football, and financial futures.

The 2017 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year is allegedly a threat to hold out if a new deal doesn't materialize before the end of July. Although, ESPN reports that Kamara and his camp are willing to rework his deal to include more guaranteed money in 2025. He's also supposedly working out and communicating with both teammates and coaches daily.

Look for Kamara to return to the field for New Orleans sooner than later. He's got to be chomping at the bit to play the Christian McCaffrey role in new Saints offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak's offense.

Predicted Holdout Outcome: Saints sign Alvin Kamara to a 2-year, $35 million extension with $20 million guaranteed.

Haason Reddick, New York Jets

Philadelphia flipped Haason Reddick to the Jets for a conditional 2026 third-round pick this offseason, with many prognosticators believing a new contract had been arranged before the trade. However, Reddick has yet to report to his new squad, and has remained tight lipped on when he will finally make it to New York.

Remember, Jets General Manager Joe Douglas let impressive sack artist Bryce Huff leave for the aforementioned Eagles on a 3-year, $51 million extension. Paying Reddick anything in that realm will be a bitter pill to swallow after New York gave up draft capital to acquire him.

A former first-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals, Reddick is tied for sixth in NFL sacks over the past five years, with the now-retired Aaron Donald and Chris Jones. The only players ahead of him are a who's who of NFL pass-rushers in Maxx Crosby, Nick Bosa, Trey Hendrickson, Myles Garrett, and T.J. Watt. The Temple alum wants to be paid like the big boys and is reportedly seeking a deal in excess of $25 million per year.

Reddick's situation is a real head scratcher that seems likely to extend deep into the off-season.

Projected Holdout Outcome: Reddick misses most of training camp before signing a bridge deal.

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