NFL, NFLPA agree to minor change to rookie contracts

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Who says the NFL and NFLPA never agree on anything?

Per a league source, the powers-that-be have struck a deal regarding a fairly minor aspect of rookie compensation.

Specifically, the two sides have agreed that, once a player is drafted, he will automatically be deemed to have received an offer for a four-year contract at the minimum salary for each season.  Previously, the team was required to provide written notice of the tender offer before or immediately after the draft.

While it’s currently unknown whether some specific incident drove this change, the move is a simple fix that makes sense.  It’s an automatic gesture that is now literally automatic.

The four-year tender operates as a placeholder for the team until the rookie contract is negotiated.  Under the pre-2011 labor deal, the tender applied to only one year, allowing a rookie to go year to year at the minimum salary and become eligible for restricted free agency after three years and unrestricted free agency after four.  That option, which was rarely used, is now gone.

It remains to be seen whether this fairly minor agreement means that the NFL and NFLPA will be striking new deals.  In past years, “side letters” between the two parties were fairly common.  Now, they rarely happen.