Have you ever noticed the way that the players are always the ones being attacked in contract disputes by their own fan bases, it is rarely the team that feels the brunt of the fan's disgust. Most of the time the fans attack the "selfish" and "greedy" players for attempting to extort the most money they can for their services, it is rarely the GM's and owners that are receiving the backlash in contract negotiations.
Such is the case in Denver right now regarding Von Miller's negotiations for a contract extension, but he is far from the only player that experiences this phenomenon. It could be built in jealousy from a fan that sees a player turn down a $100M while the fan is barely making ends meet, or it could also be a bias connection to the team that needs the best deal they can get from their star in order for the salary cap to not be doomed moving forward.
One sports agent thinks that it is actually a fundamental misunderstanding of how contracts work in the NFL, that the fans simply concentrate too much on the overall dollar amount on the contract over the guaranteed money of the contract. This is certainly the case for some fans who don't realize there is a difference between the fully guaranteed contracts from the NBA and MLB compared to the partially guaranteed deals from the NFL, though it seems to underestimate the other possible reasonings stated above.
Sports Agent David Mulugheta of Athletes First has written an open letter to NBC's Pro Football Talk who decided to publish the letter in full, though with some slight editing which they note at the top of the article. In it he discusses the reasoning behind players holding out for more guaranteed money and why it frustrates him that fans often attack the player instead of the team.
"In short, fully guaranteed contracts ensure that the player would receive the full amount of his contract, regardless of whether he becomes injured or waived early by the team. However, NFL players don't have the luxury of signing these fully guaranteed contracts (although not prohibited by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, there are a number of reasons for this; it happens primarily because teams and owners are against them). Rather, upon executing a five-year, $100 million contract, an NFL player can be released for any reason and barred from receiving the remainder of his contract."
Although Mr. Mulugheta severely underestimates the average fan's reasoning behind their begrudging the player over the team, he is not wrong that some people do not consider the implications of less guaranteed money for the player. Many players have contracts that look huge that are inflated by money that will never be paid to them because the teams set the contracts up to part ways before the money is actually paid.
He does end the letter with an absolutely perfectly placed line though:
"You've never sided with Goliath over David in the past, so why start now?"
"Open letter" from NFL agent to NFL fans | ProFootballTalk
[Editor's note: From time to time, agents and other NFL insiders submit columns to PFT for potential posting. Sometimes we post it, sometimes we don't.
Dear Von - stop talking, start negotiating ... and get back to playing - Mile High Report
Now you've done it, Von. You've made me write you a letter. Maybe this letter will be the last contract drama reports we'll have for a while.
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