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Contract law & the Super Bowl

There is a football player that currently stands to make more money than Tom Brady if the New England Patriots win this weekend’s Super Bowl. A contract provision situates this player to make a profit without even stepping out onto the field. The whole story provides an example of the power of contracts.

Who is this player? Jimmy Garoppolo, a former quarterback for the New England Patriots. He began the season with the Patriots and was later traded to the San Francisco 49ers.  

How could he earn more than Brady without even playing in the game? Garoppolo stands to benefit from a provision within the National Football League’s collective bargaining agreement. This contract essentially allows for players to receive winnings from the Super Bowl if they played a portion of the season with the team. If that team wins, it appears the player will receive the same winnings as the players still on the team.

Although Garoppolo and Brady could arguably win the same amount, it appears Garoppolo will not need to pay certain Minnesota state taxes since he will not actually be working in Minnesota. Brady, however, will be playing in Minnesota and thus will be subject to the taxes. As a result, Garoppolo’s final winnings check would likely be more than Brady’s.

What is the takeaway for businesses? Garoppolo’s good fortune serves as a reminder of the power of the written word. Even a single provision can translate to unexpected consequences. The risks that can accompany these consequences can be mitigated. An attorney experienced in drafting contract documents can help preserve your business interests and reduce the risk of these kinds of surprises. 

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