Guaranteed salaries didn’t guarantee some rookies a job beyond minicamp

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In the days after the draft concludes, much is made of the undrafted free agents who finagle significant guarantees. For some players, those guarantees don’t even guarantee a job until Memorial Day.

This year, multiple players with partially guaranteed contracts were released after participating in rookie minicamps.

The players who found themselves go from having partially guaranteed contracts to no employment as of Monday include Broncos defensive back Darrious Gaines, Broncos running back Emmanuel Wilson, Jaguars defensive end Jayson Ademilola, Dolphins tackle Jarrett Horst, and Dolphins tackle Alex Jensen.

It’s not a new dynamic. As one experienced evaluator of talent observed, it’s an annual ritual. Teams sign undrafted free agents, guarantee base salaries, and cut them after rookie minicamp.

“I wonder if owners even realize it,” the source remarked.

The players need to realize that the partial guarantee means nothing. One bad showing at rookie minicamp can be enough to get the team to conclude that, despite all information gathered during the pre-draft process, the player in question simply doesn’t have it.

Although dumping them quickly acknowledges that the decision to guarantee a portion of the contract was a mistake, it avoids the complication of doubling down, making one mistake into two by keeping a player on the team simply because he received a partially-guaranteed contract.

4 responses to “Guaranteed salaries didn’t guarantee some rookies a job beyond minicamp

  1. Whatever these guys are paid, it’s not enough. I dont know anyone outside of mma fighters who take more abuse in their pursuit of employment than pro footballers, and they leave a lot of money on the table, so im sure the owners realize theyre getting the lion’s share, c’mon man

  2. What specifically does a guaranteed contract actually “guarantee” ?

    A specific $$ amount for a specific term ?

    Surmising by the tone of the article that the UDFA agrees to a specific $$ amount, & if they’re cut/released, they still collect full amount ?

  3. I doubt owners care about partial guarantees for UDFAs. What’s the largest guarantee for a UDFA anyway? For them it’s part of the cost of doing business. The GM probably doesn’t even have to explain.

  4. I got a solution, get drafted higher to secure a larger guarantee will ensure that a player can stick around as long as he isn’t totally incompetent.

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