There’s an epidemic of ignorant rookies out here. Rookies that don’t know anything about NFL negotiation strategies, that are relying on their agent entirely too much. Yes, your agent or attorney should handle the actual negotiations. But your agent works for you, and you need to have at least some basic knowledge of NFL negotiation strategies so you can check their work, and make sure they’re doing what you really feel is in your best interest when they’re negotiating your contract.
After all, it’s your money, and your livelihood that’s at-stake when your agent goes to the negotiation table, so why would you not want to know what’s going on? To help you out, I’ve provided 7 NFL Negotiation Strategies that Maximize Guaranteed Money.
1. Be careful of the incentive-laden contract. In some cases, you have to take what you get if you don’t have any leverage in the negotiation. Especially if you’re a fringe player, who’s barely hanging-on in the league.
Example: In 1999, Ricky Williams signed a deal with New Orleans for seven-years, $68 Million… but $52.2 million of of the contract was all incentives! And because it was laced with incentives, he only made the league minimum for his first two seasons, and $5 million of his $8.84 million signing bonus was deferred (see point #2).
Many believe that Ricky had an inexperienced agent, and the Saints took advantage of that, and created a contract that was to their advantage.
2. Know exactly how much (if any) of your contract is deferred. Deferred payments are when a specified portion of your yearly salary or signing bonus is paid during another league year.
Why is this important? Because your contract may say that you’re making $5 Million this year, but if your contract says that $2.5 Million of that salary is deferred to the following league year, that means you’re only get $2.5 Million this season (before taxes), and you’re getting the remainder of that next season.
3. Know that only your signing bonus is guaranteed. I think most guys know this one, but I thought I’d throw it in anyways. If you’re a high draft pick, the goal is to get as much signing bonus/guaranteed money as possible. This money is yours regardless of poor play or injury.
Check back soon for Part 2!
What are your thoughts on the first three tips? Do you agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments.