NFLPA says NFL agreed to nix fully guaranteed deals

The NFLPA has filed a complaint alleging the NFL and its teams colluded against their players’ pursuit of fully guaranteed deals, sources confirmed to ESPN on Tuesday.

An outside arbitrator is expected to hear the complaint, which the union has filed “over the past few weeks,” a source told ESPN.

The Athletic first reported that NFL General Counsel Jeff Pash sent a memo to NFL teams on Oct. 20 updating the union’s claim that teams planned to use fully guaranteed contracts for ” certain quarterbacks” in light of Deshaun Watson’s five-year, $230 million fully guaranteed deal with the Cleveland Browns.

The NFLPA claims, according to the Pasch memo report, that the owners agreed not to make any large-scale, fully guaranteed deals at a meeting in August.

An NFL spokesman declined to comment, and the NFLPA could not be reached for immediate comment. It’s unclear what evidence the NFLPA has of wrongdoing. The contract, which the NFL and NFLPA negotiated in March 2020, does not require teams to fully guarantee contract renewals with players.

Lamar Jackson’s negotiation with the Baltimore Ravens this offseason was part of the discussion that led to the claim, a source told ESPN. Jackson made it clear to the team that he wanted a fully guaranteed deal — one that beat Watson’s total — and the Ravens were unwilling to do that.

Arizona’s Kyler Murray and Denver’s Russell Wilson were among quarterbacks to recently sign non-fully guaranteed renewals that were more in line with traditional NFL business. Watson’s deal is the first of its kind for such a substantial sum.

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti was candid when discussing Watson’s deal at NFL owners’ meetings in March.

“I try to respond to that when I’ve had a reaction to it. And it’s like, ‘Damn, I wish they didn’t guarantee the whole contract,'” Bisciotti said at NFL meetings Tuesday. “I don’t know if he should have been the first man to get a fully guaranteed contract. For me this is something groundbreaking and it will make negotiations with others more difficult. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to play this game, you know? We will see. If I was stuck in negotiations with Lamar, maybe I would act faster on this news.”

While long-established veterans are entitled to certain guarantees, such as B. the minimum base salary, some teams still offer very few guarantees, apart from the signing bonus, which can be calculated pro-rata. The NFL’s funding rule requires teams to pay a majority of a guaranteed contract within the first year of closing a deal, and agents believe teams hide behind this rule to avoid paying large guarantees.

Players are hoping the Watson deal pushes modern contracts while teams see it as an outlier. The question is whether teams act independently when deciding against guaranteed deals, or coordinate with 31 other teams in making that decision.

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/35085169/sources-nflpa-says-nfl-discouraging-fully-guaranteed-deals NFLPA says NFL agreed to nix fully guaranteed deals

Emma Bowman

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