Joe Thomas may be retiring from the NFL later this week. For now, though, he remains an active member of an NFL roster, and he’s actively criticizing a contract another player signed after negotiating the deal by himself.
“You really feel bad for Richard Sherman, but this is clearly a case of ego getting in the way of his pocket book,” Thomas said on Twitter regarding Sherman’s new deal. “He got absolutely crushed on this contract while working as his own agent.”
Sherman, who resented having to write checks to agents for a percentage of his pay, believed he could do as well or better on his own. And he actually thinks that he did as well as any experienced agent could have done by negotiating a deal that gives him guaranteed money (with an important caveat) in 2019 and 2020 if he makes it to the Pro Bowl in 2018.
But Thomas realizes that a player who bets on himself and shouldn’t regard winning as the team keeping him on the roster with illusory protections like an injury guarantee that doesn’t even vest until next March but with a crack at returning to the open market on the heels of a healthy and effective season. That’s the true payoff for a player who bets on himself and has the bet pay off.
Thomas refers to ego getting in the way of Sherman’s pocket book. Ego also will prevent Sherman from ever admitting that he did a bad deal. Which means he’ll never complain about the deal that he did. The danger for Sherman and the 49ers is that, if he ever realizes deep down that the 49ers put one over on him (if, for example, he starts the season on the PUP or NFI list and doesn’t qualify for a $2 million roster bonus that supposedly was part of a $5 million signing bonus), other things that otherwise may not have bothered him may become a much bigger deal, with his frustration over the contract negotiation being directed to something unrelated.
For the 49ers, the best outcome would be for Sherman to never think he did a bad deal. Really, that would be the best outcome for all teams, because the more that players do their own deals, the easier it will be for teams to get players to do bad deals, ideally without ever realizing that they’ve done bad deals.