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What is a contract anymore in the NFL?

Life in today’s NFL has certainly changed in the last five years in many ways. One of the biggest areas the game has changed isn’t necessarily on the field, but in the way contracts are built and structured.

Does anyone remember the uproar when Kirk Cousins signed a contract with roughly $50 million in guaranteed money built in it? Everyone thought this was absurd, even though Major League Baseball and the NBA have been having fully guaranteed contracts for years prior to the Cousins deal. Now you have Deshaun Watson signing a fully guaranteed contract, and even rookies getting their deals guaranteed as well, before playing a snap in the NFL.

The length and guaranteed money isn’t the only talking point when it comes to how things have changed from a contractual standpoint. Do players even honor these contracts anymore? Think about a player like Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs. He is under contract, and is paid roughly $20 million dollars per year. Now he isn’t showing up at training camp, hoping to get a contract which pays him $30 million a year.

Understanding there are players who have outplayed their current contracts isn’t lost in this equation, but the Chiefs have to seriously consider how they want to handle this Jones situation. How long will Jones stay away without a new deal? If the Chiefs pay him what he wants, who will be lost as a result?

But this is besides the main point…what is a contract anymore in the NFL?

Is it just a piece of paper with some numbers on it, which don’t really mean anything?

Is it a binding deal which both sides will uphold no matter what?

Or is it a situation where a player who might feel they deserve more can just do whatever they can/want?

That was the topic of the latest “Opinion or Fact” podcast where co-hosts Jeff Hartman and Wesley Coleman debate this situation and who is truly to blame. Take a listen in the player below, and be sure to chime in with your thoughts in the comment section!

Category: NFL

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