NFL Contracts: A One-Way Street

nfl-logoThe NFL often draws praise for its non-guaranteed contracts.  Players are paid for present rather than past performance.  The NFL would likely argue that this helps maintain the overall quality of play and competition throughout the league.  NFL players argue that although they risk the most injury, and have the shortest careers, their contracts provide the least security.  Both perspectives have merit.

The players, I think, have difficulty generating sympathy when stories such as Brandon Marshall dogging it in Denver and Michael Crabtree holding out in San Francisco dominate the headlines.  But SI.com’s Ross Tucker has an excellent piece on how NFL teams treat players who may lack the leverage of star players like Marshall, or high draft picks such as Crabtree:

Most fans dislike when players sit out OTAs or training camp while angling for a new contract. The consensus seems to be that players should honor their signed deals. That’s a fine thought, of course, but in this case, which party isn’t honoring the long-term contract?…

Click here to read Tucker’s article in its entirety.

Tucker raises an interesting question: should fans expect both players and teams to honor their contracts?  It seems as though Tom Brady has come to terms with the fact that loyalty in the NFL is in fact, a one-way street:

“Our goals are the team goals,” Brady said. “At the same time, you’ve got to understand what’s best for the team isn’t always what’s best for you as a player. It’s a real fine line because you want to make the commitment and loyalty to the team but you have to understand it doesn’t go both ways and that’s okay because we are getting a lot out of it as well…”

Click here to read more of Brady’s WEEI interview on the Projo Pats blog.

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