Sports contracts are often reported by the media in very simple terms. A player got X amount of money to join the team for X amount of years. People will then do the simple math to figure out how much that player is making every year, on average.
But the reality is that these contracts are often far more complex than what the average fan is permitted to perceive. For one thing, payments are not always structured evenly, so players are not necessarily making the yearly totals that fans expect. They may get a bulk of the money up front or have a back-loaded contract that pays the more near the end. It all depends on the specific situation. These are some of the more common clauses that are integrated into sports contracts.
No trade clause
For one thing, some athletes will ask for a no-trade clause. This does not mean that they cannot be traded. It just means they have veto power. If the club wants to trade them, they have to approve it. If they don’t approve it, then they can’t be traded. This gives them far more control over their future and where they play.
Contracts will also often include language guaranteeing specific amounts of money in case of injury. Athletes are well aware that a single injury could end their career. They, therefore, want some protection in their contract in the event of an injury that could cost them their livelihood.
Finally, many athletes will seek out incentive clauses that pay them more money if they hit certain goals. For example, a football player may have an incentive that he can reach if he rushes for 1,000 yards in a single season. Maybe he would be paid $2 million for the year regardless of how many yards he gains, but he would get another $1 million bonus if he can hit that benchmark. This is just one example, but this general logic could be applied to many statistical categories across all sports.
These are just a few of the clauses that may be useful in sports contracts. They help to show why it’s so important to seek legal guidance before signing any wage-related paperwork that is legally binding.