Is it Better to Place the NFL Holdout on Hold or Stick it Out?

The NFL’s mandatory training camps are approaching, and though players are required to attend, some teams will almost certainly face what is known as a holdout – when a player declines to attend compulsory activities, sometimes due to issues with his contract.

holdoutHowever, before a player decides to holdout, he should consider the consequences with his agent.

Holdouts come up each year as players, unhappy with their current contracts, consider whether to skip mandatory activities – and possibly even games – to force their teams to consider offering them better deals. The threat of missing their top players for important training activities is often enough for teams to kick-start discussions on a new deal. Other times, the players simply return to camp with nothing more than missed practice time and maybe a fine to show for it.

The holdout: Is it worth it or not?

Holdouts come down to essentially the same formula each time: A player who wants to be paid proportionally to his perceived performance, and a team that wants to save money in efficient deals and put in place safeguards should the individual fail on the field.

Before a player holds out, he should consider whether he is willing to pay the fines that he could face under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Not attending the mandatory three-day minicamp can end with a $69,455 fine under the agreements. These minicamps, which began recently, are an opportunity for players to really begin making a statement.

Costs of a holdout can get worse

Additionally, depending on a player’s contract, holding out could have costly contract ramifications. If the contract includes stipulations that the player should attend a certain number of training activities to earn a bonus, a holdout could cause him to lose out on that extra money.

Once training camp really gets going – toward the end of July – teams can hit players hard for holding out. Each missed day can cost $30,000. This is where players have to start thinking about whether or not a holdout is a good idea – is there a real possibility of getting a better deal, or will this just end with a pile of fines?

Before holding out, talk the idea through with other players who have done the same thing, or are considering it, as well as with an agent.

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Anthony R. Caruso is a business transactional attorney in New York and New Jersey with experience in structuring, negotiation and completion of legal deals involving business, entrepreneurs, athletes and performers.

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