Report: Multiple teams miffed over Emmanuel Sanders negotiations

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Every once in a while, a reminder emerges that, in the NFL, a deal isn’t done until the deal is done.  Sometimes, however, a deal that isn’t done becomes undone in a way that pisses people off.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media explains that the intention of receiver Emmanuel Sanders to sign a contract with the Broncos on Sunday occurred after his agent, Steve Weinberg, accepted a deal in principle with the Chiefs.  Weinberg is specifically accused of “shopping the Chiefs offer” to the Buccaneers, without explaining that he’d told the Chiefs the terms had been accepted.  Thereafter, Weinberg agreed to terms with the Broncos.

Per Rapoport, the 49ers also are upset because Weinberg agreed to send Sanders to San Francisco for a visit before “blowing it off.”  (That’s hardly uncommon, though.)

“When a man gives you his words and pulls out then gives another team your word and pulls out, then gives another team his word. . . .  Not proper,” an unnamed executive told NFL Media.

That quote creates the impression Weinberg agreed to terms with two other teams before agreeing to terms with the Broncos.  It’s unclear, however, whether an agreement in principle was reached with the Buccaneers.

“This was one of the worst situations in modern football negotiations,” an unnamed executive from an unnamed team involved in the situation told NFL Media.  “Totally wrong.  This needs to be stopped.”

(Actually, it’s probably much worse for a team to agree to terms with a player, to tell him that he passed his physical, and then to decide that he failed his physical.)

There’s an easy way to stop it.  Teams who get burned by agents who engage in allegedly unscrupulous practices should simply refuse to do business with those agents.  While Weinberg and Sanders had every right to renege on agreements that were not legally binding — and they’re not legally binding until the paperwork is signed (which perhaps should make the Broncos a little nervous) — there’s an unwritten code in every industry that allows business to be transacted efficiently and reliably.

Those who violate that code have a harder time transacting business in the future.  But instead of merely deciding quietly to put Weinberg on an internal list of agents who can’t be trusted (it’s likely not a short list), someone has opted to smear Weinberg broadly by complaining publicly (but anonymously, of course) about Weinberg and apparently by pointing out to NFL Media the details of Weinberg’s decertification by the NFLPA that occurred more than a decade ago, for reasons unrelated to negotiation tactics or practices.

So the obvious goal of the Chiefs or whoever has complained via off-the-record quotes about Weinberg is to make it harder for him to do business in the future with the Chiefs or any other teams.

Of course, it’s safe to say that the Broncos currently have no problems with Weinberg.  Unless, of course, Sanders doesn’t sign his contract.

35 responses to “Report: Multiple teams miffed over Emmanuel Sanders negotiations

  1. I have no sympathy for the teams when it come to contracts. They are mad at Sanders for not signing contracts when they regularly do not fulfill contracts they have signed.

  2. Donte Whitner did this to the Bengals a couple of years ago. Money and athletes are one in the same. Some play for the prestige and branding while others go for the big payday once the prestige is achieved and the career is in decline.

    This is why Mike Brown is smart like a fox. why bother giving out huge signing bonuses to outsiders that are on the downside of their careers? These owners are certifiably insane to give out “sunset pay.”. I will damned to give out massive retirement prep money to Jason Tuck and Karlos Dansby. That’s just bad business.

  3. “When a man gives you his words and pulls out then gives another team your word and pulls out, then gives another team his word. . . . Not proper,” an unnamed executive told NFL Media.

    Sour grapes.

    No sympathy for the “devil” here. The NFL is a steely cold business where contracts are not honored to the letter. Heck, even the day they are signed everyone knows it will not be honored. A 4 year deal is really a 3 year deal, a 2 year deal is really a one year deal, etc.

    This is the business bed you’ve made NFL. Don’t cry when you reap what you’ve sown.

  4. You can’t tell me that every agent doesn’t engage in shopping an offer. Anyone who has ever bought or sold a house or condo experienced the same thing.

    “an unnamed executive from an unnamed team” is hardly a good source to get up on your soap box and complain. If this is such an egregious example, put your name behind the quote and then change the system. Otherwise, its just sour grapes.

  5. .

    This is an especially heinous offense because he shopped him to another AFC West team which KC will face twice a year.

    Also, KC coach Andy Reid has a reputation of being a fairly straight shooter. Weinburg has succeeded in making him look like a tool.

    In any business situation good faith negotiations are essential. I am certain that many franchises (ie New England / Green Bay) will bypass Weinburg’s clients in the future.

    .

    .

  6. (1) If a man’s word alone isn’t good enough, the man isn’t good enough. No one should need a signed contract if they gave their word and/or shook someone’s hand.

    (2) Buyers Beware: Sanders has some real concerns about some foot injuries in both feet — neither of which seem “good as new.”

  7. This is a stupid article….this is no different then when Ingo to a car dealer and find out the bottom line price on a car and then take it to another car dealership to to see if they can do better….u can’t gauge your true value without an offer…the deal is not complete till the player signs….everybody knows that

  8. I am a life long Steeler fan, and cannot agree with everyone’s assessment of Sanders more. I think the Steelers made a big mistake last year, bringing him back. He is quick, although not that fast, and he can’t catch! His heart for the game is suspect…takes a lot of plays off! Anyone who pays big money to this guy is crazy.. He is a less than mediocre receiver and has a big mouth!

  9. Tired of moronic fans saying teams don’t fulfill contracts. Players sign a contract with a salary and a Guaranteed salary! They get paid their guaranteed money, the rest they know like everyone knows is all performance based.
    It’s not a teams fault that a man changes the way he prepares his mind and body after he signs a contract, that’s why they hold the right to cut them, that’s also why no contract is made of all guaranteed money!

  10. While Weinberg and Sanders had every right to renege on agreements that were not legally binding — and they’re not legally binding until the paperwork is signed (which perhaps should make the Broncos a little nervous) — there’s an unwritten code in every industry that allows business to be transacted efficiently and reliably.

    —————————————————-

    That’s actually not true Mike, and as a lawyer you should know better. An oral agreement is legally binding if a party can prove the agreement took place.

  11. Teams routinely cut players who have “contracts”.

    To cry foul on this is like the pot and the kettle…..

  12. You guys do know that the player also knows he won’t see the end of his contract even before signing it. The player is usually more concerned about getting the most money guaranteed and immediately so the team says ok but we need an extra year or two then to spread out the cap hit. Both parties are aware that those final years are more then likely going to be voided.

  13. dpdonny says:
    Mar 16, 2014 7:39 AM
    “When a man gives you his words and pulls out then gives another team your word and pulls out, then gives another team his word. . . . Not proper,” an unnamed executive told NFL Media.

    Sour grapes.

    No sympathy for the “devil” here. The NFL is a steely cold business where contracts are not honored to the letter. Heck, even the day they are signed everyone knows it will not be honored. A 4 year deal is really a 3 year deal, a 2 year deal is really a one year deal, etc.

    This is the business bed you’ve made NFL. Don’t cry when you reap what you’ve sown. —————————————————————————————————————————- yeah because players don’t ever (hold out) for a long term contract? you know it’s a business on both sides. and you call the nfl the devil, however some of these players make million’s of dollars a year. just saying the league isn’t the only devil.

  14. I don’t see it as a sour grapes situation at all, verbal agreements have been the normal process in NFL free agency.

    Scrupulous agents contact the other interested teams with the offer before they accept it, not afterwards.

    It won’t just be the 2-3 teams that will no longer do business with this guy, the majority of the league will fall in line.

  15. In the NFL, the deal isn’t binding until it’s in writing. In the law, certain types of contracts must be in writing, like real estate contracts. It’s called the Statute of Frauds.

  16. sanders flew to san francisco, couldn’t find the team so he left. (somebody forgot to tell him that the niners moved to santa clara 50 miles away)

  17. You mean like the Broncos had a deal with Rogers-Cromarti on the table and then pulled it after acquiring Talib? Tell these teams to stop whining. Remember? It’s a business.

  18. If one can weasel out of a handshake deal on a legal technicality (e.g., citing the Statute of Frauds) as they manipulate the trust of others, it may be “legal” in a technical sense (i.e., by the letter of the law).

    But it’s just not cool. It’s not what gentlemen due.

  19. To the jilted Steelers and Chiefs fans I say this: your tears of unfathomable sadness are delicious!
    Seriously, y’all are pathetic. Sanders can’t catch? He had 5 drops last season, good for the 18th best catch rate in the league. Just live with the fact that the Broncos are now the AFC’s top team, that he Steelers are currently irrelevant, and that the Chiefs have almost always been irrelevant.

  20. The Broncos fans here are mistaken if they think he is a replacement for Decker, he’s fast and runs screens well. He can’t really run routes, the kinds of plays Manning will want to run he won’t be able to do. He will be a screen or quick pass type player and a returner that might get deep once in a while, that’s it.

    Can’t wait to see then try anything on my boys Revis, Browner, Dennard and McCourty this will be fun.

  21. I am surprised by the uproar of this because any contract is just talk til it’s signed. Just this week at the Eugene Monroe press conference Ozzie Newsome relived another player whose agent agreed in principle to a deal, was sitting in Ozzie’s office and had a pen in his hand when Jerry Jones called, sent his plane and the player left unsigned. Of course, as a Ravens fan, I am also reminded of the former Bears GM, Jerry Angelo, who stiffed Ozzie on a deal that would have the Bears move up to the Ravens spot in the 2011 draft . Ozzie waited, his pick passed, the next team picked before Ozzie could recover. Talking about the shady side of this business. Most teams, their GM’s, the players and the players agents have no morality when it has to do with money. That is because, as is the way in our society, money is more important than your word, the truth, morality or anything else. The NFL should stand for No Fines for Lying.

  22. Let’s see…Tampa Bay (McCown/Glennon) Kansas City (Smith) or Denver (Manning)?

    I mean, really? I don’t blame him.

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