The Importance of Escalators
Not only are they a lot more fun than elevators, but making sure that you earn your client fair escalators in an NFL contract may make a difference in whether he gets paid any given year. With the high incidence of injury in professional football and no such thing as a guaranteed contract, agents have the tough job of trying to squeeze out as much close-to-guaranteed money as possible for their clients.
Enter Tom Condon and Ken Kremer of CAA and their cleint, 10th overall selection, Matt Leinart. Leinart was getting a lot of bad publicity for holding out from training camp and being the final draftee to sign a contract. As I have discussed before, the media often unfairly takes the side of the football team instead of the football player. I believe that Leinart was telling the truth when stating that he wanted to be in camp all along…he was just protecting himself [Last man home: Leinart, Cards agree to six-year deal].
So what was it that stalled the contract negotiations for so long? Escalators. Escalators are basically minimum standards that must be achieved for incentives to be awarded. Leinart’s contract provides incentives similar to the one Byron Leftwich signed in 2003: if he participates in 55% or more of the offensive snaps for 2 seasons or 70% or more of the snaps in one season.
ESPN reports that Arizona wanted Leinart to sign a deal that would have granted him absolutely no escalators if he would have played every snap in his first 3 seasons and then not played in his fourth year due to injury. The media did not sensationalize this fact, however. Readers and television watchers would much rather rip on the players and agents.
Before NFL head coaches start blasting their draft picks in the media, maybe they should try sitting in the General Manager or client’s agent’s position for a day and see if they can do any better [Green unhappy with Leinart holdout]. A more than generous offer, Denny? ESPN notes that your team’s proposal included escalator thresholds that would have been the most difficult to reach for any quartback chosenin the top 10 since 1993.
As many have said, it is over now, and Leinart can look forward to sitting on the bench for a while. The importance of the contract’s structure will become evident once Leinart takes control of the team.
[tags]leinart, matt leinart, dennis green, tom condon, caa, escalators, nfl, football, cardinals, arizona cardinals[/tags]