Now that we see the Bills move Langston Walker from right to left tackle, it looks like they're expecting their AWOL left tackle Jason Peters to be missing for quite awhile. Even though Peters is a quiet guy who some teammates believe didn't even WANT to hold out, there is one major reason his holdout can't be taken lightly.
Eugene Parker is his agent. Don't be confused, because most everybody knows that Eugene Parker is a famous astrophysicist; but that isn't THE Eugene Parker we're talking about. That is Eugene N. Parker. We're talking about Eugene E. Parker, and he know an awful lot about stars, too.
Eugene N. Parker is Peters' agent, and he is one supernova in the universe of NFL agents who will be all new Bills COO Russ Brandon can handle. Yes, Brandon made a deal with Parker to get second round pick James Hardy signed, but Hardy was an asteroid compared to the Jupiter size, in every way, of Peters.
Parker represented NINE Pro Bowlers last year, including Peters, and that makes him the star of stars in agent-land. His reputation for getting teams to hand out galactic contracts is well established. Remember when Deion Sanders signed a $35 million dollar deal in 1995 that included a $13 million signing bonus? That deal led to the "Deion rule", which now prevents NFL rookies from deferring large parts of their salaries for signing bonuses. That was Parker's work.
A more recent example? Arizona's 6-year, $60 million dollar deal to wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald in 2004, which was almost unheard of for a rookie wr. That too, was the work of Eugene E. Parker.
There may be a tiny crack in Parker's universe, however, with word that Rams running back Steven Jackson, currently holding out even though he has a year left on his contract, is seriously thinking of firing Parker. Jackson is unhappy that he doesn't have a new extension with the Rams, but he's now beginning to apparently realize maybe he's hurting himself more than he's helping Parker.
Maybe Peters will begin to see that too before long, and I believe the Bills are counting on that. You'd think the fact the Bills were the only NFL team to draft him would matter, and the fact they also gave him a contract extension that paid him an average of $3.5 million per season BEFORE he became an Pro Bowl left tackle -- which, by the way, was also their idea after he was a tight end and then a right tackle -- would matter.
Peters is not only holding out, he's not, as far as we know, even talking to the Bills, and that includes Parker. Brandon is on the record as saying he'll be happy to start talking to Peters about a new deal, and there's no question Peters would be worth more than double his current ticket in the NFL market place, if only Peters will show some good faith by reporting to camp. That makes perfect sense to me.
It's also a good sign, as I see it, that Peters isn't negotiating a new contract through the media, which can lead to battle lines being drawn and ego's becoming involved. That isn't good for either side.
It also makes sense for the Bills to make sure Peters is fully recovered from a groin-type injury that sidelined him over the last part of last season and prevented him from making the well-earned trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl. How can they even TALK about a new deal without making sure he isn't damaged goods?
My bet here, is that Peters will end his holdout before the start of the regular season and get his new deal worked out eventually. For now though, I totally agree with Brandon's tough-line approach, and see it as a positive sign for the Bills' future.