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Why Do Rookie Contracts Take So Long?

July 14, 2010

Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press Gazette recently traded emails with former Packers’ executive, Andrew Brandt. The topic of the emails was rookie contracts. When Copeland asked Brandt why almost no first- or second-round draft choices have signed contracts yet, Brandt gave the typical response:

With only one deal in the second round completed and none in the first, it is difficult to jump in the water without a market being set for these picks.

However, Brandt went on to reveal the delicacy of dealing with the uncertain future of football in 2011 as well as the intricacies of an NFL contract:

Normally, the bulk of the bonus for first-round deals is paid in March of the second year, but with a potential lockout during that time, it will be interesting to see how these deals are structured.

Obviously, the bonus is most important in these deals, as it is the only guaranteed money. However, other parts of the deal work to allocate risk, such as incentives, escalators and injury protection.  Those parts may take considerably longer than the actual front side of the deal, i.e., the money involved.

All in all, it sounds like we should keep a close eye on this year’s rookie contracts; the details could foreshadow whether or not we’ll be watching live football in 2011.

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