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Someone please explain NFL player contracts to me..

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Brandon, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. Brandon

    Brandon Cheesehead

    Jan 5, 2012
    I just don't understand it. I mean if I sign a lease at an apartment complex, I can't simply hold out because I don't agree with the paint color after living there for a few months and making timely payments. I can't ask to pay less money even though I've stayed there for many years with no issues.

    It is my understanding that when you sign a contract, the terms of that contract are binding for the duration of whatever is agreed upon. So why is it that an NFL player can sign a 7 year contract at say 5 million a year, and then 3 years down the road decides, "you know what, I think I deserve 10 million a year! Give me a new contract!" It just seems incredibly lame to me, and makes me appreciate Bill Belichick all the more with his, "Don't like your contract? Get the eff out" policies.
  2. GWheels

    GWheels Cheesehead

    Jan 31, 2011
    It's because most players can hold teams ransom. They can afford to be fined. From most situations they know they will get what they want or be traded to a team that will give them what they want. You can blame the teams for giving in to these players.
  3. Wood Chipper

    Wood Chipper Fantasy Football Guru

    Sep 30, 2010
    Gms and players are at fault on that one
  4. bozz_2006

    bozz_2006 Cheesehead

    Mar 24, 2006
    Only a very few players can afford those fines. In reality, there's a whoooole lot of complaining about contracts but very little real substance behind player threats.
  5. ivo610

    ivo610 Cheesehead

    Feb 13, 2010
    Oh but it goes both ways. You think it's unfair when players hold out for more money but what about when a team cuts a player? They are not "honoring" the contract either.

    It's just business, I try not to let personal feelings of a player get in the way when they try to get more $.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. TJV

    TJV Lifelong Packers Fanatic

    Feb 22, 2011
    IMO the most important point about NFL contracts is both sides understand the situation when they enter into contracts. When a team waives a player it is not in breach of contract as long as it has paid the player all the money guaranteed by the contract and is up to date on the player’s salary and bonuses already earned. For example when a player signs a 5-year contract with a $10M signing bonus and no other guaranteed money both sides understand, or should understand, that the contract becomes an ‘employment at will’ contract after the bonus is paid. The player and his agent realize the team is extremely unlikely to waive the player after a season or two because the $10M would accelerate into the team’s salary cap. But the team is not breaching the contract if it waives the player right after paying the guaranteed money, as foolish as that would be.

    Another example: 2005 was the last year of the contract Mike Wahle had signed years earlier. The contract called for Wahle to be paid a $6M roster bonus and make $5M in salary in 2005. When Wahle signed that contract he and his agent as well as the Packers understood the terms of that contract would not be in force in 2005. No way would the Packers have an OG take up more than $11M of cap space and $11M of cash for one year. In exchange for having Wahle’s services for the previous years of the contract, the Packers gave Wahle a ton of leverage in the last year of his contract. The Packers could either extend Wahle or waive him. If they extended him, that would have to guarantee him more than $11M (because he would be paid that anyway) but spread it out for cap reasons. And they couldn’t tag him because he was under contract. Wahle understood he would either get a huge payday from the Packers or become a UFA and be able to bargain with any team.

    My point is teams are not in breach of contract when they waive players. OTOH, players are in breach of contract when they hold out. However, just as someone who doesn’t like his lease can’t be made to live in the leased property, an NFL player can’t be forced to play in the NFL. But both suffer negative consequences if they breach their contract. The NFL player can be fined for holding out but when the team and player “kiss and make up” the fines are usually waived. But that’s not the real leverage teams have. The team retains the player’s exclusive rights to play in the NFL for as long as the player holds out. In Brandon’s example, the player has two years left on his contract and no matter how long he holds out he owes that team those two years. The player cannot play with another NFL team unless the team trades his rights to another team. The player’s tenure with the NFL doesn’t toll while he’s holding out. IOW, the player doesn’t go from RFA status to UFA status while he’s holding out. The team can play hardball and tell the player: You’ll either honor your contract or you won’t play in the NFL and they can enforce it. The player also risks ruining his reputation to one degree or another by holding out. Players holding out may be traded but the team is then in control of the player’s destination and get compensated for their trouble. The final piece of leverage the team has is to sue the player for part of the signing bonus but this seldom, if ever, happens.
  7. Vltrophy

    Vltrophy Cheesehead

    Feb 4, 2012
    Here's my take on these players wanting more $$$$$$$. Take CJ for example. He held out for more money. If I'm Bud Adams I say ok this is what we'll do,I'll give you a 5 yr $40M contract. Now we'll set 5 goals per year for you to attain. Achieve 3 of them & I'll keep you at your current rate. Get all 5 & I'll add $2M to your contract. Achieve 2 then I take $2M off. Achieve 1 or less & I take off $4M. I WILL NOT pay you $8M per year to have a crappy season & not be productive. Your going to have to EARN your money

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