Dear agents, don’t let draft picks work without a contract

AP

This year’s 250-plus draft picks have been officially welcomed to the family. And they’ll quickly be expected to do some chores. Without much of an allowance.

Now that they have teams, the draft picks will be absorbed into minicamps and offseason programs, regardless of whether they sign their first NFL contracts. In past years, few if any draft picks signed before July 4. Now, most will sign before Memorial Day weekend.

All should insist on being signed — and thus employed — before doing anything that would resemble work.

Yes, draft picks can (and will) sign letters of protection, ensuring that they’ll be paid in 2016 what they would have made if they end up suffering a serious injury. Regardless, there’s an overriding principle at work here. The draft picks are expected to show up, practice, participate in meetings, and begin getting to know their playbook. Why shouldn’t they have the same status as everyone else on the team?

Indeed, but for the draft picks, everyone else has a contract. Including the undrafted rookies (other than the ones who will show up for minicamp on a tryout basis). Why not sign all draft picks now, before they step foot into the weight room or onto the practice field?

Some teams (like the Bears) will quickly commence signing draft picks. Others (like the Rams) will wait until the offseason program has ended. Regardless, each draft pick should insist on having a contract before doing anything.

This isn’t something that will originate with the players. Their agents need to be the ones taking a stand. Quietly, some already are. Until enough do the same, players will continue to provide more of the same unpaid services that they provided for the last several years in college.

At least in college they got room, board, tuition, and snacks.

32 responses to “Dear agents, don’t let draft picks work without a contract

  1. Well how about holding the draft a few weeks earlier to allow time for the signing process?

  2. Seems a no-brainer to just sign picks immediately. Every contract is slotted anyway, and the only real negotiation point is Offset language.

    Players should want to collect those checks, buy their mommys and their entourages the house and the car and generally start the process of going bankrupt as quickly as they can.

    Lord I apologize, I’m going to hell….

  3. Similarly, mamas shouldn’t let their babies grow up to be Cowboys*

    *don’t mention that to Ezekiel Elliot

  4. D. Smith has to be the worse union president of any union! He screwed up there last co ntract and players need to vote him out IN 2018

  5. Slot the contracts in dollars and years for all rookie deals. Make offset standard. Every player can be signed immediately and rookie camps can start the Monday after the draft.

  6. Remember Agents …the NFL is guided by a ” rule ” guy …who is only
    protecting what was ” bargained for ” by the PA and the owners.
    So be guided by the rules of contract ..do nothing without some
    consideration or a written contract.

  7. I suspect the agents know far better what their clients should do. Besides if it were so horrible their union would have done something about it right? Hey, why is everybody laughing?

  8. Not all of these picks have proved themselves yet. It’s probably not a good idea to engage in a contract standoff and create unnecessary contention.

  9. “The draft picks are expected to show up, practice, participate in meetings, and begin getting to know their playbook. Why shouldn’t they have the same status as everyone else on the team?”

    Because in every other industry new hires don’t have the same status as established workers. See “probationary period”.

  10. If they do sign and get cut they still did all that work for nothing. Pay checks do not get sent out until week 1 of the regular season.

    Sure signing bonuses are issued, but only the top couple rounds get those.

  11. Are you talking about the same agents who talk their clients into demanding no offset language thereby dragging out an hour long process over several weeks? IIRC, James Winston signed his contract before the draft was over.

    I agree that a contract should be in hand before any physical work is done but you slant this situation into another crusade against ‘the man’. Agents work for the players, not the other way around. Your chores premise/comparison to working ‘for free’ in college is misplaced. Since players are paid via game checks it really does not make a difference. I believe the teams pick up the tab for OTAs and training camp, etc. I doubt players are staying all over town and paying hotel bills.

  12. So, riddle me this. Draft picks are at a disadvantage. The haven’t played in the NFL. Based on the collective bargaining agreement – they are limited in the amount of live reps they are able to face.

    Signing an agreement preserving their likely 2016 income, while the deal is being worked out gets them the coaching and meeting time they desperately need, if they want to make the team. If they get cut – since there are typically no guaranteed deals – they dont get paid.

    So it behooves the players to get in sooner. This device enables them too.

    Keep in mind that there are two parties involved in the negotiation of a contract. And many of the players in the NFL share agents – so there are going to be some delays in working out contracts for some players as a result.

  13. hifive123 says:
    May 1, 2016 10:29 PM
    I don’t sympathize with millionaires.

    _________________

    You should definitely sympathize less with the billionaires and the multi multi millionaire commissioner, following your logic.

    No, they didn’t all “earn it” or “build that”. Many simply inherited or got lucky.

  14. Kids. Get in there and start working hard. Show the coaches what kind of team player and team leader you are. Play the game you love and retire in ten years with $100 million in the bank. Oh, and your agent gets a percentage of everything. So get to work guys. Make those agents lots of money. Or you can start off with a bad attitude. Get in the coach’s doghouse. Get cut, and your agent makes no money. Basically cut off your nose to spite your face.

  15. hifive123 says:
    May 1, 2016 10:29 PM
    I don’t sympathize with millionaires.

    Seems odd to only support the rights of those draftees who will sign contracts affording them six digit, but ok.

  16. Or you could let these kids choose for themselves instead of choosing for them….see how that works?

  17. Ignorathanhiggers.

    Apparently you don’t understand liberal logic of “if I don’t agree with it, it must be wrong, no matter what anyone else says”. Don’t worry they usually give up after a few decades of trying

  18. Another solution looking for a problem. There has never be an instance where a player got cheated out of money because they got injured in a minicamp.

  19. igornathanhiggers says:
    May 1, 2016 11:48 PM
    Or you could let these kids choose for themselves instead of choosing for them….see how that works?

    —–

    That’s kind of the point. These 20 and 21 year old kids don’t know how this works and are unable to make informed decisions. They have grown up in a culture where you just do whatever Coach tells you to do.

    We need to stop acting like these are grown men. They are physically advanced but emotionally and mentally immature. They are still kids. Most have never had a real job because of their commitment to football. They need someone in their ear to help them with this stuff. That’s the role of their agent.

  20. Just another case of the owners wanting to hold onto their money as long as possible.

  21. I disagree. The Letter of Protection should be signed immediately, and I would not be opposed to some sort of 90-day preliminary agreement based on “fair value” according to draft position, during time a proper contract could be tendered.

    But, if I were an NFL Team, I would not be in any hurry to commit long-term to a player like Johnny Manziel quickly. And there seems to be more players of his ilk these days.

    While draft selection clearly shows intent, it should be considered part of the interview process, where the player has a chance to impress his future employer via work ethic and moral character. Nothing wrong with that.

    Even 20 or 21 year old players understands this. And if they don’t, no team should have to commit time and $$$ to a player who can’t measure up.

  22. yahdoood says:
    May 1, 2016 9:56 PM
    Seems a no-brainer to just sign picks immediately. Every contract is slotted anyway, and the only real negotiation point is Offset language.

    Players should want to collect those checks, buy their mommys and their entourages the house and the car and generally start the process of going bankrupt as quickly as they can.

    Lord I apologize, I’m going to hell….
    _____
    Don’t forget about the players that have a parent, cousin, or preacher as their agent who will steal everything the player has so they are bankrupt before they get to their second contract. So yeah, they should sign as soon as possible, like yesterday.

    Hmmm…. guess I’m going to hell too…………

  23. Good idea draft picks, listen to mikey. Don’t worry about showing up for training camp or film or get to know your playbook. I’m sure it won’t effect your chances of staying on the team one iota.

    It’s easy to play in the NFL you can always just go to another team.

  24. giantsfanlewis says:
    May 2, 2016 7:28 AM
    Ignorathanhiggers.

    Apparently you don’t understand liberal logic of “if I don’t agree with it, it must be wrong, no matter what anyone else says”. Don’t worry they usually give up after a few decades of trying
    ——————————————————————–
    That sounds amazingly similar to conservative logic too. I’d think anyone between a far left liberal and a far right conservation would say they’re both wrong. Now I just wonder if what I think is right or wrong but I’m sure somebody is going to tell me.

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