The NFL, Concussions And Incentivized Contracts

Colin Cowherd brought up a great point during lunch today and I thought it was an interesting take on the NFL, concussions, and contract structures.

In recent days, Tom Brady’s perfect 10 wife, Giselle, was interviewed on CBS commenting about Brady regularly playing through or with concussions…


And naturally this was very bad for the NFL. It’s never good when the famous wife of your most profile player speaks up negatively about the most damning issue the NFL has ever faced.

Gisele said the following – “You know, I just have to say as a wife, I’m a little bit, its, as you know, it’s not the most like, let’s say, un-aggressive sport, right?” Bündchen told Rose. “Football, like he had a concussion last year, I mean he has concussions pretty much every–you know, we don’t talk about it but he does have concussions. I don’t really think it’s a healthy thing for your body to go through like, through that kind of aggression like, all the time–that cannot be healthy for you, right? I mean I’m planning on having him be healthy and do a lot of fun things when we’re like 100, I hope.”

The issue – Brady hasn’t been listed on an injury report with a concussion since 2003, so naturally people can only assume he’s not self reporting his concussions. As is likely the case with many players throughout the NFL.

So what does this have to do with incentivized contracts? Everything. In staying with the Patriots theme, Tight End Rob Gronkowski recently restructured his contract, which is incentivized laden. Especially based on playing time.

  • If Gronk reaches 1st tier either 90% playing time, 80 catches, 1,200 receiving yards or an All-Pro performance he receives $10.75 million.
  • The 2nd tier the numbers are 80% playing time, 70 catches, 1,000 receiving yards or 12 touchdowns for $8.75 million.
  • The 3rd tier is either 70% playing time, 60 catches, 800 receiving yards or 10 touchdowns for $6.75 million.

So you see, if Gronk wants paid, Gronk must play. Who wouldn’t hide a headache for a chance at $4,000,000 difference between 1st tier and 3rd tier? These contracts are designed based on performance, which is fair in most professions (EX: Sales) but hurtful for the NFL, which is trying to clear the air about player safety.

Just as teachers aren’t paid based on students performance (Teachers would give all students better grades than they deserve if that were the case) if the NFL wants players to come forward, these types of contracts might have to go. If they don’t, guys will do anything they can to be out there.

I for one would never come off the field if I was 3 catches short of tier 1 in week 16 of the season. Even if my head was barely attached.



Comments are closed.

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: