A friend of mine recently told me to connect with another young man doing it big in this industry. His name is J.I. Halsell, and has four years of experience working with NFL contracts. Halsell spent 2 seasons as the Salary Cap Analyst for the Washington Redskins after working for 2 years with the NFL’s labor relations department, the Management Council. He now has a blog called Inside The Cap, which looks like a good addition to my long list of RSS feeds.
His most recent piece discusses what happens when a draft pick has a season-ending injury before he ever signs a contract. Yesterday, I talked about what occurs if your client is not selected in the draft. Well lets say your undrafted client is signed as a UFA and heads to the team that signed him for the first week of Mini Camps. At that first session, he tears his ACL. He signed a contract, so he will get paid. However, what about a draft pick in Mini Camp who has not yet reached a deal with the team that selected him? Halsell notes that these players sign Injury Protection Letters before ever stepping into camp. After signing such a form, the team will negotiate with the player in good faith, as if no injury had ever occurred.
Halsell has faith in the teams employing good faith when negotiating these contracts. He uses examples to prove his points. At least you can rest assured that your drafted, injured, un-signed clients will be compensated their fair value. It still does not take away the pain of the injury or potentially lost future profits.