Though Edmunds was visibly downcast over what he called his "awkward situation," he said of Jackson, "You can't hold a grudge against a guy for making a smart business decision." But of Dolphin management Edmunds said, "You've got to wonder what it's thinking. Even Clayton and [wideout Mark] Duper aren't making that kind of money. No one on this team is, except Marino."
Miami's alltime leading receiver, with 511 catches, Clayton has reportedly been seeking a new contract averaging $2 million a year. But last week he told his agent not to contact the Dolphins anymore. "We'll see where their loyalty lies," said Clayton. "I'm leaving it up to them."
"Anything that comes out of Clayton's mouth is to be considered a grumble," said Shula, who then turned his attention to the ramifications of free agency. "In something like this, there is some backlash. But this is what the players have asked for. They're the ones who are suing for free agency, and we're getting a firsthand look at how it works. The same players who complain about it would say, if you didn't get your draft choices signed and didn't go after the best players, that your organization was not doing everything it could to win."
As far as that goes, Jackson agrees with his new coach. "Players are going to have to realize that this is what happens when you have free agency," he said. "It's contradictory to say, 'I want free agency, but I don't want what it brings.' I don't want people to look at me and say, 'There's the guy who started it all.' This had nothing to do with Keith Jackson and nothing to do with the NFL. It was something that had to happen. Free agency had to happen. It's the American way."