Guaranteed and non-guaranteed contracts have long been the hot debate around the NFL.
Kirk Cousins became the first player to secure a full-guaranteed contract this offseason when he signed with the Minnesota Vikings for $84 million. Rams’ running back Todd Gurley raised eyebrows recently when he proposed that the players themselves, should go on strike until it became mandatory that contracts become fully-guaranteed. With Khalil Mack still going through negotiations with the Oakland Raiders, he finds himself in a unique position.
As mentioned earlier, Cousins’ deal was huge because he is guaranteed to earn $84 million over the next three seasons. No other NFL player can say that. Most people might look at his deal, and hope it can lead to guaranteed-contracts for more players around the league. Quarterbacks have always been the most prized position in the league, and although Kirk’s deal was a huge breakthrough, there’s no reason to believe players in different positions will see guaranteed-contracts because of this. Except for one player.
Khalil Mack has a real chance to change the narrative. He holds all the leverage in his negotiations with the Raiders. Oakland is not going to let him sit-out any games during negotiations, because he is easily the most important part of their defense, and there’s no way it could succeed without him.
Khalil Mack should get a fully-guaranteed deal this summer.
Mack can help change the outlook of players’ contracts forever. The simple fact is, the players don’t have a leg to stand on. Every time this argument comes up, the owners win. It’s going to take the players going on strike for a year or two to change that, but will that even work? Are players willing to sacrifice their income? While the play on the field will be much worse, and fans will be unhappy, all the owners really care about is their revenue. They’ll still continue to make money when the players go on a strike, but the players won’t. The players have never been able to work together the way they would need to, and there’s no reason to think that will change.
One player who can really help change that is Mack. By receiving a guaranteed deal, he will empower other players. In negotiations, players can point to Mack as a non-quarterback who earned a fully-guaranteed deal. That would be a huge change and would make it a lot easier for the players.
All in all, this problem is never going to change unless players like Mack step up to the plate, and start to change it themselves. Mack is in a great position to start the movement, let’s see if he can do it.