Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

31 Jul 2005

T.O.'s Agent Is More Talk Than Action

A reader sends along this link from the Philiadelphia Inquirer that rebuts many of Drew Rosenhaus's claims concerning T.O.'s contract. According to the players union, "...there is nothing in the collective-bargaining agreement that addresses the issue of guaranteed contracts. That is a matter for individual negotiation between teams and players."

Furthermore, in the NFL guaranteed money takes the form of signing bonuses, option bonuses, and to a lesser extent, contract length. Which is exactly the blueprint Rosenhaus followed for Jevon Kearse's deal last summer. (Oddly, for a guy with a stable of clients, he's only touting guaranteed contracts for one of them. Interesting.) So for Rosenhaus to condemn the current system because T.O. is unhappy is a bit disengenous. But that's not really news. (free registration/bugmenot required)

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 31 Jul 2005

15 comments, Last at 02 Aug 2005, 5:27pm by Carl

Comments

1
by Goldbach (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 12:36am

In other words, if a player wants a guaranteed contract, he can negotiate for one. Of course, the team would likely ask for concessions (such as less money over the life of the deal, or a shorter deal).

If the CBA were suddenly changed to make all contracts guaranteed, like in other sports, it won't be much better for the players. Teams will simply stop giving out 6-7 year contracts, and instead limit them to 2-3 years, or perhaps even lots of 1-year contracts. The players will still bear the brunt of the injury risk, and there would be less overall money for the healthy players.

2
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 1:01am

I fail to see how the players think any changes to the way contracts are set up could be beneficial to them. I mean, unless you play with the salary cap, every team is going to be spending exactly the same amount of money regardless of contract structures. If you guarantee that money, you're just giving a bigger portion of the pie to aging veterans who are no longer performing commensurate to their compensation, and a smaller portion to guys like Walker or Boldin who are young and are currently undercompensated. I personally think non-guaranteed contracts are the way to go, because it gives the biggest piece of the pie to the guys who are earning it.

I think, in all honesty, the best deal for players would be to make every single contract a 1-year deal. That way the best guys would always get paid like the best guys. It'd be horrible for the sport and the fans, though, because there would be no continuity at all. Jersey sales would drop like a rock. In the meantime, what we have now is a nice happy medium. Players can get guaranteed money if the want it, they can get performance based money if they want it. They have all the choices, and yet they still find time to complain that they got screwed.

Nobody stopped you from negotiating a different deal. If you didn't like the terms of your deal, you should have negotiated a better one in the first place.

3
by Jim A (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 1:16am

I watched the HBO interview referenced by the article, and I didn't interpret the Rosenhaus quote the same way the author of this article did. It didn't at all sound like he was trying to change the system so that all contracts were guaranteed. He was just saying that because contracts aren't guaranteed, there's a huge risk for those superstars who stand to lose great earnings potential should they suffer a career-ending injury. And just that he has the right to ask for a new contract on behalf of his clients.

Rosenhaus now represents more players than any other agent, an indication that he's probably doing a good job for his clients. But he's not telling them all to hold out, only the ones with the most risk and, presumably, the most leverage.

4
by Goldbach (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 1:29am

I've heard other interviews with Rosenhaus in whih he seemed to indicate that the system should be changed such that more money is guranteed to players.

Of course, that's the tune his clients want to hear. Most of them don't think about the unintended consequences that would result.

5
by Stiller Fan in Cle (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 2:42am

I'm starting to get a bit tired of hearing about Rosenhaus in general...

Anyway, he's whining about wanting something where if a player is outperforming his contract, he can get an increase in salary...

I think there's a word for that...ARBITRATION. If he sees it as such a huge problem, get the players to negotiate it into the next CBA (which is currently under negotiation). Otherwise stop complaining, especially about contracts for clients that YOU didn't negotiate for them...

6
by Moses (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 10:47am

As soon as Rosenhaus agrees that Walker needs to repay at least $2 million of the $5.3 million he earned in the first two years, for #3/#4 WR production, I might listen to his claims of "fair."

Or repay part of the Javon Kearse $16 million bonus. 7.5 sacks and finishing out of the Top 30 as one of the highest paid DEs in pro-football, on a line where there are additional pass rushers, just doesn't cut it in my book.

So what I think is that Walker refund one-half of his year one and year two money. I think that Kearse refunds at least $10 million.

Then, the Eagles can give some of Kearse's money to TO and the Pack can "fairly" pay Walker $3 million this year from the money he didn't earn in the past...

Then it'll be fair for everyone... :)

7
by Justus (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 11:41am

What's with all the hate for Rosenhaus? He's just doing his job. If he wasn't doing his job he wouldn't have clients.

8
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 12:03pm

I think he misses the point. The way the NFL is structed, the signing bonus IS the guaranteed money. If players truly want guaranteed contracts, then they (1) aren't going to get their money up front and (2) are going to get shorter deals.

9
by Parker (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 1:04pm

Testify, Moses!

10
by Jim A (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 1:50pm

I think the fact that Rosenhaus is so hated demonstrates that he's doing a good job. He's generating all sorts of me-first publicity for his clients, yet all the negative feelings are directed toward him, not his clients. Quick, how many can name off the top of their heads the agent who is encouraging Richard Seymour to hold out?

If the teams don't want to restructure existing contracts, they can just say no. If the player doesn't report, they can ask for repayment of signing bonus or sue for breach of contract. Of course, the Dolphins did this with Ricky Williams but never bothered to collect the $8.6M they were awarded by a judge. Such non-action by the teams hardly encourages players to honor the terms of their contracts.

11
by Goldbach (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 2:44pm

I think in Philadelphia, that TO and Rosenhaus are getting equal amounts of blame. Of course, a large part of the animosity towards TO stems from some things he has said recently that I'm sure Rosenhaus wasn't happy about, either.

12
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 6:00pm

Aaron apparently has decided to be kind and not publish King's on-the-road comments on every training camp he's visiting.

I leave these mots justes, however, for all to consider:

"It's hardly customary in my business to publicly acknowledge and back-pat an organization, but from Billick down to his players, the Ravens deserve it. I see how they interact the public and it looks great to me."

Actually, it's not only customary, but expected. That he does so with the Ravens is nothing more than a sign that autumn is on the way, as surely as falling leaves, trick-or-treaters or apple cider.

Let football begin.

13
by ABW (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 8:10pm

And surprising no one, TO reports to camp after all. Hey, at least he managed to piss a lot of people off in exchange for the nothing he got for holding out.

14
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 11:07pm

Has anyone mentioned the other problem with the Rosenhaus-client strategy of threatening to hold out, then reporting? You get a "more talk than action" reputation.

If you get a reputation as a big bluffer, you'll never take a pot with a pair of fives, because anyone with a halfway decent hand will call your bluff.

15
by Carl (not verified) :: Tue, 08/02/2005 - 5:27pm

Day 2 finds Pete King in Earth City, Mo., home of the Rams!

He starts it out with a telling fragment:

"At the Risk of Being a Cheerleader ..."

He continues with a hagiographic image of Mike Martz, gentle old soul, bathing fans in the luxury of his kindness and distributing the gift of his goodness to Bulger.

The previous day, if you recall, he gave us:

“It’s hardly customary in my business to publicly acknowledge and back-pat an organization, but from Billick down to his players, the Ravens deserve it. I see how they interact the public and it looks great to me.�

To update his sojourn to Missouri, all he had to do was erase "Billick" and "Ravens" and insert "Martz" and "Rams."