Rookie holds: Deferred money and offset language
As the Bears enter training camp, a large looming issue now thankfully lies behind newly drafted quarterback Mitchell Trubisky – what could have been a contractual mess.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Trubisky signed a four-year contract worth $29 million fully guaranteed, as well as a $19.25 million signing bonus.
Under the 2011 NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, there now exists a rookie wage scale. That is, all players selected at a certain spot are fixed at a certain numerical rate. Moreover, contract length is fixed within the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement as it requires an unalterable length for rookies selected in the first round of a draft. That is, all first round picks are subject to a four-year contract. Though, the agreement enables for a club option for a fifth season.
Like most salaries, the rookie contract enables for a traditional signing bonus, workout bonuses, performance incentives and of course deferred payments. Yet, the Collective Bargaining does not allow rookies to negotiate for option bonuses, opinion exercise fees or contracts within a contract.
The tension and argument with Trubisky and all rookies and teams is not about the money.
Rather, issues arise when it comes to deferred money as agents insist their camp receives the signing bonus as soon as possible. Teams tend to shy away from paying the signing bonus right away in the case an issue were to arise with the player. In that case, the team would have more leverage withholding payment.
Secondly, another significant issue that typically arises within rookie negotiations are offsets. Considering most first round picks receive nearly fully guaranteed contracts, teams attempt to backfire this by including offsets within contracts.
That is, say a team was to release a player during his rookie contract and another team signed the said player, the original team could withhold some of the owed guaranteed money.
With all that contractual garble, it’s safe to say Trubisky was not being selfish. Rather, his agent along with the Bears, were trying to protect their own vested interests.