The way revenue is structured in the NFL team owners collect the majority of the profits, while the players received a relative small percentage.
It is well known unlike the NBA and MLB, NFL players are not recipients of fully guaranteed contracts. That all changed back in March when the it was announced that the Minnesota Vikings signed quarterback Kirk Cousins to a three year deal that would be a fully-guaranteed contract. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Cousin full deal will pay him $84 million at a salary of $28 million per season. Jimmy Garoppolo received a five year deal from the San Francisco 49ers worth $137.5 million, $74.1 million guaranteed, and $27.5 million annually. While in Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers signed a four year extension worth 134 million dollar contract and a $100 million guaranteed. He will make $33.5 million annually.
Back in June I spoke to Terrell Owens about guaranteed contracts and the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement:
“We should use platforms to bring attention to things we want to achieve, guaranteed contracts, for instance. Not a lot of athletes will say it publicly, but they are aware that baseball and basketball players are making hundreds of millions of dollars in comparison to football players, where only maybe one or two positions are making that type of money. Really, just one of these positions makes that kind of money, the quarterback position. My question is, why does it just have to be the quarterback? Those players are not the only players that make up the game of football, and if there are players that want to put themselves into the situation where they are making quarterback money, they need to use their platforms as a collective and understand that they have power, just like these owners have power. The game cannot go on without the many other athletes on the field,” Owens told me.He added “Players have the leverage and do not need to wait two years for the collective bargaining agreement to expire to negotiate changes. They could act tomorrow if they wanted to for this upcoming season. Why wait two years? Just because the contract is scheduled to expire in two years does not mean they have to uphold it for two years. The collective bargaining agreement is just like a player’s contract.”
Current NFL players not at the quarterback position are starting to use their platforms to bring attention to some of the issues.
“I will never understand how billionaire team owners have convinced the public that the players, who put their bodies on the line every week and make less than 50% of league revenue, are the ‘ungrateful’ ones,” Los Angeles Chargers left tackle Russell Okung explained on his Twitter account. “Considering football’s level of brute, immanent physicality, high turnover as well as the short life cycle of its participants, it would seem to me that NFL players are in the most need of fully guaranteed contracts.”
Earlier this year Seattle Seahawks’ Free Safety Earl Thomas and Pittsburgh Steelers’ Running Back Le’Veon Bell decided to hold out from training due to both individuals not having long term deals with their respected football teams.
The Steelers placed the “Franchise Tag” on Le’Veon Bell which would pay him 14.5 million dollars this season. Last season Bell would touch the football 406 times for 1,291 yards, while averaging 21.4 yards per carry.
“I think it’s possible Le’Veon Bell sits out first half of the year if he doesn’t get a long term deal done,” said Adam Schefter on Sirius XM NFL with Ross Tucker. He would add “The goal at that point would be to hit 2019 free agency healthy, not rack up another 400 touches.”
“The goal at that point would be to hit 2019 free agency healthy, not rack up another 400 touches.”
— Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) July 16, 2018
Also earlier this year ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that the Steelers and Bell were not able to reach a long term deal before the 4 PM deadline on July 16th. Which mean that Bell would have to play underneath the 14.5 Million Franchise tag for Running Back. On the same day Bell’s agent told Adam Schefter “His intention was to retire as a Steeler. But now that there’s no deal, the practical reality is, this now likely will be Le’Veon’s last season as a Steeler.”
A deal between Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers is not expected to be reached by the 4 p.m. franchise tag deadline, according to a source. Bell set to play on the franchise tag for the second straight year barring unforeseen development.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) July 16, 2018
Via Le’Veon Bell’s agent Adisa Bakari: “His intention was to retire as a Steeler. But now that there’s no deal, the practical reality is, this now likely will be Le’Veon’s last season as a Steeler.”
More: “It became clear the Steelers wanted to pay the position, not the player.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 16, 2018
Bell has continued to hold out into the regular season and has already had to forfeit $3,408,000 during the first four weeks of the season as he is paid $852,000 per game. On Monday, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler Bell plans on reporting to the Steelers during their week seven bye week and playing against the Cleveland Browns. If Fowler’s report holds up Bell would have messed out on $5,112,000 of his salary from this season.
Le’Veon Bell expects to report to the Steelers during the Week 7 bye, a source told @ESPN. Bell definitely plans to play football for the Steelers this season.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) October 1, 2018
As for Seahawks’ Free Safety Earl Thomas he announced on September 5th that he would end his off-season holdout via an Instagram post.”I’ve never let [my] teammates, city or fans down as long as I’ve lived and don’t plan on starting this weekend,” Thomas wrote. “With that being said, the disrespect has been well noted and will not be forgotten.”
View this post on Instagram
I worked my whole life for this….. I’ve never let me teammates, city or fans down as long as I’ve lived and don’t plan on starting this weekend. With that being said, the disrespect has been well noted and will not be forgotten. Father Time may have an undefeated record but best believe I plan on taking him into triple overtime when it comes to my career.
Thomas would decide to play in all four of the Seahawks games thus far this season on the final year of his contract without a guarantee agreement that he would be returning to the team next season. This past Sunday Thomas and the Seahawks were playing Arizona Cardinals and Thomas suffered a lower leg fracture. While he was being carted off the field Thomas would give his own side line to one finger salute Obviously, showcasing his frustration from not knowing what the future may have in stored for the future Hall of Famer moving forward. After the news that Thomas would be out for the season several members in the football community include former teammates Richard Sherman and Cliff Avril. Steelers hold out Le’Veon Bell even chimed in on Instagram.
Praying for my brother @Earl_Thomas. Most will never know the hard work and sacrifice daily that goes into playing this game. He will bounce back better than ever that’s who he i.
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) October 1, 2018
Exactly why guys want extensions and be paid…
— Cliff Avril (@cliffavril) September 30, 2018
29 will be back & better than ever pic.twitter.com/lkOtTqlARR
— Ed Reed (@TwentyER) October 2, 2018
Praying for you @Earl_Thomas we risk it all for our teammates and our fans with little reciprocity. At the end of the day the Player shoulders all of the risk and the scrutiny. I wish the best for one of the best in this generation. ✊🏾 https://t.co/TmQkCSEIDf
— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) October 1, 2018
Le’Veon Bell weighs in on Earl Thomas’ injury. pic.twitter.com/LNl9XqLdX1
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 1, 2018