Source: No poison pill in Bell offer sheet

When seeing that running back Mike Bell was the first restricted free agent of 2010 to sign an offer sheet, the first question that came to mind was this:  Is he the guy who stole Rudi Johnson’s luggage?

After realizing that it was Tatum Bell and not Mike Bell, the next question was this:  Does the offer include a poison pill.

Per a source with knowledge of the transaction, it doesn’t.  The Eagles, we’re told, decided that if the Saints had planned to keep Bell, they would have tendered him at a level higher than the level that guarantees a right of first refusal only.

We’ll find out within a week whether the Eagles guessed right.

UPDATE:  In this context, “poison pill” means language that would make the contract fully guaranteed if matched by the Saints, but not fully guaranteed if he becomes an Eagle.  For example, the offer could have included language making it fully guaranteed if Bell plays at least five games in Louisiana during the 2010 season.  The offer cannot require the original team to pay more money than the new team would pay.

39 responses to “Source: No poison pill in Bell offer sheet

  1. A poison pill essentially is an extremely front-loaded contract that is offered to a restricted free agent that is tough for the original team to match if it doesn’t have a lot of money to play with. Now, can someone explain to ME why a poison pill contract is that useful in an uncapped year?

  2. A poison pill is a stipulation or term in a contract that the team who currently owns the rights to the player cannot take on. If the Eagles were to say, in the contract, that Bell’s entire contract would be guaranteed if he played 8 games in the state of Louisiana over the next two year, that would be a poison pill. A single reason for New Orleans to refuse the option to match the offer sheet since they play eight games a year there, they would have to guarantee his whole contract after the first season of the deal. This would cause them to decline to match. In other words the contract becomes a poison that New Orleans wouldn’t want anything to do with.

  3. A poison pill is language written into a RFA contract that makes it almost impossible for the original team to match. Example was the Vikings offer to Steve Hutchinson. It said if he played more than 2 games a year in the state of Washington he had to be the highest paid OG.

  4. Florio DOES read the comments after all, I guess. Thank God he’s not Tatum Bell.
    rocman101, it’s basically an offer sheet that has provisions written into it that makes it impossible for the original team to be able to match the offer. The Vikings did it to the Seahawks when they made an offer to Steve Hutchinson, and then the Seahawks returned the favor by signing Nate Burleson to the same contract. For instance, there would be a provision that says that if Mike Bell “played for a team in Louisiana”, his salary would rise to a level that would be impractical for the Saints to afford.
    Basically, the Eagles felt no need to do that because the Saints tendered him at a non-draft pick level, which essentially says they would keep him if nobody else made an offer, but if someone makes an offer they probably won’t bother to match it. Doesn’t make sense to pay almost 2 mill for a 3rd string RB. He’ll be an Eagle I would imagine.

  5. # rocman101 says: March 16, 2010 8:34 PM
    Can someone fill me in on what a poison pill is?
    Cyanide………. No, actually it is a contract clause that the team wanting to retain a player can’t meet with any practicality.
    Example, Bell has to start four games in Philadelphia in 2010
    ………….. poison pill for N.O. to match

  6. They already have two running backs with different styles of play (and a lot of money invested in) and a potential goal line back in Lynell Hamilton so why would they want Bell around?

  7. Poison pill would be language int he contract that says Bell gets a kazillion million trillon dollar bonus if heplay more than 4 games in New Orleans next year. Only if NO matches the contract and he becomes a saint, would that trigger it.
    See hutchinson, steve

  8. A poison pill is a provision in the contract that the Saints can’t possibly meet, guaranteeing that the Saints can’t match, guaranteeing that he’s gonna be an Eagle.

  9. Doesn’t the NFL review all contracts?
    You’d think that they would invalidate any contract which involves a geographical poison pill on the basis of bad faith.

  10. The Poison Pill is actually a pill that will make all food taste disgusting to Andy Reid.
    I think the Bell offer match comes down to whether the saints believe in Hamilton’s ability to replace him. They are both pretty much the same type of back…
    Hamilton will be cheaper but who cares in uncapped year…

  11. Poison pills make absolutely no sense in an uncapped year. While their designed to have a team not match, there more designed to screw with the teams salary structure pertaining to the cap. No cap, no pill!

  12. DallasFan in NY: You would be right, unless the NFL and NFLPA agree to a new CBA which includes a salary cap in future years. Then it would come into play. Since the teams have no idea whether that will actually happen, they can’t take the chance.

  13. Expecting a poison pill in a one year contract to be effective is ludcirous anyway, especially in an uncapped year and for a player who would’nt be getting mega dollars.

  14. Alright so now I have another question. Why wouldnt a team always insert a poison pill into the contract of an RFA that they wanted? I mean, there doesnt seem to be any risk associated with this at all.

  15. Rocman: The “risk” is that another team does the same thing to yours in retribution. Seattle got its payback for the Vikings signing RFA Steve Hutchinson by getting RFA Nate Burleson from Minnesota. In reality, Minnesota got the best of that deal, but that’s not the point.

  16. A poison pill is not just limited to the NFL; some corporations have a poison pill agreement in place to dissuade takeovers. Many employment contracts also contain versions of the poison pill.
    So alas, this is not an invention of the NFL, Mike Florio, or whatever else is attributed to in these comments.

  17. there still can be poison pills in uncapped year.
    We are dealing with MILLIONS of dollars here and some owners simply do not have the stomach to swallow that type of coin to retain a player -therefore the terminology in a contract that would create an ‘uncomfortable’ situation could be a poison pill
    The effect of poison is quickened by a salary cap, but still there are ways to work a contract and poach the player

  18. Rocman –
    really, No risk… it is called GUARANTEED money. Do you think the team or ownership would be financially successful giving guaranteed contracts to a bunch of players that may or may not work out? Really, people on this site should study or learn about financial terms like RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)

  19. Good pickup by the Eagles. They get a back with a Super Bowl Championship ring and a decent backup for $1.7 million for one year and possible incentives that take it above $2 million. No way the Saints match the offer.

  20. @Gabrielsdad237 That is incorrect. The contract was that if he was not the highest paid lineman in a given year, the entire contract would be guaranteed. With Walter Jones there as well, this was impossible for Seattle.

  21. Poison pill….collusion….tampering….Man I love a uncapped year!!! All we’re missing is a little Rooney rule action!!!

  22. msw141 says:
    March 16, 2010 9:18 PM
    “hey could somebody here explain what a poison pill is?”
    I would love to but you are too late.
    Best Wishes,
    Corey Haim

  23. Saints won’t match. Wearing the wrong cleats in the Super Bowl is not a good idea. Never saw the field again after that faux pas.

  24. Payton doesn’t want Bell, we have 3 better backs already and Bell has issues with his work ethic.
    And he doesn’t know which cleats to wear, even after being told multiple times……

  25. “Why wouldnt a team always insert a poison pill into the contract of an RFA that they wanted? I mean, there doesnt seem to be any risk associated with this at all.”
    The risk is declaring open season on your own RFA’s. Also I don’t think that the owners are too eager to piss each other off.

  26. The Saints will match this. Yes, they have a stable of running backs and each one has had injury issues the past 2 years. 1.5 million for a guy who got us valuable first downs at the end of games is a bargain. Not getting those crucial first downs killed us in 2008.

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