Adam Levitan from rotowold.com wrote a piece yesterday looking at the history of training camp holdouts and the effect it had on the players performance once they returned to the field. Even though we didn’t have any holdouts this year, after reading the article my curiosity was nevertheless raised of how many contract holdouts the Panthers have faced in their history. In the Panther's 17 year history there have only been 4 contract holdouts, all from rookies. These two facts are a testament to the organization that JR has put into place.
The first holdout was the 8th overall pick in 1996, the Panthers second draft, Tim Biakabutuka (RB). His holdout lasted 27 days and cost him two preseason games. His rookie season he only played in 4 games. Biakabutuka never became a the reliable back he was drafted for, mostly due to injuries, and in his best season he put up 718 yerds on 138 carries.
Defensive end Jason Peter was our first round pick (14 overall) in the 1998 draft. He ended up holding out 44 days. In his rookie season he played in 14 games and started 11. He recorded 23 tackles, 10 assist, 1 sack and 1 fumble recovery. His NFL career was cut short, however, from a neck stinger and only was in the league 4 years.
Third on the list is OG Bruce Nelson, selected 50th overall in the second round. While officially a holdout in 2003, he only missed 1 day of training camp. Like most offensive lineman there are no recorded stats for Nelson, however, in similar fashion to Peter's shorten career, Bruce was forced out of the league after two years due to a hip injury.
Last on the Panthers's list of holdouts is Jon Beason in 2007 that lasted for 8 days. He was the 25th overall pick in the first round. That year there was a court ruling that affected second year option bonus money on contracts and the two sides were at odds over the language. They finally settled on a increased signing bonus and Beason joined his teammates. Beason finished his rookie season with the team best 140 tackles that year and was second place in the Rookie of the Year voting. As we all know, Beason's career has been a huge success over his first four active seasons and even though he's coming back from injury, he still is the heart of the Panther's defense.
Those are the only four contract holdouts in Panther History. Players for Carolina know if you perform well you will get paid when your time comes. Not having an non-rookie holdout from training camp is an amazing accomplishment in 17 season. Owner Jerry Richardson deserves credit for setting the tone of how to handle contracts with veterans. Veterans that fulfill their obligation and receive the second contract they deserve. We've had several players that could have held out, including a former DE, yet in the end they have all chosen to play their role and be rewarded or move on when their time comes.