Sports | March 20, 2020 6:30 am

Report: NFL Teams Putting Coronavirus Clauses in Contracts

A failed physical could result in the forfeiture of millions in signing bonus cash

Report: NFL Teams Putting Coronavirus Clauses in Contracts
View of the goal post with the NFL logo. (Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire via Getty)
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Though it didn’t impact the start of free agency or the signing of contracts in the NFL, the coronavirus pandemic may prevent some of those free-agent deals from being worth as much as they should be.

League sources told ESPN that some NFL teams are placing coronavirus-related provisions in their contracts that state a failed physical will result in the forfeiture of signing-bonus money. Per league policy in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, players and team personnel have not been able to travel, and many physicals may not be conducted until months from now.

For players who are counting on bonus money, the coronavirus clause sounds like it could be pretty damaging financially. ESPN reports: “If a player signs a three-year, $30-million contract with a $10 million signing bonus this week, for example, but fails a physical in June, he could lose the $10 million and be bound to a three-year, $20-million deal, potentially.”

Now, while it’s hard to believe the NFLPA would sign off on players losing millions of dollars months after signing a contract, it’s unclear exactly how this sort of provision would be handled because it is basically unprecedented.

Interestingly, a matter of a physical is reportedly what has been holding up the Tampa Bay Buccanneers and Tom Brady from making their deal official. It’s a Hail Mary, but perhaps there’s a chance the 42-year-old will be diagnosed with coronavirus and the deal with Tampa will be off. Of course, the Bucs might still want to sign Brady even if he does test positive.

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