Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Tuesday’s news that 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman has signed a long-term deal is that few players have signed long-term deals this season.
Perhaps more should.
As we understand it, teams are making offers to their guys who are due to become free agents. Players (or perhaps more accurately their agents) are balking, hoping to cash in even bigger on the opening day of free agency.
That’s fine, but some players are turning up their noses at solid contract offers in the hopes of a windfall that may not come. Agents and the NFLPA continue to believe the salary cap will go up higher than the league believes it will. Even if the cap spikes, only a small handful get overpaid.
There’s another important reason to get a deal done now, before the clock strikes midnight on January 1, 2013. With the Bush tax cuts potentially getting scuttled next year, the highest bracket could push from 35 percent back to 39.6 percent.
On a $10 million signing bonus, that’s $460,000.
Regardless of what happens, players need to realize that they may not get the brass ring they covet — and that by reaching for it they may squander something close to it. Especially if they end up with an injury that necessarily disqualifies them from the first-day lottery prize that won’t go to very many players, and that may not be big enough to justify passing on the offer that’s on the table.
We’re not saying players should blindly accept the money they’re being offered. Instead, they should know the pros and the cons and make a decision fully aware of the risks.
Which starts with the risk that Uncle Sam will get an extra 4.6 percent of money that changes hands after the local radio station quits playing that Dan Fogelberg song.