Why Only The NFL Doesn’t Guarantee Contracts
From the article:
[...] How does this all work? Chris Deubert, one of the Harvard study’s authors, told me that “the contract on its face is guaranteed.” But what the CBA has long done is articulate rationales for why that contract can be terminated.
“And then it’s up to the player and his agent to strike out those enumerated reasons why a player can be cut,” Deubert said.
As Deubert and Glenn M. Wong wrote in their excellent 2009 history of the evolution of bonuses and guaranteed money in the NFL for the UCLA Entertainment Law Review:
Signing bonuses, paid within a certain date of signing, represent the most traditional form of guaranteed money as the player receives the money relatively quickly. However, [basic] salaries, option bonuses and roster bonuses to be paid in future seasons might also be guaranteed. Typically, these categories of compensation can be guaranteed against “skill,” “injury” and/or “cap.” When a club terminates a player’s contract it must indicate what its reason are for doing so. The acceptable reasons can be nullified by these guarantees: a “skill” guarantee provides that a player’s contract cannot be terminated if in the club’s opinion he does not have the requisite skill; an “injury” guarantee protects a player’s contract from being terminated if he is injured; and a “cap” guarantee prohibits a club from terminating a player’s contract when his salary cap charge may have become too large. So while reports may often cite the “guaranteed” money of a newly signed player, the particular guarantees are much more involved. [...]
Read the full Deadspin article here.
Read the cited report, "Comparing Health-Related Policies & Practices in Sports: The NFL and Other Professional Leagues," by Christopher R. Deubert (former Senior Law & Ethics Associate), I. Glenn Cohen (Faculty Director) & Holly Fernandez Lynch (former Executive Director), part of the Football Players Health Study at Harvard University, Law and Ethics Initiative.
football players health study holly fernandez lynch i. glenn cohen