Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

18 Aug 2005

Carries for Clarett Turn to Equipment

A few weeks ago I mentioned that Maurice Clarett signed an incentive-laden contract that didn't include a signing bonus. Which means no guaranteed money. Well, Clarett has missed nearly two weeks of practice due to a groin injury, has fallen to fifth on the depth chart, and is in real danger of getting cut. Not only that, but there have been grumblings from both players and coaches who believe Clarett is dogging it, incredulous that he's not starting, and unhappy with his contract. The first thing Clarett might want to do is start practicing and try to make the team. The very next thing he should do is look for a new agent.

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 18 Aug 2005

13 comments, Last at 19 Aug 2005, 12:52pm by Will Allen


by Ray (not verified) :: Thu, 08/18/2005 - 10:54am

If he is dogging it, then the Broncos did the right thing with his contract. If he can't be motivated to practice hard when he gets NO money if he doesn't make the team, then what would he do if he DID get guaranteed money? What other motivation does he need?

by Dman (not verified) :: Thu, 08/18/2005 - 11:32am

wow. I really thought he had learned his lesson. Guess not.

by MDS (not verified) :: Thu, 08/18/2005 - 11:44am

It's my understanding that if he's cut, he actually goes through waivers, so any team can pick him up under his current deal. Which means that he won't become a free agent and get that signing bonus.

by Mike (not verified) :: Thu, 08/18/2005 - 11:52am


What's the difference between getting cut and becoming a free agent, and being cut and having to go through waivers where anyone can pick you up under your current contract? When does one happen vs the other? I wasn't aware that picking someone up on waivers meant that someone had to play under their old contract--that kind of sucks for the player. Some players might have agreed to a contract that's not favorable because they like a particular team. I guess that makes it real important to have a good agent!

by C (not verified) :: Thu, 08/18/2005 - 12:06pm

Wow. This kid just can't do anything right. Blows his college career, loses a law suit agains the NFL, signs one of the stupidest, if not THE stupidest contracts in recent memory, and now he's not trying hard to make the team. Just WOW!

by James, London (not verified) :: Thu, 08/18/2005 - 12:17pm

It must be fun on 'Planet Clarett'. If the Broncos cut him, will anyone pick him up? Maybe the Jags sign him, but he must have a real chance of clearing the waiver wire.

by Mike (not verified) :: Thu, 08/18/2005 - 12:33pm

I heard a rumor that the Patriots, of all people, were interested in Clarett if he slipped low enough (which he did not), though that might have just been smoke and mirrors on the part of Bellichek and Pioli. But behind Corey Dillon and their 3rd down back Kevin Faulk, they really only have one "every down" backup back--Cedric Cobbs--who was a rookie last year who didn't really play at all. If he doesn't work out in training camp this year, I could see the Pats picking up Clarett (or whichever of Denver's stable of RB's that does not make the team) as insurance in case Dillon goes down.

by Theo (not verified) :: Thu, 08/18/2005 - 12:53pm

I heard a rumor that the Patriots, of all people, were interested in Clarett if he slipped low enough

Belichik and Pioli laugh their asses off right now.

by Adam H (not verified) :: Thu, 08/18/2005 - 3:19pm

Does Clarett have an albatross around his neck or what? This offseasons foolishness should be the final straw for Shanahan. The honeymoon has to be over. He lost his last shreds of credibility with me when they got punished for fudging the cap during thier Superbowl years. Two years of absolutely melting down in the first round followed by actively putting together a roster of underachievers and has beens has to be enough.

by Derek (not verified) :: Thu, 08/18/2005 - 3:36pm

More evidence for the questionable professional track record of Big Ten backs?

We'll see if Chris Perry can buck the trend I guess...

by SLB1 (not verified) :: Thu, 08/18/2005 - 6:27pm

RE: 3 & 4

Since Clarett has not completed his 4th year in the League, I think that MDS is correct. The determination as to whether a club that picks up a player off waivers and NOT award the contract is based upon whether the player has more than 4 years in the League. If the player has more than 4 years in, and is cut, then he can declare himself an UFA. Otherwise, he is stuck with the contract unless he goes somewhere else, runs wild, and gets a new deal.

This is spelled out in legal-ese in the NFL CBA at the following link:


by elway (not verified) :: Thu, 08/18/2005 - 9:01pm

"followed by actively putting together a roster of underachievers and has beens has to be enough."

Hey, the season hasn't even started. Why not see how it plays out before assuming he made bad moves this offseason. If you get a bunch of underachievers, they have nowhere to go but up, right? Especially when you surround them with a much stronger supporting cast. And it's not like they're paying these underachievers or these has beens monster bucks.

Not like any of it matters anyway, because Shanahan has the lob as long as he wants it. So says Bowlen. And really, why shouldn't he? He's had just one sub .500 season in his ten seasons with Denver and he's made the playoffs six times. That's not too shabby.

As for Clarett, give the guy a break. He's been injured (or hurt), okay?

He's at camp. He signed. Yes, the contract is bad for him, but it's great for the team. And he got hurt. Now let's wait and see what happens.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 08/19/2005 - 12:52pm

Yet more evidence that it is extremely rare that somebody can competently handle the head coach and personnel role simulteaneously. On the other hand, if Denver can take the Cleveland Browns' defensive line, and turn them in to an upper-rank unit, that'll be a helluva accomplishment. I'd be surprised if that happens, however.