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Commanders’ free-agent contracts could hint at Dan Snyder’s planned sale date

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The most frequently asked question today about a potential Washington Commanders sale is when, not if. Details of the player contract the team recently signed may provide an answer.

Across all 32 NFL teams, it has been common practice to pay out at least a portion of their large contract bonuses within 15 to 30 days of the transaction date. In this cycle, the commander extended the payment date by two months, according to multiple sources who have seen the contract executed.

that date? According to people who saw another of his agent contracts, which the defensive tackle Darron Payne recently signed with, on May 12, 2023. People involved in or familiar with NFL contracts and others who , athletic This anomalous aspect makes sense in conjunction with owner Dan Snyder’s anticipated sell-by date for the franchise.

May 12 comes two months after Payne, Washington’s 2022 sack leader, signed a four-year, $90 million contract with a $28 million signing bonus. Not only is this delayed timeline different from the industry standard, it has been used in previous extensions for wide receiver Terry McLoughlin (2022), defensive tackle Jonathan Allen (2021) and former Washington offensive tackle Trent Williams (2016). It is significantly longer than the previous payment structure. .


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these people who spoke athleticAnonymous was granted for their candor and insight, including former Washington front office employees familiar with the team’s historic approach to contracts.

“It appears they deliberately delayed the first installment of the contract bonus compared to the precedent of previous contracts,” said a former front-office employee. The odds are very high … I think the payment date is pretty straightforward.”

Another person who reviewed Payne’s contract said, “That’s the norm, isn’t it?”

It has long been thought that the NFL Owners’ Meeting in Phoenix, March 26-29, could be the first time news of a tangible sale has occurred on the league’s calendar. Snyder’s control of the franchise he co-owns with Snyder will be a major topic.

Without a sale, other owners could decide to fire Snyder, based on information from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, if 24 of the 31 owners voted in favor. “It could potentially happen,” Colts owner Jim Irsay told reporters at a conference in October.

On November 2, the Snyders announced they were hiring Bank of America Securities to “review potential transactions.”

The same May 12 bonus payout date is also included in the one-year deal signed by free-agent quarterback Jacoby Brissett on Wednesday, according to a person who saw the executed contract.Brissett’s 800 The $4.5 million guarantee includes a $4.5 million signing bonus.

Since 2020, Dan Snyder has been the subject of several investigations and news reports regarding possible sexual harassment and financial improprieties within the organization. includes an ongoing 13-month investigation into Snyder’s behavior by Joe White. is believed to be the driving force.


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The NFL approved $450 million in debt relief in March 2021, and Snyder purchased 40.5% of the franchise owned by its three minority partners for $875 million. ESPN reported last month that federal prosecutors were investigating Snyder and his commander for bank fraud after Snyder’s former partner alleged he withdrew his $55 million line of credit without authorization. .

The sale of the historic NFL franchise is expected to surpass last year’s $4.65 billion acquisition of the Denver Broncos, a record price paid for a North American sports franchise.

Snyder’s financial considerations and the possibility of a looming sale have led to speculation as to whether the owners will approve a deal with a large upfront payment during this transaction period. Washington signed Payne and several outside free agents this week, but any delay in bonus payments will be the responsibility of the team’s owners if the sale is made before May 12.

The number of NFL contract bonus installments can vary between “cash-rich” and “cash-short” teams, but is generally within 15-30 days after the contract becomes official. is done on Payne’s $28 million bonus will be paid out in his three installments. May 12th he is $7 million, September 15th he is $9 million, April 1st 2024 he is $12 million.

athletic We have reviewed the payout calendar structure portion of the McLaurin, Allen and Williams contracts. It also shows that the payouts were spread out over time, but all were within a standard timeline.

Williams, a seven-time Pro Bowl selection in Washington in the 2010s and now a star of the 49ers, signed a five-year, $66 million contract extension in 2015 that included an $8.5 million signing bonus. The contract stated that $6.25 million would be paid “within 15 days” (after execution and approval by the NFL Executive Council).

Allen, Payne’s internal tag team partner on Washington’s defensive line, signed for four years and $72 million (a $30 million signing bonus) hours before the team began training camp in July 2021. bottom. 1 day counting from the contract conclusion date. The rest of his $15 million was due to be paid out the following April.

McLoughlin signed a three-year, $68.2 million contract extension last July. The contract states that his first eight-figure payment “will be paid by him within 28 days of the conclusion of the contract.” His four additional installments of varying amounts, including another of his eight-figure payments in April this year, will end on April 1, 2024.

Multiple potential bidders are exploring the possibility of buying the franchise, including a group led by Josh Harris, owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils. Mann and Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has also expressed interest.

The wild card is Jeff Bezos. The Amazon founder has been working with investment bank Allen & Co. as he ponders his interests despite being barred from the bidding process.

(Photo by Dan Snyder: Mark Goldman / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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