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Veteran agents still intend to resist workout bonuses in rookie deals

Jets Smith Football AP

In response to the decision to push nearly $700,000 in 2015 and 2016 base salary to workout bonuses in Jets quarterback Geno Smith’s rookie contract, one high-level team executive made this observation:  “It would be great for established agents to explain why they aren’t using this structure.”

Two of them have provided an explanation to PFT.

Both said that it’s not prudent to hinge significant payments on participation in the offseason program, since it limits significantly the player’s flexibility during the months of March through June.  With, as one of the agents explained it, 90 percent of the teams now putting the minimum participation limit at 90 percent, players who have workout bonuses can lose them without missing many workouts.

Also, the bonus hinges not only on participation in OTAs but also in showing up for the lifting and conditioning phases of the offseason program.

“While true almost all quarterbacks participate, not everyone does it at such a high amount,” the other agent said.  “It isn’t just OTA’s, it is the whole program, and not all of them feel they need or want to be there the for all of the strength work.  A lot do it on their own with their own trainers.”

Hinging big money on participation in the offseason program also prevents a player who isn’t happy with his contract from making a statement at no financial risk.  If, for example, Smith becomes a star and wants a new contract after three seasons, he’d lose more than $400,000 if he boycotts the offseason program as leverage for a new deal.

This year, Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks stayed away from OTAs, presumably to minimize his injury risk in a contract year.  Smith could do the same thing in 2015, but at a significant cost.

“There is a reason teams are the ones always pushing for workout bonuses in deals and not the players and agents,” the second agent said.

So while teams may try to get more agents to agree to the same structure the Jets used with Geno Smith, don’t count on many established agents agreeing to those terms.

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4 Responses to “Veteran agents still intend to resist workout bonuses in rookie deals”
  1. thestrategyexpert says: Jul 24, 2013 1:23 AM

    Sounds to me like this kid wants to play ball bad. I’d say ok fine go ahead. Sanchez won’t be on the roster much longer anyhow.

  2. chrismgillis says: Jul 24, 2013 4:44 AM

    I think they should go regardless. these are people who make an obscene amount of money to play a game. while most of us are going week to week struggling to provide very little for our families while these guys are complaining about struggling while making millions. id love to get paid the minimum pay in the nfl. if I make $20,000 in a year, it’s considered a descent year.

  3. dirtybird28 says: Jul 24, 2013 7:12 AM

    If the agent is hired to look out for the player, then tying money to workouts wouldn’t be in the plans. You are now forcing your client to work out and risk injury in a situation they may otherwise not partake in. Yes, its a sign of good character and being a leader/great teammate to go anyway. The Michael Crabtree’s and Victor Butler’s of the world might agree.

  4. therealtrenches says: Jul 24, 2013 9:21 AM

    If i’m reading this correctly (and i might not be), they’re not “bonuses” if it’s 700k in “base salary.” All it does is jeopardize part of the contract that the team previously owed the player.

    And if that’s the case, it’s pretty easy to see why more agents aren’t using this structure (and why an executive would try to portray it as a no-brainier that benefits the player).

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