Maclin, Harris, Decker moves underscore importance of March triggers

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Nothing in the Collective Bargaining Agreement prevents a team from dumping a veteran contract late in the offseason. Individual player contracts can. And the recent decisions by the Chiefs and Jets to dump receiver Jeremy Maclin and linebacker David Harris and receiver Eric Decker (if he’s not traded), respectively, underscore the importance of protecting players with clauses that require teams to make early decisions.

Whether it’s a roster bonus or a salary guarantee, plenty of contracts contain triggers that require a team to commit to the player or sever ties while the player will have a full and fair chance to find another job.

Without those protections, veteran players are at the mercy of teams that can dump them at any time before Week One, at which time the player’s base salary for the coming year becomes as a practical matter guaranteed. It multiple past cases, these moves have been made not in early June but in late August, usually with the team putting the squeeze on the player to take less at a time when he’ll have a hard time finding another suitor — and an even harder time quickly assimilating to a new city, locker room, and coaching staff.

Given that long-term veteran contracts usually are guaranteed for the first two or three years, players need to insist on these early triggers in the out years, so that they’ll know as soon as possible whether they’ll be looking for another job. Without those protections, every veteran player needs to realize that a surprise could emerge as the season approaches.

8 responses to “Maclin, Harris, Decker moves underscore importance of March triggers

  1. I would think even a barely competent agent would have language in the contract to discourage this.

  2. So Maclin turned down Philly and went to KC over a million per year and it’s probably going to cost him a lot of money. Since he had a down year and was cut, I doubt he gets anywhere near what he was making.

  3. I love that these things are called “contracts.” It is bogus that players can get dumped any year and the team is only responsible for the signing bonus.

    Players get blasted for holding out yet when they feel they’ve outplayed their contract.

    If I were a union leader, I’d push in the next CBA for more contract protections.

  4. I’m not going to shed too many tears over the plight of these poor millionaires on the back end of bloated contracts. I know, I must be made of stone.

  5. Really, i think the agents and poor down trodden players can figure this out witbout the pc grand standing.

  6. Just like all negotiations, there is give and take.

    For example, to have a roster bonus trigger in March of the back years may cost the player $1 million per year on their contract.

    It’s easy to say players “need to insist” a bonus, without knowing what they’re giving up.

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