Friday, January 06, 2012

Doesn't Seem Fair

NFL players' contracts are not guaranteed. I understand this is because playing football beats the shit out of them, so nobody wants to promise them anything over the long term unless they are still able to play at the expected level. This is a great deal for the teams because they don't have the headaches that, say, MLB teams have when they want to dump a declining player but they are stuck paying him and/or negotiating for another team to take over some portion of his ridiculous salary. In the NFL, they can just cut the guy with no strings attached.

Anyway, if NFL players' contracts are not guaranteed, why are NFL front office contracts guaranteed? If an offensive lineman sucks, the Bears can cut him and they don't have to pay him. But if the guy who hired that lineman sucks, the team can't just fire the GM and keep his salary. For the next two years, the Bears have to pay Jerry Angelo to sit on the couch and laugh at how lousy the team he formed plays.

Don't get me wrong; I am definitely pro-labor. Ideally, NFL players wouldn't get discarded like meat scraps when they lose a step. It's a brutal sport and a brutal business, and I hope those guys have negotiated good pension benefits for their short, painful careers and whatever longer-term damage they incur. But given how players are treated, the NFL should handle the front office the same way. I'm sure that never came up in last summer's labor negotiations!

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