As of today six first-round NFL rookie picks are still unsigned, reflecting the increasing caution with which players and agents now approach carefully worded and arguably unfair contracts, suggests Dan Graziano of ESPN. Payment structures and the phrasing of deals gives football teams an unprecedented amount of leverage over players. Fines that can be arbitrarily enforced threaten players with the loss of a significant chunk of their salary. To balance this out, rookies have taken to simply holding out on signing to remove some of the punishing clauses in their contracts. Ultimately, they need to protect their own interests.
It is unlikely that NFL contract signings will be drawn out thanks to rules and regulations that dictate the payment method and amount of salaries, argues Joel Corry of CBS Sport. Thanks to the 2011 collective bargaining agreement teams can’t be held for ransom by players making outrageous demands. Little is up for negotiation so that salaries are more or less set, which also protects players from getting bad deals. Joey Bosa waiting until August to sign with the Chargers didn’t affect offsets he’d need to pay them if he were to sign for another team. The NFL has created an equal playing field for contract negotiations.