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.