The possible downside to doing rookie deals early

As more and more draft picks sign their rookie contracts, weeks before the negotiating process even began in past seasons, there’s a potential drawback to doing the deals so early.

As Alex Marvez of recently explained it, first-year players will have money at a time when they still have plenty of time to spend it.

“This is going to be the first time the league is going to have to deal with the challenge of rookie players having a significant amount of money during the offseason,” Falcons director of player programs Kevin Winston told Marvez.  “It’s a real big deal.”

One way around this dynamic comes from the deferred signing bonus, a device that some teams are using not to keep the rookies out of trouble but in recognition of the reality that the cash flow ebbs when games aren’t being played.  Thus, it could be in the best interests both of the team and the player to push the pay date at least until the point where the player is otherwise occupied with training camp.

And this is as good a place as any to paste the mini-TV-thing that will play Thursday’s segment of PFT Live featuring Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star, who among other things discussed the status of contract talks between the Colts and the first pick in the draft, quarterback Andrew Luck.

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14 responses to “The possible downside to doing rookie deals early

  1. I can see how someone could get mad but I actually think thats a good idea. I don’t know from experence but I can imagine goin from college student to rich pro athlete I bet someone would get in trouble.

  2. When are they going to stop treating these players like babies? If they keep treating them like this then when they get out they’ll blame the NFL because they weren’t able to transition into society and the players will start to sue the NFL because they didn’t keep taking care I them.. Oh wait a minute… Naw, that wouldn’t happen would it?

  3. or just give them their money and everybody just try minding their own business..why try and with hold these guys money?..really for what?..they gotta learn what having the money is like anyway…doesnt matter really if its now or training camp…why would grown men worry about when other grown men get money thats owed to them? unless u got a little hater in u.

  4. There is also an upside. These rookie players will now have the time and the means to acquire housing and transportation before they are too busy with football.

  5. I suspect that after being drafted, there are many, many people willing to give the rookies a loan using their soon to be signed contract as collateral, so this probably doesn’t really make a difference. I’ve seen several rookies that were expected to be drafted in the first round, show up the the draft wearing all kinds of bling that you know they could not afford (yet).

  6. This is an absolutely ridiculous assumption, first of all these guys all come into the league with agents who either provide these kids with money to be paid back later or initially to procure representation. Also banks will loan a player money based on future earnings (sometimes in college) especially if they are drafted in the first round. So any player drafted in the first round should have no problem getting ahold of a couple $hundred K if he needs to before he signs his contract. And since you are so quick to make an uneducated assumption I’ll do the same and assume there are banks/lenders who seek them out as customers well before the draft.

  7. Nonsense.

    These guys have money from the second they declare for the draft, if they are top rated prospects. They get “loans” from agents and other predators looking to get their hooks in them early.

    If they sign early, they can use their own money instead of the high interest loans they use to live rich before they are rich, and maybe save themselves some headaches along the way.

  8. This is not a problem if the rookies have A) good agents and B) yet to acquire the “I have all this money, therefore I am God” big head. If they have rotten agents and/or the big head, it doesn’t matter when they get paid.

    Bottom line, they need to surround themselves with people that can keep them grounded. I love what Herm Edwards said at the rookie symposium last year – “Be smart. Buy ONE house. Buy ONE car. Buy ONE gold chain. And I ain’t talking about the Mr. T Starter Set, you don’t need all that.”

    Bottom line, in my opinion, whether these guys get in trouble or not get in trouble depends on their character and handlers, not when they get paid.

  9. I agree with others above. There are plenty of people willing to loan the rookies money before they sign their deals.

    If anything, signing a contract earlier gets the player their own money, rather than someone else’s money that they have to pay back with interest.

    Or not paying them back and then being distracted later with lawsuits – right Dez Bryant?!

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