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Madden ratings are often the most contentious topics in sports video games. Should DeSean Jackson have a 99 in speed? Which offensive lineman gets top marks for toughness? Is my team's RB more sure-handed than your team's? All week long, SportsNation is ranking the players with the top marks at each position. Today, we're taking a look at the best WRs in "Madden NFL 12." Andre Johnson has the highest rating at 97, but do you agree that he should get the top spot? Cast your vote now!

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2. Is the NFL too soft on on-field altercations?

On the same day Andre Johnson and Cortland Finnegan earned matching $25,000 fines but no suspensions for Sunday's fistfight, James Harrison learned he would get no relief on the nearly $100,000 he was fined for two hits where he kept his helmet on. Is the NFL too soft on fights, too tough on hits or right on all counts?

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If you need evidence that NFL contracts have only a passing relationship with a player's actual performance, consider this from Len Pasquarelli's original report when Andre Johnson signed an extension with the Houston Texans in 2007.

Well, now Johnson, the rare NFL go-to receiver who doesn't seem to have an inflated ego, would like a little more of that cap space. He's skipping voluntary team activities and wants a new deal to replace the five years and $60 million left on the extension he signed back in 2007. This makes him the second superstar in the AFC South unhappy with his contract, joining Titans running back Chris Johnson as unhappy non-volunteers.

So what is the fan's position in squabbles like those in Tennessee and Houston? Should players live up to the contracts they sign? Or since NFL contracts often offer little in the way of guaranteed money, should fans not fault players for getting what they can?

Corey (D.C.)

What would you do about Chris Johnson if you were the Titans? He is getting paid like the 100th best RB in the league. To me this is nothing like the recent Boldin situation.

Football Scientist K.C. Joyner
KC Joyner

Al Davis has a saying- you have to pay the players. Chris Johnson has a chance to be the most dominant RB of his generation. I'm sure Tennessee wants to be sure he is motivated by the idea of a big future paycheck, but I'm also sure they realize underpaying a player can come back to bite them. If he's playing like an All-Pro, pay him like one. Full transcript

Eric (Chicago)

KC, regarding Chris Johnson...he's under contract that HE and his agent negotiated/ under your hold out, you lose money, that simple. Will the Titans miss him? Yes. Will Chris Johnson still be the same runner when he comes back from his hold out or after he gets his big pay day? Probably not.

Football Scientist K.C. Joyner
KC Joyner

Eric, I'm not arguing Johnson's contract status or the right of the Titans to take the "you signed the contract, you're stuck with it" approach. I'm merely pointing out how that philosophy can backfire and why Tennessee might want to take a different tack. Full transcript


If you want to be the highest paid at your postion, don't sign long term contracts. Someone else will pass you by within a year or two. Haven't we seen this before? It isn't rocket science. If a player/agent really thinks they are going to be one of the best, keep the contracts short you have more options. Teams want the long term because it serves them better.

-- mrbscot

If most of you mo-rons were good enough at what you do, you would be able to DEMAND more money for your craft. Since you aren't, don't be mad because someone else is. Johnson deserves top 3 WR money... period. If NFL franchises took more pride in their top talent, you wouldn't see many holdouts. The NFL does not often, take care of their own.

-- 0ptimuspr1m3

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Terrell Owens did Sunday what only six wide receivers in NFL history have done. No, it doesn't have anything to do with the all-time leaders in alienated teammates; he's long been in a class all his own there. But with four catches in the Bills' 31-3 loss to the Falcons, Owens became just the sixth player with 1,000 career receptions.

As Owens' star burns toward its inevitable end -- with or without an ensuing supernova -- this milestone seems like as good a prompt as any to ponder his place in the cosmos of NFL receivers. Did all the drama -- 74 percent of voters rate him a more controversial product of a 1996 draft than Allen Iverson and Ray Lewis -- detract from one of the greatest wideouts of all time? Or are his numbers merely the product of the era in which he played?

Doug (Westwood, CA)

Now that he has 1,000 career catches, is Terrell Owens safely headed to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility?

"First Take" analyst Drew Bennett
Drew Bennett

Add 1,000 catches to the 3rd most TDs all-time, I think he's a safe bet. Full transcript

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Should we offer a moment of silence for fantasy football owners coming to the realization that Saints safety Darren Sharper has scored more touchdowns this season than Steven Jackson, Brandon Jacobs or Anquan Boldin?

The Saints are just outside the top 10 in total defense at the moment, which is kind of remarkable when you think about how often their opponents have the whole field to work with after yet another Saints touchdown and yet another Saints kickoff. Sharper may not be the sole reason for the success, given that he shares the field with guys like Charles Grant and Jonathan Vilma, but as a newcomer with a league-best six interceptions and three touchdowns, he's becoming the face of it.

When push comes to shove, 67 percent of SportsNation prefers a great defense to a great offense. But are you ready to give a guy like Sharper MVP consideration?

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