NFL Nation Confidential conducted a survey of over 100 players to find out which franchise players sought the least. The prompt was "The only way I'd play for [team name] is if they doubled my salary."
There were 82 players who responded; naming chiefly the Oakland Raiders, Buffalo Bills, and Cleveland Browns. The Raiders accounted for nearly a quarter of the responses, 23 percent; while the Bills received 19 percent, the Browns 16 percent, the Jacksonville Jaguars nine percent, and finally the Green Bay Packers with six percent.
Green Bay is the real shocker amongst the named franchises, and the only real explanation is that it is in the middle of nowhere. However, winning seems to find the Packers, so it questions the motivation behind the responding players.
Silver an Black
The Oakland Raiders have experienced 11 consecutive sub .500 seasons; their last postseason berth coming in a 2002 Super Bowl loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Since then the Raiders have hired six different head coaches, and there current one, Dennis Allen, is experiencing increasing speculation that he is on the hot seat.
Veteran defensive back Charles Woods has played a total of nine seasons in Oakland, and scoffed at the results from this survey. "I've never heard anybody that said they didn't want to play for the Raiders, so that's pretty shocking," he said. "I think you've got to take the attitude that if you didn't want to come here, it doesn't matter anyway. Over the years, I've known and talked to countless players that said, 'Man, I would love to come play in the silver and black.' So I think that poll might be kind of skewed."
The Black Sheep
Marcel Reece, a veteran fullback who has been with the team since 2008, said he wasn't shocked with the results because it was an anonymous poll. He lashed out at those who picked the Raiders, saying, "Whoever said it, they're telling a lie. They didn't think about it. They thought about the one team that has the biggest stigma of negativity around them. From the media. From the masses.
"The most hated team in the world? The first thing that comes to mind is the Oakland Raiders. The bad boys. The black sheep of the NFL. And it's not really a negative thing because we don't do bad things. We're not the team that's having the most arrests in the NFL, or the DUIs or the drug cases or throwing the big parties. But we just have that stigma around us.
"If guys really would be honest with themselves, and think about when they were little kids, or when they wanted to be tough guys, or they wanted to play football, what team did they think about? Or what helmet did they want to put on? What colors did they want to put on? What shield did they want to represent? I can guarantee you that 80 to 90 percent of true lovers of this game -- lovers of competition and have passion for this game -- would say the Oakland Raiders.
"I would play for this team if they paid me half of what they pay me, and I have taken pay cuts to stay. I guarantee you, if half those guys would have the opportunity to come play for this franchise, they'd be on board. They'd get it."
Jacoby Ford spent time on the Raiders roster from 2010 to 2013, and echoed Reece's statements. "I think people have a certain persona of the Raiders," Ford said. "When you've actually been in that organization, you know how it is. That statement isn't true. I've been in that organization. Anyone who came to the Raiders, it was always, 'I always wanted to be a Raider.' They love the silver and black."
One opposing player who spoke on anonymity stated he believed the survey was entirely accurate.
Whether it is a stigma against Oakland or it truly is a horrendous place to play, the survey speaks for itself when it claims that the Raiders are the least sought after player destination in the NFL.