Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

30 Jul 2005

Clarett Takes High-Risk, High-Reward Road Again

Steve Feldman, Maurice Clarett's agent, gets my vote for the worst player representative on the planet. You see Mr. Feldman, the whole idea of being an agent is to make money for your clients (and yourself) by negotiating sensible contracts. As it stands, Clarett has turned down a $410,000 signing bonus and opted for an incentive-laden deal that offers bupkus in the way of guaranteed money. So, you know, if he doesn't make it out of training camp, he'll leave Denver with a couple of practice jerseys and some bus fare. Good thinking.

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 30 Jul 2005

16 comments, Last at 01 Aug 2005, 12:57pm by karl

Comments

1
by Master P (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 12:10am

What a dummy

2
by Ricky Williams (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 12:28am

Sounds like a good deal to me.

3
by Basilicus (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 12:31am

Yes, because when you're a running back on the same team as Quentin Griffin, Mike Anderson, and Tatum Bell, you really want an incentive-based contract. Smaaarrrt. With the questionable abilities that go along with being out of football for over a year, this just gives the coaching staff an incentive to hold him out of games and not play him.

One unrelated thing I just read: Drew Brees separated his non-throwing shoulder in the fourth game last year. I'm impressed, it depends on how bad it was, but it required surgery this off-season and the thing must have bothered him quite a bit.

4
by glr (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 12:46am

I don't see why you're blaming his agent. I'm sure it's Claretts arrogance/confidence, and not his agent's incompetence, that led to this deal.

5
by andrew (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 10:26am

I hate incentive clauses that are based on on-field issues other than team success.

I remember an interview with Edgerrin James, who had such a deal (not as extreme hit or miss, but still incentive-laden)... late in some game with the Colts up by one and the clock running down... the colts could run out the clock and win with a first down. I think it was Jim Mora who instructed him to lie down in bounds if he got the first down and the game was over.

He burtst through the line... and of course goes all the way for a touchdown. Which of course left them up by 8, and gave some time to the other team to try and get a TD and 2 pt conversion (they didn't, but the principle is still there). The main reason? his incentive contract. He picked up a nice bonus with each touchdown, and was laughing all the way to the bank as he scored. He admitted though that he'd never sign another incentive contract again, it put his goals at odds with the team's.

6
by Martin (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 12:04pm

''Yes, because when you’re a running back on the same team as Quentin Griffin, Mike Anderson, and Tatum Bell, you really want an incentive-based contract.''

Hey, you forgot Ron Dayne!

7
by Kyle (TCN) (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 12:54pm

i'm happy that his contract worked out the way it did. he'll have to actually do some work oon the field to get paid, and if he does some serious work, he'll get paid in a big way. that sounds alright by me.

and this is definitely good for the Broncos either way, so... nice signature, Mo.

8
by Marc (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 1:56pm

I've heard a bunch of people call for contracts pretty much exactly like this, in response to stuff like TO's complaints and other players hitting a big pay day and having their perfomance drop off noticeably. But now when someone actually takes a deal like this he's an idiot?

9
by ZasZ (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 2:08pm

Marc,

What everyone is saying is that such contracts are great for the team. Often, what is good for the team (money-wise) is bad for the player. So, a player who signs such a deal signs a bad deal.

In Clarett's case, such a deal would have made sense if he had been drafted by a team seeking to make him their prime back, but he probably won't see much action in Denver's backfield. Had Clarett been drafted by, say, the Bears, I would have applauded this deal by both parties. Clarett, whether it would have worked out for him or not, would have shown that he was ready to risk a lot. I personally like high-risk high-reward attitudes, so maybe I'm biased.

10
by Dervin (not verified) :: Sun, 07/31/2005 - 2:39am

Does anybody know what the incentives are?

While $400,000 is nothing to laugh at, it's not much when compared to an MCSE over a four year time span.

And I don't like that term "earn his money" it's implying the players with guaranteed contracts are not giving a good days work for a good days pay.

11
by Wes M (not verified) :: Sun, 07/31/2005 - 11:32am

And I don’t like that term “earn his money� it’s implying the players with guaranteed contracts are not giving a good days work for a good days pay.

Off topic : Watch much of the NBA? Ever compare a player between a "contract year" and the year after?

On topic : One of the things I love about the NFL is the fact that, even after receiving the signing bonus part of a new contract, very few players loaf. (Except for certain receivers when they (he) knows that the play isn't coming their way. And I don't think that's related to money anyway, just self-centered laziness.)

12
by Topher Connors (not verified) :: Sun, 07/31/2005 - 6:23pm

When it came time to sign, the agent didn't put HIS John Hancock on the contract. Unless Clarrett is illiterate (a possibility) blame lands on him.

13
by Reinhard (not verified) :: Sun, 07/31/2005 - 9:04pm

So you're saying that if he is the teams starter and produces he gets paid substantially more than if he is a backup and doesnt play? I don't see anything stupid, smart, or risky in this, it just seems fair if anything.

14
by goblin (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 3:58am

"So you’re saying that if he is the teams starter and produces he gets paid substantially more than if he is a backup and doesnt play? I don’t see anything stupid, smart, or risky in this, it just seems fair if anything."

I agree that it sounds fair and reasonable at least in theory, but if he gets cut for whatever reason he gets nothing, and if he gets hurt he only gets whatever crappy base salary he agreed to. So basically a guy whose last football experience was an injury shortened NCAA season a long time ago is relying on not only making the team but also working his way up to a high spot on the depth chart in order to make anything resembling market value or a good living for a routinely brief career field. Also, a contract without signing bonuses or other guarantees allows the team to cut him without having any cap hit at all, so if he doesn't set the world on fire he could easily be on the street.

15
by Drew (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 11:56am

Post #9 touched on this. The deal itself isn't necessarily bad. Depending on the circumstances, this may end up a much better deal than taking the guaranteed 400k. But out of any team in the whole league, the Broncos are the one team where a RB should never count getting a certain number of carries.

16
by karl (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 12:57pm

Moreso than headlines about bringing toddlers back from death, it's stories like this that really make you appreciate Drew Rosenhaus.