If there’s anything for players to gain from what happened to Sterling Sharpe, it’s this: The next time you negotiate a new contract, get as much money up front as possible.
The Green Bay Packers released Sharpe last week after failing to reach agreement on a plan to have the wide receiver rehab his neck injury while earning $200,000 during the 1995 season. Sharpe is out for the season and if he is able to play again in 1996, it won’t be in Green Bay.
In a league that offers virtually no guaranteed contracts, the only way for a player to ensure he gets his fair share is through a huge signing bonus. Otherwise, it’s simply a yearto-year deal.
Despite Sharpe’s release, the Packers are still obligated to pay him $175,000 in 1995. Under terms of the league’s collective-bargaining agreement, teams must pay that amount if a player is unable to play the following season because of an injury.
But that’s hardly a consolation to one of the NFL’s most gifted receivers, who will spend the 1995 season wondering if he’ll play again.
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