Contract Negotiation NFL Players NFL Teams

Restructuring Contracts For Less Guaranteed Money

Last week, a guy who used to be a key part of the Green Bay Packers offense took a pay cut with his current team, the Houston Texans.  The restructuring of Ahman Green’s contract made few papers and did not garner much discussion on the airwaves, and quite frankly, it is not something that most people care about.  I bring it up because most times people see the restructuring of such a contract as a stupid move by the player and often think that the agent was not doing his job.  Instead, I offer the opinion that in a case like Ahman Green’s, his agent made a very smart move by agreeing that his client drop guaranteed salary in favor of the chance to earn similar money through bonuses.

Ahman Green was due to make $3.8 guaranteed this season, which is a lot for a guy who was limited to only 260 yards rushing last year.  He was injured for much of the year, and if his agent, Joby Branion, is confident that Green is fully healed, then he should be able to meet the benchmarks that were set.  If he hits those marks, Green may earn more than his initial contract, before renegotiation, would have offered.  Additionally, by showing good will, restructuring the contract, and opening cap space for the Texans, they will feel less of a desire to cut Green in the case that he does not perform up to their intentions or once again suffers a season damaging injury.  No matter what, Green’s base salary goes back up to $4.8 million next year, which I am sure that the Texans will gladly pay if Ahman has a good year rushing the ball.

Sometimes agreeing to give up guaranteed money is not such a bad thing.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

3 replies on “Restructuring Contracts For Less Guaranteed Money”

totally agree it seems like a win-win situation, some players in the NFL actually care about giving their chance a team to win by freeing up a little cap space, doesn’t hurt that it could help the player out in the long run

I don’t like the move. If Ahman is healthy and confident in his abilities to have a solid season rushing the ball, then he probably doesn’t see much risk in restructuring the contract and taking less guaranteed money.

However, 2005 and 2007 were not good years for him, all due to injury. He is 31 years old, which by any means is NOT too old to be a great running back. But, after suffering injuries in 2 of his last 3 seasons, I think it would have been smarter to take the guaranteed money. Maybe he is being a little overconfident? We will see.

I would like to see the benchmarks and try to make some predictions.

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