Winston’s no-baseball clause isn’t rare


Yes, the Buccaneers have added a no-baseball clause to quarterback Jameis Winston’s contract.  No, the presence of a no-baseball clause in NFL contracts isn’t rare.

Per a league source, the contract signed last year by Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has similar language. And it’s believed that more than 100 current contracts have a term specifically restricting a football player’s ability to play baseball.

According to another source, the contract signed in 2012 by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson does not include such language.  Whether his next deal will have that language remains to be seen.

The Standard Player Contract already contains language that prohibits a player from engaging “in any activity other than football which may involve a significant risk of personal injury.” Baseball isn’t specifically listed, and a straight-faced argument could be made that baseball doesn’t entail a “significant” risk of personal injury.

More importantly, the Standard Player Contract merely allows a player’s team to block such activities via legal action.  Winston’s expressly links baseball to his guaranteed money, nullifying any remaining guarantees if he violates the term.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the term can be violated in a wide range of ways, from playing in a game to attending training-camp practices to working out with players to doing anything baseball related short of throwing out the first pitch at a baseball game.

This doesn’t mean he can never play baseball. He just can’t play both. He can give up football, pay back any unearned signing bonus money, and then take up baseball.

For now, that’s extremely unlikely. But if Winston somehow ends up being the Ryan Leaf of 2015’s one-two quarterback draft class, Winston could decide in a couple of years that he really misses baseball now that he’s been away from it, that he realizes it’s his true passion, and that he’s going back.

This assumes he’s good enough to play baseball at the Major League level. If he were, that would have been the better career choice from an earnings, longevity, and long-term health and well-being standpoint.

16 responses to “Winston’s no-baseball clause isn’t rare

  1. I noticed in Peter Kings article that it noted “professional baseball”, so I guess that means he could play at FSU this season if he wished. You can play as a pro in one sport and in college in another (remember Elway playing college football and professional baseball).

    Not saying he will do this, just that he can. Stop saying, he “can’t” play baseball.

  2. They should allow him to play baseball. I’m sure he’d be an up standing citizen playing that sport as well as football…….

  3. If he was good enough, he’d be playing baseball. Simple as that. No contest. I don’t recall any major league team chomping at the bit to sign Winston to a contract with a huge signing bonus.

  4. I would say that given the spate of Tommy John surgeries, pitching entails a significant risk of tearing ligaments in your throwing elbow.

    Seems like every pitcher eventually tears his UCL and gets sidelined for at least one year.

  5. tcostant says:
    May 5, 2015 9:09 AM
    I noticed in Peter Kings article that it noted “professional baseball”, so I guess that means he could play at FSU this season if he wished. You can play as a pro in one sport and in college in another (remember Elway playing college football and professional baseball).

    Not saying he will do this, just that he can. Stop saying, he “can’t” play baseball.

    You can’t play for Florida State if you’re no longer a member of Florida State.

  6. Anyone who is offered a legit baseball contract takes it, even if they are a NFL prospect.

    Guaranteed money, big signing bonuses, low risk of injury,and a union that has the MLB by the chachongas.

    Remember Drew Henson? He got 17 million from the Yankees to tinker around in the minors.

    Granted, they still let him play at UofM, but i’m just illustrating a point.

  7. The comparison between baseball and football earnings depend on a lot of factors. Most baseball draft picks aren’t getting anywhere near the guaranteed money he just got. Also minor league players make around or less than minimum wage- their signing bonus is really all the money they make until they make the majors.

    A MLB high pick who flames out in the minors basically gets his signing bonus and very small monthly salaries and per diem and that’s it. Plus, you can be controlled for up to 6 years in the minors plus close to the same in the majors.

    At the beginning of the major league career most players get a contract for whatever to team decides. Sometimes the teams are generous, like giving you $505,000 when the minimum is $500,000. Then eventually you get to arbitration and get some decent raises or sign a below market extension to get more guaranteed money. It’s a long road to free agency. If you make it to age 28-30 and you are a star at that point you are going to get paid and paid well. With the guaranteed contracts you will get well into the 9 figures. Whereas in NFL you might sign a $100 million and get cut after you collect $30-40.

    So, it really depends on your entire career arc. If you could be the #1 MLB pick on a fast track to the majors (and probably not a relief pitcher, though college relief pitchers might be the most major league ready picks) versus a late round NFL pick, it’s a no-brainer. But if you can be the #1 NFL pick versus a marginal baseball player, that’s also a no-brainer. If he develops well in the NFL he’s going to cash in again in a few years.

  8. Deals like Drew Henson got are rare and getting rare these days. For one thing, he was a high school draft pick, which makes a difference. For another, he was locked up for 6 years to get his deal. Also he wasn’t a relief pitcher. He was projected as a star position player.

    For comparison, The Yankees only gave Jacob Lindgren (a 2nd round college relief pitcher) $1.1 million last year, and he’s expected to make the majors sometime this year.

  9. I remember Charlie Ward passing on football and playing basketball. I thought he was nuts. His second contract was multi-years guaranteed at about the $8M a year. The top QB’s at that time where right in that range. He played basketball a lot longer than he would have played football. Smart.

    But Ward might have been picked in Round 2 (because of his height), if he didn’t chose basketball. So Winston is very different as the first overall pick.

    Great over view by genericcommenter

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