Phil Grossfield's Blog


NFL Contracts Null & Void

kamNFL Contracts – Kam Chancellor.   Kam Chancellor of the should-be Superbowl Champion Seattle Seahawks, who signed a contract extension for $28 million was unsatisfied.  In fact, Chancellor, who is considered one of the best (if not the best) strong safeties in the NFL was so unsatisfied that he refused to suit up for the first two games of the NFL season.  That decision cost him over $535,000 in salary and it cost the Seahawks two losses to begin the season.

After my post last week where I called out the NFL for charging the military to honor them, this debate saw its way to my inbox:  (1) from an ethics perspective, should Chancellor renegotiate his contract? and (2) should the NFL allow him to renegotiate his contract?  One buddy of mine argued that Kam signed a contract and therefore he should honor it, after all, nobody held a gun to his head when he agreed to get paid almost $30 million for playing the game.  I suppose most people would argue similarly, including me if I weren’t a damn lawyer.

I see it like this…it’s the NFL’s fault.  They allow players to renegotiate their contracts and in doing so they set a precedent. If the NFL is going to allow some NFL players to restructure their contracts, then they have to make it available to all the players.  Knowing that other players have been successful in renegotiating their contracts, why shouldn’t Kam give it shot as well?  So, from an ethics point of view, I don’t think it’s fair to judge Kam…he’s just doing what others have done before him, and successfully at that.

contractOn the other hand, I feel the NFL has wrongly opened the door to renegotiation.  If  the consensus is that players should have to honor the contract they signed in good faith, then the NFL should simply disallow any renegotiation…period…no exceptions.  One of my readers suggested there should be a clause in all NFL players’ contracts that if they fail to suit up, and in doing so are deemed in violation of their contract, that their contract be null and void with no further compensation.  I think that’s a fine idea except it would probably be used as a tactic rather than accepted as a punishment.  So, I will add this…if the contract is deemed null and void with no more compensation, then the player should also be unable to sign another contract with any NFL team for 24 consecutive regular season games, including any playoff games that fall in-between.  That ought to do it, eh?  Your thoughts?

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