Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bob Ryan is unhappy that Deion Branch invoked "I've got to feed my family"

I disagree with Ryan (registration required), and wished that he and Dan Shaughnessy--Mr Benedict "Curse of the Bambino" Arnold--learned some class from this great sportswriter, who was their colleague for many years.

Yes, Deion would have made $1.5 mil this year, which is a ton of money for 99% of us who live in this wealthy land. But what if he sustained a career ending injury this year, which can happen in practice or the preaseason, never mind a game? He would be released, and end up doing what?

By locking in a guaranteed signing bonus (I don't know what it is right now, but guess it's at least $5 mil), even if he sustains same injury and is released, he can send his 3 kids to college and have a modest sized retirement egg. In the meantime, Bob Ryan will be celebrating his 40th anniversary with the Boston Globe in 2008. Which is about 10 times the career span of an NFL wide receiver.

UPDATE: Michael Felger (who is not the most popular journalist in the Patriot locker room) has a fairer assessment (registration required):

The most recent collective bargaining agreement banned five-year deals for second-round picks and lower, so the Pats could no longer employ the tactic even if they wanted. Unfortunately, that was too late for Branch, who has been hammered by fans for not honoring his contract. The reality is that Branch was going to be forced to hold out either as a rookie or as a fifth-year veteran. Tight end Benjamin Watson, who signed a six-year contract as the last pick of the first round in 2004, may end up doing both.
The only other option available to Branch (or any rookie) was to do what third-round pick Guss Scott did in 2004. Scott opted for a little-used provision in the CBA that allows rookies to sign a series of one-year, minimum-level tenders with no signing bonus. The hope is to play well and hit restricted free agency after Year 3, or at least use that leverage to get a suitable long-term deal from the club beforehand.

How’d that work out for Scott? He tore his left ACL in his rookie preseason and his right ACL early in his second year. He’s now out of the league. He never got paid. In hindsight, Branch and his agent played their situation well.

UPDATE: Deion is getting $13 million in guarantees from Seattle, the Boston Herald reports. If I am one of Deion's boys or his wife, I am celebrating. What if he were Bob Ryan's dad? Would Ryan say, "aww Pop, you gotta honor that contract"? If Deion did, I would actually find that honorable, but I say a man who puts his family ahead of his own honor, that's a man I could respect.

UPDATE: Only $7 million is an upfront signing bonus, with the $6 million being an option bonus in 2007

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