Last month, Shutdown Corner reported that San Francisco 49ers cornerback Tarell Brown had voided a $2 million base salary escalator in his contract after skipping the team's offseason workout program.
Clauses like the one in Brown's contract are not rare. The Dallas Cowboys, for example, include six-figure base salary "de-escalator" clauses tied to participation in their contracts. The 49ers have included similar language in recent contract extensions for NaVorro Bowman and Anthony Davis, as well. Some players have similar language included in their rookie contracts.
Two players that had "de-escalator" language in their rookie contracts were New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, both of whom skipped their team's offseason workout programs.
Hardy is entering the fourth and final season of a four-year rookie contract from 2010 that was originally worth $1.906 million. The 2011 collective bargaining agreement added $95,000 to his 2011 and 2012 base salaries and Hardy's playing-time in those two seasons increased his 2013 base salary from the league minimum ($630,000) to $1.35 million.
However, Hardy's contract includes language that would reduce any base salary escalation he earned by $50,000 for each year where he did not participate in 90 percent of the offseason workout program. Hardy's base salary is now $1.25 million, a $100,000 reduction that shows that the 2010 sixth-round pick out of Mississippi did not participate in at least 90 percent of the workout programs in both the 2012 and 2013 offseasons.
Hardy is represented by Drew Rosenhaus, who did not negotiate his client's current rookie contract. That deal was negotiated by Hardy's original agent, Ian Greengross.
Nicks, who is entering the final season of his five-year rookie contract, skipped the Giants' offseason workout program out of concern he'd suffer an injury, a justifiable concern after fracturing his foot during the 2012 workouts. Nicks' playing-time and production from 2009-12 added $1.8 million to his 2013 salary, which was scheduled to be $2.725 million. By not participating in 90 percent of the team's offseason workout program this offseason, however, Nicks' 2013 salary has been reduced by $50,000 and now stands at $2.675 million.
Considering that Nicks is playing for an extension that will pay him like a legitimate No. 1 receiver ($9 million or more per season, $25 million or more in guaranteed money), losing $50,000 in base salary escalation is likely not a big deal. That was money Nicks had not yet earned and he may not even notice, or care, that his weekly game checks this season are about $3,000 lower than what they would have been had he participated in the offseason workout program.
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