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3 Weird NFL Contract Stipulations

November 4, 2014

We already gave you some weird sports contract quirks. Here are some from pro football.

Weird NFL ContractsBench pressed

Akili Smith was the starting quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2000. He earned $275,000, but it would’ve jump to a whopping $4 million if he threw for more 1,600 yards. He threw an impressive 1,253 in ten games and was certainly on track to reach his milestone. But then in the 11th game of the season, he was benched. Did the Bengals do it on purpose, to save $3 million?

Young and rich

Quarterback Steve Young was a top NFL prospect in 1984…but he signed with the upstart USFL instead. The Los Angeles Express offered him a lucrative $40 million, ten-year contract, even though they had nowhere near enough cash on hand to pay him that much. Young agreed to accept $34.5 million of the contract as an annuity. So even though the USFL folded in 1986, Young will continue to collect a $3.17 million check each year until 2027.

Barry unmotivated

Barry Sanders is one of the best running backs to ever play in the NFL. He apparently didn’t have to work too hard in the offseason to be that great, either. He skipped both voluntary workouts and mandator minicamps offered by his team, the Detroit Lions, in 1999. He also had a clause in his contract that provided $100,000 if he regularly lifted weights at a team facility in the offseason. He preferred having free time to the extra cash.

For more football trivia read Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Sports Spectacular.

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Big Daddy Matty

This batch of facts is pretty sloppy. Re: #1, 1253 yards in ten games–125 yards per game–is a horrible mark for an NFL quarterback. Smith was benched for being terribly ineffective. And #2 is not true, according to Young himself. There was to be an annuity, but it was never properly funded by the owner of the LA Express.

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