NFL

NFLPA accuses NFL of collusion in absence of guaranteed player contracts

Cincinnati Bengals v Washington Football Team
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The NFL Players Association recently filed a claim alleging that clubs and the NFL have colluded to prevent teams from offering fully guaranteed contracts to players. 

The NFLPA alleges that league owners and/or executives discussed not agreeing to any further player contracts with fully guaranteed salaries before, during and after the owners meeting held in Minneapolis on Aug. 9, according to a memo obtained by The Athletic. The NFLPA has asked the arbitrator to award damages and to permit “certain quarterbacks who have been adversely affected by the collusive agreement to terminate their current player contracts.” 

The collusion claim comes shortly after the Browns signed quarterback Deshaun Watson to a fully guaranteed, $230 million contract despite Watson recently being accused by more than two dozen women of sexual misconduct during massage sessions. Watson is nearing the end of his 11-game suspension that was part of a settlement with the league and the NFLPA. 

In late March, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti put his name on a sentiment that many league executives reportedly feel as it relates to Watson’s record-setting contract. 

“It’s like, ‘damn, I wish they hadn’t guaranteed the whole contract,'” Bisciotti said at the time. “I don’t know that he should’ve been the first guy to get a fully guaranteed contract. 

“To me, that’s something that is groundbreaking, and it’ll make negotiations harder with others. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to play that game, you know? We shall see.”

Bisciotti’s comments follow Jason La Canfora’s previous report detailing the ripple effects of Watson’s contract within NFL circles. La Canfora reported in the spring that the rest of the NFL is not happy with the precedent the Browns may have set with the contract as it relates to the quarterback market moving forward. 

Speaking of Bisciotti, his team is currently dealing with arguably the league’s biggest contract situation. Ravens quarterback and league MVP Lamar Jackson is set to be a free agent this offseason after no agreement was reached on a long-term deal before the start of the season. Jackson, who is playing this season under the team’s fifth-year option, has led the Ravens to a 7-3 start and into first place in the AFC North division standings. 



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