After the draft, some unfinished free-agent deals may fall apart

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It may look like free agency went off without a hitch, but there are lingering hitches galore, in the form of deals not done because physicals can’t be conducted during the ongoing pandemic. With the draft only 16 days away and with multiple players who have yet to finalize free-agent deals due to the inability to undergo physicals, an interesting dynamic is looming.

What if, for example, the Falcons have a great running back fall into their laps in round two or three, before Todd Gurley‘s knee receives a clean bill of health? Will teams doctors, whenever they can examine him, be more inclined to fail Gurley if/when the Falcons address their needs at the position with someone younger, cheaper, and healthier?

Or what if a team with needs at a given position fails to adequately address those needs in the draft? Will that team try to pilfer a player whose free-agent deal hasn’t been finalized with another franchise because his physical hasn’t been conducted?

More than a few players continue to have verbal agreements but not final contracts because they haven’t taken physicals. Some shrug at the potential for chaos. Others see this as a real issue.

No one will know until after the draft, when some teams may develop a reason to renege on a free-agent deal and when some players who aren’t yet officially committed may develop a wandering eye.

10 responses to “After the draft, some unfinished free-agent deals may fall apart

  1. I realize that it’s common practice on this site to view NFL team decision makers in the most unfavorable, nefarious light possible, but the truth is I believe most teams went into free agency making these deals in good faith.

    All of these teams, for the most part, have very good working relationships with the various agents and companies that represent the bulk of the NFL workforce.
    And it’s vitally important for these teams to continue to enhance and grow these relationships to ensure future deals.

    Can you imagine if a team rejected a contract solely based on a fabricated excuse?
    That particular team just might be blackballed from an entire stable of clients in the future.
    There have been stories of players’ agents steering their clients away from certain teams simply because GM’s have been difficult to work with, or who’ve made tough organizational decisions against a player
    that was still entirely legal under the terms of the contract.

    Will there be unconsummated deals, of course.
    Nothings a guarantee until it’s signed, but for the most part it will be for another rock solid reason, rather than what RB fell into the lap of the Atlanta Falcons.

  2. I think a team that does that after the draft, might indeed get the shaft from future free agents/player agents. And that’s the team’s prerogative, but they have to live with it.

  3. This is funny. They can get out and play catch, but they can’t go get a physical? Really?

  4. Nothing’s final until the FAT LADY SINGS….Just ask the Colts about that one!!! LOL

  5. Mike your suggesting that team doctors would “fail” free agents purposefully to save teams money. Are you serious, Mike? Has the NFL really fallen to that low point? You need to publicly apologize to your readers and the medical community. Or you could just review my comments and hit delete. You’ve been known to do that.

  6. This is where player agents can act as police officers, right? If GM X is doing shady things, the agent can call GM X out and it hurts the GM and his employer in future negotiations. I’ve always read here that the agent/GM relationship is a key stabilizing factor in the NFL.

  7. It’s called E-signurture. Its 2020 …get with the technology NFL
    The problem is not getting it signed, the problem is contracts require passing a physical before the contract is valid.

  8. “An oral contract isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on!” —— Samuel Goldwyn.

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