NFL 101

With everything that happened this week I wanted to take a second and explain a few things for my followers who don't follow along with football, or people who don't understand what certain things mean.

Right now we are in what the NFL calls free agency, it basically means that anyone who isn't under a contract on a team is free to join any team that wants them.

We were technically under a contract with the Chicago Bears until Wednesday, March 14. On Monday, March 12 we found out that the Bears were not going to tender us, meaning they weren't going to offer us another contract, releasing us from their organization. At that point we had to wait until free agency began at 4 pm ET, Wednesday, March 14 to start talking with teams who had interest.

As of now we have been in talks of a possible contract that we will not be taking. There has been some potential from other teams so we are just trusting God, keeping our hopes high, and knowing our worth.

A few of you messaged me on Monday after I instagrammed storied our situation telling me you didn't know what certain things meant so I wanted to take a second and explain a few things about the NFL!

Facts about the NFL:

  • Football season technically begins in April when the teams report to OTAs (off season training activities). These are technically "voluntary", but if you want a job, nothing is voluntary.
  • OTAs go from April until mid June- they are 9 weeks long from the start date.
  • After OTAs there is a short break until training camp begins in mid July.
  • Training camp officially kicks off season, turns into pre-season games and then regular season in September.
  • Football is a full time job. The public only sees them play once a week, but the guys typically only have one day off a week. The athletes are usually at the facility by 6 am and don't leave until late in the evening, usually 7 or 8 pm, sometimes later.
    • The league monitors how much practice time on the field teams have, but meeting times are unrestricted.
  • Contracts always have the number of years associated with them, however, no contract duration is actually guaranteed. Teams can fire you at any given point. The only thing guaranteed about a contract is the stated amount of guaranteed money owed to a player.
    • No contracts are guaranteed, even when a player signs a contract with guaranteed money, a team can cut you at any point.
  • Most guys in the NFL have two places of residence. I get asked so often why we have our house in Dallas and a place in Chicago. Truthfully, the last thing you want to do when you get cut from a team is stay in the city you've just been cut from. Having our place in Dallas allows us to have a comfort zone to always return to, train at, and find peace in during the craziness of the league.
  • There are multiple ways a team can structure someone's contract.
    • For the first three years athletes play, they are only compensated at league minimum salary, unless you are a draft pick or a fortunate undrafted free agent who receives a signing bonus.  League minimum is based on number of years played and to move up in pay structure you have to play at least six games regular season games. So, if you're on a roster for 2 games during a season, that season does not count towards what is called "accrued seasons" which determines pay structure. The next year you have to play at the same years' minimum until you reach your 6 game minimum, even if it takes you a few years.
    • Typically teams will offer extensions of contracts after you get past your first three years. This is where negotiating comes into play.
      • You can negotiate a long term deals, short term deal, signing bonuses, roster bonuses for making the regular season roster, incentives (meaning a bonus if you catch a certain number of passes or if a running back runs for a certain negotiated amount of yards)  and guaranteed money at this point.
    • This is why it's important to have an agent in your corner. Most guys have agents representing them.

    So even though this is our eighth year in the league we technically only have two accrued seasons, meaning we have one more year left on minimum league pay before we can negotiate a long term deal or the amount of pay we receive.

    We came home last week to spend time with my family and enjoy our friends for two weeks before we go to Florida for Pat to meet with his doctor again. We are so thankful to be home during this time and with our closest friends and family members.

    I am so grateful for everyone who has reached out and kept us in their prayers during this time. While we are shell-shocked that the Bears let us go we are confident that something will happen soon. 

    If you ever have questions about the league please feel free to comment below and ask!