Go Back   New Orleans Saints - blackandgold.com > Main > Saints

Honoring Contracts

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Your thinking is flawed Danno ole boy, in a few ways. First, you say that a player enters the negotiations with any team knowing that the team reserves the right to release him, and therefore he should factor that in ...

Closed Thread
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-22-2005, 10:06 AM   #11
5000 POSTS! +
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5,631
Your thinking is flawed Danno ole boy, in a few ways.

First, you say that a player enters the negotiations with any team knowing that the team reserves the right to release him, and therefore he should factor that in to his asking price, and then honor the agreement in full. However, the team, as a matter of pragmatism and experience, knows that if the player's performance improves significantly, he will negotiate for more money. The team also may never intend to pay the full contract amount (i.e. Joe Horn) by cutting the player before the payments escalate. As a matter of contract law, misrepresenting your intentions to secure a deal constitutes a breach of contract. Just play out your scenrio from the players perspective:

Joe Horn is a Pro Bowl WR. He wants to be paid like one. He bargains with the Saints to receive a $42 million contract that also helps the Saints cap situation in the short-term. Horn intends to perform as specified under the contract for 6 years. Horn returns to the Pro Bowl in 2005, 2006, and 2007. After the 2007 season, Horn's salary under the contract is scheduled to increase significantly. Despite having fulfilled his part of the deal fully, the team cuts Joe simply b/c the deal that they agreed to before no longer seems worthwhile to them.

In the real world, there are provisions against that very type of action. Generally, you cannot terminate a contract after receiving substantial performance without having performed equitably ("equally") on your end. (for more info look up the Uniform Commercial Code, Restatements (Second) of Contracts, or other information on requirements contracts).


Moreover, the idea of renegotiating due to changing business conditions/requirements is inherent in the laws governing commercial transactions (again see the Uniform Commercial Code). The law of contracts is largely one of commercial equity. Where the underlying instrument or service (here the player's performance) changes during the life of the contract, the parties are normally free to modify their agreement, and in some cases, they're even required to do so.


Finally, and maybe most importantly, most people misconstrue NFL contracts to be "commercial" agreements, when, in fact, they aren't. They are labor agreements. Simply b/c the numbers are bigger does not mean that the contract changes. Viewing them in this way, it's easy to see why players can and should hold out (as a last resort IMO). Just because the contract contains a time term does not change the fact that it is an agreement to work for the organization. In that sense, other than the salary components, Horn's contract with the Saints is essentially like yours with your employer. Generally, you are an at-will employee and your employer reserves the right to fire you at any time. However, you likewise generally reserve the right to quit on a dime, get up and walk out of your office, and if they need you, then they'll have to pay you to come back. Just b/c a player demands more money, and does so in the media, doesn't change the underlying legal principles that relate to these types of contracts.

The idea that a player has an employment contract, or even a contract to provide services, and he therefore should have to honor it fully while the team reserves the right to cancel at any time simply isn't grounded in any legal theory that I know of.

\"Excuses, excuses, excuses. That’s all anyone ever makes for the New Orleans Saints’ organization.\" - Eric Narcisse


\"Being a Saints fan is almost like being addicted to crack,\"
he said.[i]\"You know you should stop, but you just can\'t.\"
WhoDat is offline  
Latest Blogs


Saints: A glimpse of the future Last Blog: 11-19-2014 By: lee909


What i tell you ! !! ! Last Blog: 11-02-2014 By: SAINTstunna


Old 06-22-2005, 10:38 AM   #12
Site Donor 2014
Truth Addict
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Spanish Fort Alabama
Posts: 16,821
Your thinking is flawed Danno ole boy, in a few ways.
No, its not.

First, you say that a player enters the negotiations with any team knowing that the team reserves the right to release him,
That is 100% correct, and the entire basis of my post, end of story.
Danno is offline  
Old 06-22-2005, 11:33 AM   #13
5000 POSTS! +
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5,631
So you aren't discussing A) what it means for a player to honor and NFL contract, or B) whether they should? Somehow I doubt that. You're a smart guy, and it's not worth posting that teams reserve the right to release player.... hey, the sky is blue too. What's your point Danno? It seemed to me that you were saying that players should honor their contracts, no?
WhoDat is offline  
Old 06-22-2005, 07:27 PM   #14
1000 Posts +
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Williamsburg, VA (aka Southern Canada)
Posts: 1,689
Let me start by saying, WhoDat, I think you have a wonderful grasp of contract law. Much moreso than I think I have. I never really cared for it so that may be the reason. That being said, I'd like to bring out a couple of issues.

First you said,
Generally, you are an at-will employee and your employer reserves the right to fire you at any time. However, you likewise generally reserve the right to quit on a dime, get up and walk out of your office, and if they need you, then they'll have to pay you to come back.
In Louisiana, the way I understand employment law is that a person without a contract to work for someone is an employee-at-will. Anyone who has no obligation to work for their employer but can quit at any time with or without cause is an employee-at-will. An employer that has no obligation to retain an employee and may terminate him with or without cause is an employer-at-will. In order to change this, the parties need a device which will obligate the employee to work for employers on specific terms and the employers to employ the employees on specific terms. That device is a contract.

Both parties are bound to the contract until the contract's termination date, cause exists to terminate, or by provision of the contract otherwise. For example, if I hire someone who has a specific skill set and I sign them to a one-year contract, they are obligated to me for that year. In turn, I am obligated to them. If the employee quits without cause, I have a remedy in a court of law for breach of contract. If I refuse to continue to employ the employee without cause, the employee has a similar remedy. Most of the time the remedy when the employee quits will not be specific performance (meaning the employee wont be forced to work for me), but will be monetary damages or that person will be excluded from the specific area of work (typically handled in no-competition clauses).

Now applying this to an NFL contract is difficult because I don't have an NFL contract in front of me nor have I read the CBA. However, I think it works like so.

Following simple contract law, the Player is obligated by the contract and cannot simply quit without cause and move to another team. The player can retire, but that is most likely handled by a provision in the contract (the player is still excluded from playing for another team).

The team, however, either has an out listed as a provision in the contract that allows them to release a player or the contract likely refers to a provision of the CBA which allows the same at no penalty to the team (excluding salary cap ramifications).

It is possible that the contract further refers to the CBA which may state that the player may hold out for more money in certain circumstances. Thus, the player would not be in breach of contract if he did so.

The idea that a player has an employment contract, or even a contract to provide services, and he therefore should have to honor it fully while the team reserves the right to cancel at any time simply isn't grounded in any legal theory that I know of.
I would say that there isn't a legal theory that allows for such, BUT if that is the type of contract the player signed, he probably would be obligated to such. Of course, unfair bargaining position and other issues may come into play if that were true.
ScottyRo is offline  
Old 06-22-2005, 08:16 PM   #15
Rookie
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 17
ouch
kojakhinton is offline  
Old 06-23-2005, 10:49 AM   #16
5000 POSTS! +
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5,631
Scotty - I bow to you.

Of course, I also have a few thoughts... who'd have guessed.

Your analysis is lucid and on-point. I would simply suggest a couple of things. First, you are correct that contracts for work which do not contain specific time terms are more commonly deemed "at-will" employment, whereas contracts containing time terms are less likely to be classified that way. However, as I understand it, and keeping in mind that Louisiana is always the exception, generally speaking, at common-law a time term only allows for reliance damages upon breach, and limits the period in which the agreement will remain in place (i.e. at the end of the term the employee has no expectation of continued work).

You are also correct that specific performance is virtually never employed in labor disputes - and rightly so. In that case, if Joe Horn, for example, were to hold out the Saints could sign another WR ("cover") and then seek damages amounting to the difference between the cost of the new WR and the cost of Horn. Realistically, this means that the team has no rememdy, b/c it is required to find the cheapest alternative under both the UCC and Restatements. While the team might argue that a "suitable alternative" is another Pro Bowl WR, there are most likely no performance guarantees in Horn's contract. Therefore, Horn would argue that an "NFL-caliber" WR is an equivalent, and the Saints should not be able to recover above and beyond costs associated with the salary of an "average" WR. IMO, he'd probably win on that.

As for your comments on non-compete clauses, you're right, but the non-compete is a function of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), and not a player's contract. I have no doubt that every player's contract has a non-compete clause, however every one is most likely unenforceable without the CBA. Non-compete clauses are oft overturned by courts on grounds of "public policy." They are subject to weighing tests that consider both party's interests, and factors such as geographic area covered, time frame, specificity of the non-compete function, and available alternatives. Seeing as how a non-compete in an NFL contract is essentially a restriction on trade for an NFL player, a court would never enforce it IMO. Which is where the CBA comes in, and solves this problem.

To me, a player holding out is tantamount to a labor strike that requires an organization to rework an existing labor agreement. I don't see anything wrong in it. Again, contract law is largely one of "fairness" and given the cavalier way that teams drop players like a bad habit, I see nothing wrong with a player who has exceeded expectations asking to be compensated accordingly. For many of them, their entire career earnings potential is reduced from a normal 50 years to more like 5 or 10, and it can end at any moment. NFL players are right to try to get what they can - just like teams are right to try to underpay and get the best value out there. Ultimately, things SHOULD balance out so that a player is paid based on his performance on the field.

\"Excuses, excuses, excuses. That’s all anyone ever makes for the New Orleans Saints’ organization.\" - Eric Narcisse


\"Being a Saints fan is almost like being addicted to crack,\"
he said.[i]\"You know you should stop, but you just can\'t.\"
WhoDat is offline  
Old 06-23-2005, 11:23 AM   #17
5000 POSTS! +
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Hollywood, CA
Posts: 6,458
Blog Entries: 5
I don't have a problem with a player getting paid for there work according to there performance. The only fair way to do this would be setting it up that the league would run this. If you are the top rb in the league you get xx% of the pot -excluding Ricky Williams who would thing that word ment something else.
Being ranked on your performance league wide not team wise. Your status with the team is one thing but being the 10 best QB in the league and 1 on your team could mean a couple of million.

E U P H O R I A
Euphoria is offline  
Old 06-23-2005, 11:34 AM   #18
5000 POSTS! +
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 6,941
To me, a player holding out is tantamount to a labor strike that requires an organization to rework an existing labor agreement. I don't see anything wrong in it. Again, contract law is largely one of "fairness" and given the cavalier way that teams drop players like a bad habit, I see nothing wrong with a player who has exceeded expectations asking to be compensated accordingly. For many of them, their entire career earnings potential is reduced from a normal 50 years to more like 5 or 10, and it can end at any moment. NFL players are right to try to get what they can - just like teams are right to try to underpay and get the best value out there. Ultimately, things SHOULD balance out so that a player is paid based on his performance on the field.
Agreed. If the CBA allows for both, which it does, and which WhoDat so correctly referred to as what would be a labor strike in the "normal" business world, neither side is wrong in this issue outside of the court of public opinion. And let's not forget trades. A player can be drafted by a city, build a home and a future there, and get traded ala Willie Roaf, no matter performance, for other reasons. Seems fair to me that if a player is performing at a high level, or at least higher than his salary is payign him as judged by what his peers make, that he would want to get the most for his window, which WhoDat put at 5-10 years, but I think the actual number on average is more like 4-6 years. I always site a Javon Walker in a case like this. It can't be denied he has far exceeded his rookie contract by becoming a better receiver in every season despite being the number 3 receiver most games, and making the pro bowl this year. How can he be begrduged the right to go for more money? His value to the team at this point is more than what they are paying him. The CBA allows a means for him to remedy this, and he is using obviously the most extreme method, holding out. Noone will deny Deuce has outplayed his rookie contract, but he has chosen not to hold out since the team apparently IS working on a new deal for him anyway. But it would have been his right to do so.

Let's also look at another possible outcome, injury. We can compare a player to a normal job if we like, but I don't risk tearing my ACL or paralysis daily just doing my job. NFL players do. That is another reason they are allowed to attempt to recoup the most they can during their window in the NFL. They bust their butts to get better in order to have the opportunity to make that payday. If said player gets hurt before that payday and can't play anymore, think the team is gonna say "well, you did outplay your rookie contract and made the pro bowl, so even though you can't play any more, we are still gonna give you that top dollar contract." Hell no. The player is basically screwed and depending n years played, may not even fall under the injury protection clause the NFL has for him to receive a stipend.

I feel some players carry things to far, as in the most used example, TO, in the second year of a 7 year 49 million dollar deal, and he is the exception. But the rules are there for players to do so, so they are just as within their rights as owners when they wanna go back to the table.
saintswhodi is offline  
Old 06-23-2005, 12:17 PM   #19
5000 POSTS! +
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5,631
Good post Whodi. I would just like to make one note.

I think I do risk brain damage and paralysis on a daily basis at my job. LOL
WhoDat is offline  
Old 06-23-2005, 12:20 PM   #20
5000 POSTS! +
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 6,941
I think I do risk brain damage and paralysis on a daily basis at my job. LOL
Well, separating apples from oranges at the A&P is tough work. lol
saintswhodi is offline  
Closed Thread

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:23 PM.


Copyright 1997 - 2013 - BlackandGold.com
no new posts