Prove It Deals Can Be Win-Wins for the Team And the Player
NFL players looking for redemption tend to get offered prove it contracts offered to ’em. The first Vick-Eagles contract in ’09 was a classic prove-it contract. But before I go there, let’s kick it for a sec about what prove-it contracts are.
They’re a team’s way of saying, “we’ll give you a one-year deal, and if you can still produce like you used to, we might choose to extend the relationship past next season.” Financially, prove it’s are good deals for the teams because they now have a former (and not too long ago) top notch player for fairly inexpensive pay.
Once the 1 year contract expires, the team has two choices, to either; A) either extend their relationship with the player with a new contract (a.k.a “exercising their option”), or B) allow the player to move-on to free agency if the player didn’t meet their expectations.
If they choose option A, a new contract is negotiated, for one or more additional years.
In 2009, after getting out of the clink, Mike Vick signed a prove it contract with the Eagles. Vick’s agent negotiated the contract so that there would only be one option year (paid at $1.625 million) after the initial year. This meant that if the Eagles liked what they saw after year one, they could only lock Vick up for one more year. This strategy set Vick to get to free agency again soon, to get even more money from the Eagles or another team.
This turned out to be a brilliant and lucrative move by his agent, because the Eagles exercised their option, paid Vick $5.2 million for the option (second) season, and ended up franchising Vick for the 2011 season. Now, for the 2011 season, Vick’s salary will equal the average of the top 5 NFL quarterbacks, as of the end of the 2011 free agency period (whenever the lockout is over).
It’s expected that Plaxico Burress will end up signing a prove-it contract by the team that scoops him up in free agency, once the new CBA is finalized.
The beauty of prove it contracts is that they’re potential win-win’s for both the team and the player. The team keeps avoids risk of committing a lot of money to player that they deem risky, and the player gets to prove that he deserves to be paid like he once was.
Where do you think Plax is gonna land this fall?