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Honoring Contracts

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; With the recent Terrell Owens contract soap opera and its aftermath, and many years of similar contract disagreements, I've read a lot of opinions about teams honoring contracts as well as players honoring contracts. Some ask why should a player ...

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Old 06-21-2005, 04:02 PM   #1
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Honoring Contracts

With the recent Terrell Owens contract soap opera and its aftermath, and many years of similar contract disagreements, I've read a lot of opinions about teams honoring contracts as well as players honoring contracts. Some ask why should a player honor a contract when teams so often don't? Well I find a glaring problem with that thought process. When a player signs an NFL contract, he knows certain things inherent with that contract that both he and his agent agree to upon signing. Basically the contract states that,

A) The team will pay you X dollars, if you make their roster.

B) If you do not make the roster, you will not be paid the contract amount, and you are free to negotiate with any team you desire to.

C) The team has the right to terminate the contract anytime they want by simply releasing you. You are then free to negotiate with any other team in the NFL for your services.

D) We have rights to your services for the duration of the contract that you agree to and sign.

The player then either agrees to the contract, and its duration and signs it, or continues to negotiate. Often guaranteed money, or a signing bonus are included in the contract, which is irrelevant to honoring a contract, since it is money due that player regardless of the situation.

Nowhere does a contract state that the player has a right not to honor the contract if he feels he is under-paid. That right is forfeited, with the consent of the player and agent, the moment he signs that contract. That is why many players and agents will back-load a contract. It gives the player the long-term advantage. If the team still wants him, they must pay the back-loaded amount. If the team doesn't want him at that price, the team has the right (agreed to by both player and agent) to terminate the contract and allow that player to negotiate with any team they so desire.

So as far as honoring a contract, it basically comes down to two primary obligations,
1. The team is obligated to pay the player the agreed amount, or release them and allow them to pursue appropriate compensation elsewhere.
2. The player is obligated to play for the agreed amount, or decide not to honor the contract, not play, and not get paid any of the contract amount.

I have yet to see a team not honor a contract, but I've seen many players not honor theirs.

'Tolerance And Apathy Are The Last Virtues Of A Dying Society'
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Old 06-21-2005, 04:19 PM   #2
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Interesting take. Let me say, the specific contract a player signs may not say a player doesn't have to honor a contract if he feels under-paid, but the collective bargaining agreement allows for either side to "come back to the table" so to say when there is a contract issues. It also provides a players right to hold out in this instance as well. Without these rights provided in the CBA, a player would be screwed. The team has the right to fine a player should he choose this option, but it is still the player's option to do so. The team could release the player and allow him to gain his worth ont he free market, but they KNOW other teams would pay a Javon Walker or a TO what they were asking, thus weakening the original team and possibly strengthening a rival, so teams let them sit out instead of paying them more.

In some cases, as in Javon Walker's, a player obviously outplays a contract, and chooses a hold out to remedy this situation. It's well within his right. Just like a player could choose not to, ala Deuce.

I also see a problem with the idea of a back-loaded contract favoring the player. It doesn't, and this is the exact reason TO is holding out. He wants the back end money of his contract moved forward, he doesn't even want a new contract. Back loading contracts favors the team, as the Saints did with Joe Horn's new deal, in that when a player reaches that portion of his contract, it's pay or cut time. Look at Aaron Brooks' contract. He is due buttloads of money starting next year. Think he will see it? Who does that favor? The Saints. If Aaron wants that money, he has to play his butt off to get it, which helps the team, or his salary is cut, which helps the team. When a player plays to the level of that contraqct, then yes it is good for them. But if they don't, the team benefits by either cutting them or renegotiating that deal with them.

I have yet to see a team not honor a contract, but I've seen many players not honor theirs.
1. The team is obligated to pay the player the agreed amount, or release them and allow them to pursue appropriate compensation elsewhere.
These two statements are in direct conflict with one another. If you want to see a team not honoring a contract, just see Tebucky Jones and Orlando Ruff. When a team releases a player who is under contract, they are not honoring that contract. Just like when a player holds out for a new deal, he is not honoring his contract. They both happen. Teams cut players under contract all the time, that means they are not going to honor they contract they signed at the same time the player did. I am confused by these conflicting statements.
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Old 06-21-2005, 04:30 PM   #3
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I have yet to see a team not honor a contract, but I've seen many players not honor theirs.
1. The team is obligated to pay the player the agreed amount, or release them and allow them to pursue appropriate compensation elsewhere.
These two statements are in direct conflict with one another. If you want to see a team not honoring a contract, just see Tebucky Jones and Orlando Ruff. When a team releases a player who is under contract, they are not honoring that contract. Just like when a player holds out for a new deal, he is not honoring his contract. They both happen. Teams cut players under contract all the time, that means they are not going to honor they contract they signed at the same time the player did. I am confused by these conflicting statements.
I disagree. If the contract states that the team may release him at any point, and they chose to do so, how is that "dishonoring" the contract?

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Old 06-21-2005, 04:37 PM   #4
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Come on Danno, that's semantics. How do you know a contract says a player can be released at any point? That's provided for in the CBA, so why would it need to be reiterated in a player's contract? I would have to see this wording in an NFL contract cause I am not sure it exists. It is already provided in the CBA, of which every player is made aware by his agent, and during the rookie symposium. Seems like an unnecessary redundancy. If you have a reference to where I could look at an NFL contract and see this wording, then I can see where you are coming from in regards to teams always honoring contracts, though I would still not necessarily agree. If not, then because that wording is in the CBA, you would have to operate under the conclusion it would not be necessary to add it to a contract, which is reviewed by the NFL anyway before it is accepted.
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Old 06-21-2005, 04:42 PM   #5
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Huh?
I've never heard of any NFL team not honoring a contract. Are you saying some teams don't have a right to release a player? Yes there are guaranteed contracts and teams are forced to pay that, so thats not even in the equation.
You're missing the entire point of the post.
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Old 06-21-2005, 04:54 PM   #6
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Whoa dude. What are you reading? Where did I say anything about guaranteed contract? The NFL doesn't have guaranteed contracts. Bonuses in a contract can be guaranteed, but not the contract itself. But still, where did you see that in what I said? The word guarantee is not anywhere in my post, at all. What gives? I asked if you have seen an NFL contract to know this wording about releasing players is in there. I also said I doubted it would be as it is provided for in the CBA, meaning EVERY team can release ANY player whenever they feel like(except when they are on IR I believe). I don't see how I missed the point at all. I challenged a theory you were operating on as the crux of your argument, unless the final statement of the original post was for dramatic effect more than to drive home your point. Show me where I ca get my hands on an NFL contract, or tell me where you have seen one so I can see it too, then I can see that wording for myself. But as I said in the last post, it's already in the CBA, which governs ALL owners and players, so there is no need for it to be repeated in a contract. I hope I am clearer, cause I have no idea where your response was going.
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Old 06-21-2005, 05:08 PM   #7
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meaning EVERY team can release ANY player whenever they feel like
That is the meaning of my whole post. If they are allowed to release a player at any time, then how is that dishonoring a contract?

Why do I feel like I'm arguing with someone who agrees with me?
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Old 06-21-2005, 05:16 PM   #8
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LOL...
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Old 06-21-2005, 09:21 PM   #9
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Wait a minute Danno. We are not agreeing. You said teams can release players cause it is in their contract. I DO NOT agree with that. It is in the CBA that teams can release players at their discretion. So if you think that's is okay, then you must also think it is okay for a player to hold out, which is also allowed by the CBA. So then your post has no point at all really. Teams and players are both protected by the CBA in their actions when it comes to a contract. So no we DO NOT agree, and teams most certainly break contracts more often than players. Please, take the time to read what I am saying, and not just what you select to read to agree with you. All you have to do is read back a post or two and you can tell you did not read what I said at all, with that guaranteed contract response. That's all I ask. Just read, and if you don't understand, ask me to explain so there are no more misunderstandings.
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Old 06-22-2005, 06:49 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by saintswhodi
Wait a minute Danno. We are not agreeing. You said teams can release players cause it is in their contract. I DO NOT agree with that. It is in the CBA that teams can release players at their discretion. So if you think that's is okay, then you must also think it is okay for a player to hold out, which is also allowed by the CBA. So then your post has no point at all really. Teams and players are both protected by the CBA in their actions when it comes to a contract. So no we DO NOT agree, and teams most certainly break contracts more often than players. Please, take the time to read what I am saying, and not just what you select to read to agree with you. All you have to do is read back a post or two and you can tell you did not read what I said at all, with that guaranteed contract response. That's all I ask. Just read, and if you don't understand, ask me to explain so there are no more misunderstandings.
OK, you win, you may go back and where I have "contract" you may replace with "contract/CBA". It still makes my point either way.
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