Several 2014 first-round draft picks continue to wait for their long-term contracts, including players like Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack, Falcons tackle Jake Matthews, Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr, Titans tackle Taylor Lewan, Giants receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., and Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Beckham reportedly won’t hold out from training camp. Others (most notably Donald, who skipped all of camp and the preseason in 2017) still may.
For each of them, a specific provision of the CBA makes their potential absences less costly per day — but more costly per week, once the exhibition games begin.
The language appears in Article 7, Section 7(g) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement: “[A]ny unexcused late reporting to or absence from preseason training camp by a player in the fifth League Year of his contract (the option year) shall subject the player to a fine of $30,000 per day, plus one week’s regular season salary for each preseason game missed.”
The $30,000 daily fine is less than the $40,000 fine that other players will face. That’s the good news. Here’s the bad news. The fine for each missed preseason game doesn’t apply to other players, and it can get very expensive.
For Donald, for example, a holdout that lingers into the preseason will cost him more than $405,000 per game. That’s more than $1.62 million of his $6.892 million salary if he once again boycotts the full preseason.
For top-10 picks like Clowney and Mack, it would be even more expensive. Clowney would potentially lose more than $723,000 for each preseason game missed. Mack would potentially lose more than $814,000 for each preseason game missed.
Thus, if any of the 2014 first-round picks choose to skip training camp, they would be wise to take a careful look at whether they’re willing to risk extending that holdout beyond the first preseason game. Although teams often don’t collect the fines arising from training-camp holdouts by players under contract, Article 7, Section 7(g) raises the stakes for the players operating under a fifth-year option, considerably.