Stephon Gilmore voiced the not-so-subtle threat during the Bills' mandatory minicamp last month.
He just might not be there when training camp opens on July 29.
Gilmore firmly believes he's an "elite cornerback" and is angry the Bills won't pay him what elite cornerbacks are being paid (i.e., the five-year, $75-million deal Josh Norman received to join the Washington Redskins as a free agent). For now, he just might be mad enough to skip some or all of camp.
Common sense suggests that NFL players who are under contract don't stage lengthy holdouts, because they're too expensive. Holding out results in a daily fine through camp. Missing regular-season games results in lost wages. Giving up a season means not simply the loss of money (in Gilmore's case, $11.082 million), but also the squandering of a year of playing that can never be recouped.
But you never know when a player just might dig in his heels and challenge his team to a test of wills. It's highly unlikely, but far from impossible.
That scenario could very well end up playing out in Denver, where Broncos star outside linebacker Von Miller is unhappy that the club has not made him the kind of offer he'll accept to replace the franchise tag he is wearing. Despite Miller's Super Bowl-MVP performance, the Broncos appear to have no inclination to give him the kind of money that would make him the NFL's top-paid defensive player. Consequently, some people around the league can see Miller holding out not just for all of training camp, but for the entire season.
It doesn't appear as if the Bills will budge any time soon, either, on their position that Gilmore should not be paid as much as or more than Norman. Does that keep the cornerback away beyond the preseason?
Gilmore hardly seemed to be in a settling sort of mood at minicamp. His unhappiness was pronounced enough to prompt one of his teammates, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, to advise him through the media to leave the contract talk to his agent and do what he's supposed to do as a player: show up on time for camp, practice, play in preseason games, and get ready for the real thing.
It's easy for Dareus to talk. He got his massive contract just before the start of last season that makes him one of the highest-paid players in the game. The Bills aren't going to be anywhere near as generous with Gilmore.
Which means, at the very least, he could be spending the summer somewhere else besides St. John Fisher College and, at the very most, he could avoid One Bills Drive when the regular season starts.