When NFL teams hands out contracts to free agents this month, guaranteed money is often the critical factor. Here, we try to explain what it means.
When a player is given a new deal in the NFL, monetary details are usually released a few days later.
As an example, let’s say a player signs with the New England Patriots on a five year deal worth $65 million, with $20m in guaranteed money.
While the $65m is total number in the contract, it is the guaranteed money that players are most interested in.
Unless you are lucky enough to be a superstar, the average length of an NFL career is just 3.5 years. So players fringe players need to try and earn as much money as possible in their time in the league.
The money that is guaranteed is yours, no questions asked, and no scenario that can occur for it to be taken away from you.
However, injuries can strike at any moment for an NFL player, and teams can cut you at any moment, which would mean all that money – if it wasn’t guaranteed – would remain with the franchise.
When reports are written of players ‘holding out’, it does not tend to be because the players are greedy (well, perhaps a little). It’s just to secure their long term future.
The mega-stars are just as susceptible to a career-ending knee injury as anyone else, and they want to make sure they don’t lose any money because of it.
When you hear a player say ‘it’s not about the money’ after signing a huge deal, it’s not usually strictly true.
Such a short career has everything to do with the money, and like in any job, if a player was offered more money elsewhere, they would leave their current franchise in an instant.