Thread: Injured Rookies Still Get Paid.
06-29-2006, 02:15 PM #1Prophet Guest
Injured Rookies Still Get Paid.
POSTED 10:41 p.m. EDT; UPDATED 11:36 p.m. EDT, June 28, 2006
INJURED ROOKIES STILL GET PAID
Our pals at PewterReport.com were the first to report that Bucs rookie tight end T.J. Williams popped an Achilles tendon during a minicamp practice on June 22, and he likely will miss the entire 2006 season.
The injury has prompted several readers to ask us whether Williams will still be paid in 2006, even though he had not yet signed a contract with the team.
The simple answer is yes. The more complex question is the amount of money that Williams will receive.
Here's how it all works. Unsigned rookies sign injury protection letters prior to engaging in offseason workouts. But the contents of the letter are often a matter of negotiation.
Typically, the team promises to pay the player a signing bonus based upon the amount received by the guy taken in the same spot in the prior year's draft. The question of whether that means the same round and selection or the same overall spot (due to compensatory picks) is also subject to bargaining between team and player.
The agents need to be sharp in this regard. Generally speaking, it's better to base the bonus on the spot in the round if there are more compensatory picks in front of the player in the current draft than there were in the prior year's draft. But another factor that will influence the final decision is the quality of the deal that the player taken in that specific spot received in the prior year. Sometimes, a player's hands are tied by a crappy deal done in the corresponding spot in the prior year.
Other issues for discussion include the length of the deal in the event of a season-ending injury. Sometimes, teams will convert a three-year deal to a four-year deal in the event that the player's rookie season is wiped out.
Similarly, teams will at times insist that a player who has not received a credited season due to injury will be paid at the rookie minimum in year two.
Sometimes, players balk at the notion of signing an injury protection letter. Although the guy gets a signing bonus, the fact that it's based on the prior year's contracts makes the bonus amount lower.
In 2005, for example, Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman refused to participate in offseason workouts due to the contents of the team's standard injury protection language. The team refused to deviate, so Merriman refused to participate.
In this case, Williams will still get paid notwithstanding his injury. The specific amount he'll get depends on the outcome of the dickering that was done between his agent and the team before the injury protection letter was signed.
06-29-2006, 02:25 PM #2
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