Kiwanuka railed against NFL contracts in general and the situation he found himself in specifically when he saw his pay for 2014 slashed from $4.375 million to $1.5 million. Kiwanuka said he went along with the Giants’ request to take a pay cut in large part because his wife had a baby in April and he didn’t want to uproot his family this offseason, but he doesn’t appreciate the fact that NFL teams can cut a player at any time.
“It’s something that is bargained collectively and for me, as an individual, you only have one action or recourse and that is to withhold your services and hold out,” Kiwanuka told Conor Orr of the Star-Ledger. “There is no market for you to shop your skills around. That is the part that is very unfair to players. We’ve come a long way, I can’t imagine playing in the league without free agency, there has been progress. It is more fair than it has been in the past but that doesn’t mean it’s fair or equal now.”
Kiwanuka believes NFL contracts should be structured more like Major League Baseball contracts, so that the whole deal is guaranteed.
“If we are going to be playing on these contracts, make them contracts,” Kiwanuka said. “Either that or everyone sign a one-year deal every year and we’ll do it that way. It’s not fair to be locked in somewhere and have that place say that we’ve decided not to honor the rest of the deal. I don’t think it is a contract by definition if one side can opt out of it at any point and the other has no recourse.”
Although he described himself as “very angry and very upset” when he first found out the Giants were going to force him to take a pay cut or get cut, he also described himself as a “team player” who will do everything the Giants ask of him. He just wishes NFL teams weren’t so often asking players to take less money.