Owen Daniels (Getty Images)
Houston tight end Owen Daniels was in the news earlier this week, as he signed his tender which pays him approximately $2.79 million for this season. Unfortunately for the Texans, that’s not all that was newsworthy regarding their Pro Bowl tight end. Owen Daniels missed both Monday’s and Tuesday’s mandatory mini-camp practices.
Daniels head coach, Gary Kubiak now has to deal with what must be a distraction to his group of men, even if he won’t admit it.
“It will not affect our football team,” Kubiak said. “It will not distract our football team. I won’t let that happen to these guys who are out here busting their tails off.”
Daniels is obviously looking for more money as he was a restricted free agent this spring, and the team placed the high tender on him, virtually restricting him from finding a new deal elsewhere. If the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires, it is likely that there will be no salary cap and thus players will have to wait six years instead of the current four years to reach unrestricted free agency. Under these circumstances, Daniels would have to likely play on a rookie deal for two more seasons.
With the situation being as it currently is, Daniels inexplicably signed his tender and is still not showing up.
“You have to ask him,” Kubiak replied when asked if he was perplexed with Daniels decision to sign and still be MIA.
Even though Daniels had a break out season in 2008 in which he caught 70 passes for 862 yards and earned his first Pro Bowl appearance, his head coach still requires he be in attendance.
“I wish he was here,” the Texans head coach said. “I wish he was in there lifting weights and running with his teammates, but it’s like I said yesterday, we are going to coach the guys that are here.”
Kubiak claims that Daniels absence will not affect the output or cohesion of his football team as they try to take the next step and challenge for a playoff spot.
“They are human,” Kubiak said of the rest of his team. “They know what is going on. They know if a guy is here or not. I tell them like I tell you. It won’t affect us. If they are here, we’ll work. If not they are not here, we’ll still work. That doesn’t change what we do.”
Owen Daniels is trying to get the Houston Texans to pay him a salary that’s closer to what a Pro Bowler at his position would demand, while the Texans have all the leverage as they have a signed contract in their grasp. Hopefully both sides can come to some agreement, as the last thing an ascending franchise needs are distractions over money which could bubble over to the rest of the locker room.