NFL Contracts: The Big Con — A Wolf in Sheeps Clothing

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There have been several articles and tweets recently from analysts regarding Adrian Peterson’s situation with the Minnesota Vikings and his recent twitter rant about his contract.  I have said it before and I will say it again, most of these NFL contracts are negotiated by the organization knowing they have no intention of honoring the deal.   I view NFL contracts as just “funny money” and a sophisticated “con.”  The contracts are filled with milestones that the athlete must meet in order to be paid the full amount of contract.  It is a joke and so unfair to these men who could possibly end up with life sustaining injuries, early dementia and other life altering health problems to be coned into signing deals that will never be honored.  If the plan is to only payout $20,000,000, then that should be the deal!!!

Football is an extremely violent sport, yet the athletes that play the sport are the least compensated compared to other professional sports.  According to Forbes, the National Football League is the most lucrative sports league in the world.  The average value of an NFL team is approximately $1.43 billion and continues to increase each season.  The major money makers for the owners and the league are all of the sponsorship deals the league enters into such as Bose, Microsoft, DirecTV, which is a $4 billion dollar partnership spread over a four year contract, and many others.  That said, the league is making a mint off ticket sales and merchandise.

One analyst said that Peterson should just be a man and have a conversation with the owner, really? Do you see that as having a positive outcome?  If Adrian Peterson thought all he had to do was have a conversation with the owner he would have done that.  I don’t believe he should have taken to social media to express his displeasure with his contract.  However, this is young man where the light bulb finally went off and he knows that he’s coming to end of his career with the Vikings and will not see the true value of deal he signed.  Let’s take a look at Peterson’s contract and why he’s angry and rightfully so.  According to my research, he signed a six (6) year $86,280,000 contract that includes a $12,000,000 signing bonus that is spread out over five (5) years and $36,000,000 guaranteed.  It’s my understanding that the $36,000,000 is inclusive of the $12,000,000 signing bonus.  Therefore, of his $86,280,000, $56,280,000 is NOT guaranteed and the organization never had any intention of honoring the deal for the life of the contract and they knew that when the deal was presented to him.

Keep in mind that the running back position has been devalued over the last ten years so the Vikings organization is in no way going to payout the remainder of Peterson’s deal.  He has approximately $18,000,000 of the $36,000,000 guaranteed left to be paid.   Once he has been paid the entire amount of his guaranteed compensation the Vikings organization will release him so that they don’t have too honor the remainder of his deal.

Roger Goodell, the Commissioner, who is not putting his life on the line, is being paid $44,000,000 a year and his salary is guaranteed.  That is absolutely ridiculous. The National Football League is a well-oiled machine and can be run by a goat so there is no reason for Roger Goodell’s salary to be that outrageous.  Roger Goodell strong armed the players in 2011 to take a “league” friendly deal.  That would NEVER have happened if I had been working for the players.  The league and owners are making a mint and it is unfair to treat the players with such disrespect.  Roger Goodell should only be paid a fraction of what he is making.  He has not established a good relationship with the players and he doesn’t care about doing so.  He is all about the money and not the health or well-being of the players.

The NFLPA needs to renegotiate the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the owners.  These “funny money” contracts only serve the owners; they are not designed for the benefit of the athletes and they are the people being injured and the reason for the mega sponsorship deals.   The NFLPA is ineffective and does not serve the athletes best interest.  The NFLPA needs to renegotiate how the players are paid.  My recommendation is that instead of paying the players over the course of a the16 games they be paid every two weeks over 12 months.  This payment plan works for everyone involved.  It keeps moneys in the owners’ bank accounts drawing interest and it will help the players develop a better system of managing their money.   NFL players are the professional athletes that primarily end up in financial ruin once their careers are over because of poor money management.  It is time for the league to help these young men become better managers of their money.

Why is Russell Wilson still fighting with the Seattle Seahawks about a new deal?  This is a young man that won a championship for a team that had never won one but that don’t want to pay him what he’s worth.  Russell Wilson’s father was a lawyer so I hope he does not allow himself to be tricked into signing one of these “funny money” deals.  He should hold out and ensure that 95% of his salary is guaranteed.  He has won the same number of Super Bowls as Peyton Manning and he didn’t have to cheat to win, Shady Brady.

This blog will be a series.

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