New Orleans Saints -

New Orleans Saints - (
-   Saints (
-   -   Will we let Horn walk? (

subguy 05-04-2003 02:19 PM

Will we let Horn walk?
Horn's no-show puts more distance in talks

By Len Pasquarelli

The New Orleans Saints wrapped up a weekend mini-camp Sunday with no sign of star wide receiver Joe Horn.


And with negotiations toward a contract extension once again stalled, there's really no idea of when they might see him back on the practice field.

Only last month, following two days of meetings between agent Ralph Vitolo and Saints officials, it appeared a new deal was imminent. But the team has finished the first of its offseason training sessions, is planning a second mini-camp in June, and the optimism that accompanied last month's contract discussions has faded.

"I would say it's fair to conclude we've taken a step backwards on the thing," said Vitolo, who said he broke off negotiations with general manager Mickey Loomis last Wednesday and hasn't heard from New Orleans officials since then. "Obviously, (Horn) wasn't at the mini-camp and he won't be at the next one, either, until the issue is resolved."

The boycott is similar to one staged by Horn last spring, when he began lamenting that he has outplayed his contract, but could grow nastier than the 2002 disagreement.

Vitolo, who has exchanged a variety of proposal designs with Loomis, probably will fly to New Orleans this week in an attempt to keep the acrimony to a minimum while also maximizing his client's earning power. But the Saints have several sticking points -- the fact Horn still has two years left on his existing contract, and that he is 31 years old, chief among them -- and there clearly are roadblocks to be navigated.

In his three seasons with the club, the seven-year pro has been a veritable pass-catching cornucopia, basically a Joe Horn of Plenty, having averaged 88.3 receptions, 1,305.7 yards and eight touchdowns. Over his first four NFL seasons, in Kansas City, he totaled 53 catches, 879 yards and seven scores. Horn has topped those numbers every year he has been in a Saints uniform.

One example of how essential Horn is to the New Orleans passing game: In 2002, the team's other two top wideouts, Jerome Pathon and Donte Stallworth, has three fewer combined catches and 195 less aggregate yards than Horn posted individually. Clearly, the guy is no ordinary Joe, and that is the message Vitolo hopes to deliver this week.

"I know and understand," Vitolo said, "they've got some concerns. But they also know the kind of player Joe has been for them. He's got good, productive seasons remaining, and him not being there doesn't help anybody. But he won't be there, and he's solid on that, until this thing is worked out."

Horn is scheduled to earn a base salary of $2.7 million for 2003, with a roster bonus of $200,000 and an offseason workout bonus of $100,000 for which he almost certainly will not meet the qualifications. In 2004, the final season of his current deal, his base salary is $2.9 million and he is due a $100,000 roster bonus.

The two sides have talked about contract extensions long and short, signing bonuses of between $5 million-$7 million, about a variety of structures that would meet the needs of Horn and of New Orleans management. The goal of Vitolo, who suggested that both his client and Saints coach Jim Haslett "share the same frustrations," is to identify and then seize some kind of middle ground.

During his absence from the mandatory weekend camp, Horn was fined, probably at the league maximum rate of $5,000 per day. But that appears to be pocket change in the fight he is waging for big bucks and, Vitolo insisted, for the kind of respect best represented by the number of zeroes in a paycheck.

New Orleans is one of the NFL's most exciting young teams, and Haslett and Loomis have parlayed trades and draft choices into a very solid roster, but one without a proven threat at Horn's level. Pathon and second-year veteran Stallworth, a first-round choice in the 2002 draft, are only as good as their habitually balky hamstrings. For his part, Horn was barely a role player before he arrived in New Orleans, and certainly the opportunity the Saints provided him boosted a previously nondescript career.

That is, in part, why Vitolo is anxious to jump-start talks again, if possible. The period between mini-camps presents a calm, of sorts, a respite for remedying grievances.

"I think we all want to avoid a storm," Vitolo said. "This is the time to try to do it."

jbutts 05-04-2003 04:57 PM

Will we let Horn walk?
they wont let him walk. the club knows how important he is to the team, and more importantly the public know how important he is to the team. I say that Horn is doing what Joe Johnson used to do every so often; which is get out of some of the more tedious aspects of the offseason. Horn wil get his contract and the Saints will get one of their top offensive weapons back on the field.

deadflatbird 05-04-2003 06:51 PM

Will we let Horn walk?
Let him walk? He is under contract... He is a Saint this year. Hell be there and he will be ready to play. Let him have a few days extra vacation... but I agree we give him what he wants he desereves it.

iceshack149 05-04-2003 11:45 PM

Will we let Horn walk?
Saints | Horn Negotiations Not Going Well - from
Sun, 4 May 2003 12:37:00 -0700

Updating previous reports, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports the agent for New Orleans Saints WR Joe Horn said negotiations on a long-term contract for his client are not going well. “In my opinion, we’ve taken two or three steps backward,� said Horn’s agent, Ralph Vitolo. “Just say, me and Joe have taken the Saints’ front office off our Christmas card list.�

What seems to be the hold up here? It looks to me like Horn is the offensive leader on this team. Can you guage a mans worth by stats alone? I hope this gets resolved before it gets too ugly and affects Joe\'s teammates, especially the rookies, regardless of whos fault it is.

PSno23 05-05-2003 04:57 PM

Will we let Horn walk?
Is there something that we the fans just don\'t know? I mean, it seems to me that Horn is MORE than deserving of the contract that his agent is trying to get him. I completely understand his frustration. A lot of times, I\'ll disagree with athletes saying they want more money, but Horn has showed that he can produce year after year after year. He was even able to put up numbers when he was injured! Loomis must be working with George Shinn and Ray Wooldridge. I mean, they fired a winning coach! I guess Loomis thinks its alright to let your best receiver in club history (my opinion at least) go too. Loomis, SHOW HORN THE MONEY!

lumm0x 05-05-2003 05:11 PM

Will we let Horn walk?
From the position of GM of any business (because that\'s what this is), it is his duty to get the best product for the least dollar and basically maximize product with minimal expense. It\'s all profit when it boils down. However, there is a fine line in human resources, between getting the most out of employees for the least wage and just pissing off all of your people by being a general cheap sh!t. I\'ve always believed in equal pay for equal work and also performance based wages, and JOE HORN DESERVES THE MONEY!!! He has proven over the last 3 years that he is top 5 WR material. He has done nothing but put his money where his mouth is time and time again.
This is getting to the point of stupidity if it is bickering over 1 million or some extra up front. We are well under the cap, the guy has earned the dough, and we are paying far less talented shmucks more than their worth anyways.
Someone go smack Loomis!

JOESAM2002 05-05-2003 06:52 PM

Will we let Horn walk?
First let me say that I agree that Horn is worth more money. However, where I have a problem is that there are still 2 years on this contract. It\'s not the Saints fault or Horn\'s fault for that matter that there is so much time left. If he wants to redo his contract it should be next year, when he\'s in the last year of this contract. If you let someone resign a contract with 2 years remaining, What\'s to stop someone from signing a 5 year deal and wanting to redo it after 1? A contract is a legal binding force and should be treated as one. I think it would set a dangerous precident to start resigning anybody\'s contract that much in advance. I know it\'s been done before but I still think it\'s dangerous.

[Edited on 5/5/2003 by JOESAM2002]

rodjmaw 05-05-2003 07:25 PM

Will we let Horn walk?
I agree with you Joe, but however the saints(randy mueller) came to him for salary cap relief and promise to do redo his contract if he made the probowl. So I look at it like this if they don\'t pay him other players\'s agents will base their decision on helping the saint with cap relief on how they treat horn. The guy is asking for less than he deserve, basing it on other reciever performaces with the $$$$. The situation kinda remind me of the situation last year with Jackonsville ;) take notes Loomis and pay the guy

JOESAM2002 05-05-2003 10:27 PM

Will we let Horn walk?
I agree completely that he deserves more money. More than anything I think the League is setting a dangerous precedent. Next thing we know some rookie will get a big contract, have a big year and want to redo his contract after 1 year. If you do it for one you have to do it for everybody. That\'s all I\'m saying.

lumm0x 05-05-2003 10:57 PM

Will we let Horn walk?
Joe I agree, it is dangerous, but the problem is...don\'t tell him you\'ll redo it if you won\'t. They would have been better served to tell him, \"play out your deal and we\'ll make you rich\". If they didn\'t want this door opened now they shouldn\'t have given him the key last year.
Joe wanted a new deal last year and they said wait one year. He did and played his butt off and now it\'s time to step to the table Loomis.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:14 AM.

Copyright 1997 - 2018 -