Contract Negotiation NFL Players NFL Teams

Sand Cassels Full Of Cash

When Matt Cassel signed with the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason, Dominic Perilli noticed that Cassel, a college backup to USC starting quarterback, Matt Leinart, will make more money on this contract than Leinart will make on his current contract, which has a length of one year more than Cassel’s contract.  To be fair to Leinart, he is still working on his rookie contract.  But then again, with the work that Leinart has done since entering the league, I am not sure that I want to see the structure of Leinart’s second deal (to be seen in the future).

Cassel’s 5-year deal for $63 million with $27.75 million guaranteed looks great on paper, but those numbers don’t do justice to the actual contract that was signed between Cassel and the Chiefs.  J.I. Halsell wants you to start looking at metrics other than potential total value of contracts and guaranteed money.  Here are a few:

  • Average Per Year (APY) – Take the total value of the contract and divide that number by the term of the agreement.  If it is a contract renegotiation or extension, subtract the money still to be earned on the former contract and divide by the term on the new contract (new years).
  • 3-Year Total (3YT) – The total amount of money that a player will receive if his contract is terminated 3-years into the term of the agreement.  As an agent, you want the contract to be front-loaded (a high 3-year total), because a lot of players never make it through the term of their agreements.  You can also re-negotiate the deal after three years if the player is performing at a high level and is due to make a small amount thereafter.  You then have the leverage!
  • Guarantee Per Year (GPY) – Take the guaranteed money and divide it by the term of the agreement.

Cassel’s APY = $10.5 million, 3YT = $30.5 million, and GPY = $4.625 million.  As Halsell points out, amongst his peers of small track record, NFL starting quarterbacks (Romo, Rodgers, Anderson), Cassel did very well for himself.

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.