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NFLPA could have gotten rid of funding rule, but didn’t

Mike Florio and Chris Simms discuss what aspects the Bengals, Steelers, Browns and Ravens can’t leave the 2022 NFL Draft without assessing.

The NFL Players Association often gets plenty of criticism from the media, in large part because agents complain to the media about the NFLPA and the media then passes those complaints along to a broader audience. Some agents are currently complaining about the recent article written by NFLPA president JC Tretter.

Tretter wants the five-year, fully-guaranteed Deshaun Watson contract to become a standard for players. Tretter clearly hopes agents will push for more contracts like that.

Agents, for their part, hope the NFLPA will get rid of the funding rule.

As one agent, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, explained it to PFT, the NFLPA could make dumping the funding rule one of the objectives of any/every collective bargaining session.

Yes, the funding rule is outdated. Adopted as a protection for players at a time when owners weren’t as solvent as they currently are, the requirement that guaranteed payments be funded in advance has become a semi-legitimate reason for teams to refuse to include significant future guarantees in deals.

Tretter calls the funding rule “an artificial barrier to guaranteed money.” It’s not artificial. It’s very real. As previously explained, the Browns will be required to put $169 million into escrow by March 31, 2023, due to the $230 million guaranteed payment to Deshaun Watson. Few owners will be willing to set aside that kind of cash. Sure, they can; but they won’t want to.

So if the union wants more players to have fully-guaranteed contract, the best way to get there would be to get rid of the funding rule, once and for all.