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Can someone explain contracts in the NFL? I don't get how they aren't guaranteed..

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by pats_ftw!!1!, Oct 2, 2007.

  1. pats_ftw!!1!

    pats_ftw!!1! Rookie

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    ^^^^ i dont understand how they aren't 'guaranteed' as they are in baseball. what does that mean?
  2. Va_Pats_Fan

    Va_Pats_Fan Rookie

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    Re: Can someone explain contracts in the nfl? i dont get how they arent guaranteed..

    Lets say the pats cut Tom B tomorrow. He doesn't get his salary.
  3. aluminum seats

    aluminum seats Rookie

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    Re: Can someone explain contracts in the nfl? i dont get how they arent guaranteed..

    It's a ridiculous system, making a mockery of the idea of a contract, and it's the one thing that players who hold out have in their column on the righteousness scale. We get pissed they don't honor their contracts, but management doesn't have to. It's lame and should be changed--the Pats are smart enough to not have a problem with it, while other, stupider franchises will be further destroyed.
  4. Miguel

    Miguel Patriots Salary Cap Guru PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re: Can someone explain contracts in the nfl? i dont get how they arent guaranteed..

    A contract in baseball usually guarantees the entire amount of the contract. That is, if Big Papi signs a 5-year $75 million he will get the entire amount even if he gets hurt or his skill vanishes.

    In football very few contracts have ever guaranteed the entire amount of the contract. Most of the time it is just the signing bonus that is explicitly guaranteed.

    Please note that if a vested veteran is on a team's Week 1 roster and is later released, he can later ask for termination pay (his yearly salary) which is why you will hear that a vet's salary is implicitly guaranteed.
  5. mcbee

    mcbee Banned

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    Re: Can someone explain contracts in the nfl? i dont get how they arent guaranteed..


    I think that's a stupid way to look at it. The "contracts" are structured so that management always has the option of cutting a player. Whether that's good or bad...it's NEITHER. The players KNOW this and for that reason, get as much signing bonus as they can. It's their choice.

    Really the contract is that management has to pay them the stated amount to keep them off of the FA market. Management always has the option of cutting them and putting them on the FA market. That's the nature of the beast...as long as players know this going into a contract, there's nothing wrong with it.

    It shouldn't "be changed". If it was all guaranteed teams wouldn't sign more than 1 year contracts with players. They couldn't afford to take the injury/talent risk. Ever think of that? Then there'd be no team cohesion whatsoever. Brilliant. Such is the price of "doing the right thing".
  6. aluminum seats

    aluminum seats Rookie

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    Re: Can someone explain contracts in the nfl? i dont get how they arent guaranteed..

    Don't get so hysterical. Several plans have been discussed in the past that would largely mitigate many of these issues, such as injury early in a contract. And like I said, smart franchises wouldn't be signing lots of mediocre guys to lengthy contracts.

    What's more, even if one decided that non-guaranteed contracts were to the benefit of the league, it's certainly not true that it's equally good for the players--they are perpetually one play away from being SOL.
  7. Pujo

    Pujo Rookie

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    Re: Can someone explain contracts in the nfl? i dont get how they arent guaranteed..

    That's why signing bonuses, which are guaranteed, are a significant part of almost every deal. It makes sense for competitive reasons to allow a team to cut a player at any time.
  8. Patsfanin Philly

    Patsfanin Philly Rookie

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    Re: Can someone explain contracts in the nfl? i dont get how they arent guaranteed..

    That's also why a baseball player goes on a 60 day disabled list for a blister while football players play in pain as a rule to a greater extent. The baseball player has no worry about being cut, he'll get his full ocntract (no need for big signing bonus). Football players have an incentive to get out on the field or risk being cut and as such the powers that be generated bigger signing bonuses...
  9. Vern

    Vern Rookie

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    Re: Can someone explain contracts in the nfl? i dont get how they arent guaranteed..

    This is a common misperception. A contract is an exchange, period. When a player is cut, ownership HAS stuck to the contract, because the player agreed to that provision. Pretty much every single person reading this right now works for their employer under the same contract -- you get paid if you work for them, but if they fire you, you no longer get paid.

    In fact, it's pretty much ONLY in MLB where even if you are fired for any reason, they still have to pay you. You can litterally show up and burn down the stadium, and though you go to jail for arson, they still have to pay you no matter what you do. That's the weird system if you ask me, where the player makes no guarantee of performance, beyond just showing up, and must still be paid anyway. Even contractors and builders have to actually build you something to get paid, not just show up on site and act busy.

    Having said that, the real difference between the MLB and NFL is in the collective barganing agreement. In the NFL, teams and players have the freedom to negotiate what elements of a deal are guaranteed (such as signing bonuses and Roster bonuses, or even salary) and what parts are not. In MLB, a player and a team are not allowed to negotiate such a contract*, all of them must be guaranteed or they cannot be approved. For example, a few years back the Pats negotiated a fully guaranteed contract with Adam Vinatieri. Asante Samuel's current deals is also fully guaranteed salary this year. It is allowed in the NFL, but players typically prefer to go the route of other guarantees, such as a Signing Bonus. Also, the NFL has also "Roster Bonuses" which is a guaranteed lump sum you get if you are on the roster as of the specified date. This allows the player to have the guaranteed full amount of that bonus, so long as they are on the team as of that date.

    *The only MLB exception I can think of to the converse, is that you can work out "option" contracts, such as the one Tim Wakefield has. In that case, the team is said to have "the option to retain" the services at a fixed price. However, MLB limits options to a yearly basis, so that once the option is activated for a year, that entire year becomes guaranteed.

    If it makes you feel better, you could just re-arrange semantics, and say that every NFL contract is in fact a big guaranteed Signing Bonus followed by a series of "Option Weeks" that the team holds - if they exercise the option each week by continuing to retain the player's services on the roster, then the player will be paid at that amount. In fact, I bet the contracts are written exactly that way in legalese. The idea the contracts are somehow phony or an abomination is just a product of sportswriters being too dependent on agents for info. To stroke the agent's ego, they go and report the money as if it is real, when it is really a team option to pay it out. The fake part of it only allows the agent to puff himself up. And the sportswriter blames the union or the "system" for their own stupidity.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2007
  10. Vern

    Vern Rookie

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    Re: Can someone explain contracts in the nfl? i dont get how they arent guaranteed..

    One other thing to add is that the money IS guaranteed IF the player actually is on the roster that week. So the team cannot just decide not to pay you. They have to cut you. This is why a guy like McGinnest got cut a couple years back - because he was contractually guaranteed to be paid if they did not.

    So really there is nothing go on here, but the fact the team has the option to stop the agreement at certain points in the deal.

    (Also, some players have actually negotiated this right for themselves, so that they can opt out of a deal too. But usually, they just write in a giant Roster bonus or other trigger so that they will either be paid a huge amount, or force the team to cut them so that they can get a new deal. )

    As Mike Reiss always says, all this stuff is more about book keeping and legalese terms, not about any real agreements or not.
  11. MassPats38

    MassPats38 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re: Can someone explain contracts in the nfl? i dont get how they arent guaranteed..

    Without throwing too much contract legalese, any contract is based on the expectation of the parties in making an agreement. In football, the contracts have been "if you play for this team, I will pay you x dollars for some number of years." In baseball, it is "I will pay you x dollars for some number of years." The difference is the condition placed on the payment in football, which means a team need not pay a salary when the player is released. A law suit by a Green Bay Packers players in (if I recall correctly) the 1950's or 1960's confirmed that interpretation on player contracts.

    I once believed that the one-sided football contracts were a bad thing, but given the combined efect of the salary cap and bonuses offering non-refundable, up front money, I think the system works fine. Players know what to expect with the contracts, so it should come as no surprise. While some teams are rich, most are not, and 4-year deals to pay underperforming player salaries would kill many teams. Look at what San Francisco managed to do to itself for years by overpaying bonuses in the present system.

    I have little sympathy for the billion dollar owners, but the game (and more importantly the Pats) benefit from a system that allows teams to opt out of bad deals.
  12. Wildo7

    Wildo7 Totally Full of It

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    Re: Can someone explain contracts in the nfl? i dont get how they arent guaranteed..

    It all comes down to the mlb players union being an extremely strong, well organized, traditional union, that has represented players well. Which is why the MLB commissioner is traditionally softer than any of the other leagues when it comes to cracking down on players, steroids etc., because the MLB union wields such strong power. The NFL players union (the collective bargaining agreement) is a sham of a union run by an owners puppet named Gene Upshaw, who gets paid roughly 6.5$ mill a year v. the 1-2$ mill a year the other union heads get, basically so that he will do whatever owners want and continually screw over NFL players.
  13. Wildo7

    Wildo7 Totally Full of It

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    Re: Can someone explain contracts in the nfl? i dont get how they arent guaranteed..

    it's also structured so that if a player gets injured, he gets the shaft, no money, in the riskiest professional sports league in America, where the average career is about 3 years. And the salary cap means that these teams are paying their players a fraction of what they can afford to, so they should honor the contract if a player gets injured (i.e. gives their health for the team). The PATs are apparently fairly good about this (ala Robert Edwards) but other franchises? not so much.
  14. alamo

    alamo praedica numerum! PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re: Can someone explain contracts in the nfl? i dont get how they arent guaranteed..

    Yep, those poor players are so screwed, the union has only doubled their average pay THIS DECADE.

    The reality is that the union has decided a less confrontational approach will benefit them more. And it has worked. If you were a MLB player in the years since their last strike you may well have made less total money than if there had been no strike, and salaries actually were down for a while. But average NFL player salaries have been rising every year without exception.
  15. Pats726

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    Re: Can someone explain contracts in the nfl? i dont get how they arent guaranteed..

    Changed?? why?? I hate baseball and what they do..football is different..you also forget the bonus money given up front..which is ONE reason of the not guaranteed contracts..also..if someone gets cut..while the player will not get paid..there are salary cap implications..NO baseball analogies..baseball has gone down the tubes..and large guaranteed contracts are part of the reason why.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2007
  16. Pats726

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    Re: Can someone explain contracts in the nfl? i dont get how they arent guaranteed..

    I agree the system is fine...
  17. mcbee

    mcbee Banned

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    Re: Can someone explain contracts in the nfl? i dont get how they arent guaranteed..


    They don't get "the shaft", they had upfront money and they knew the risks going in. If they had to pay out contracts to injured players, there would be a lot of players injured right before they were going to get cut. And since the total amount of money is fixed, it would take money away from players who are actually plaing.

    Teams are paying "a fraction of what they can afford to"? What are you a communist? They pay a very high fraction of total revenues. What should they pay? 100% of their revenues? No workers get 100% of revenues, what is left for running the show and heaven forbid, for profit?

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