Russell Okung Goes on Huge Twitter Rant About Salary Cap, Guaranteed Contracts

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 3, 2018

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 11:  Russell Okung #73 of the Denver Broncos watches from the sideline during a game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on December 11, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Los Angeles Chargers offensive tackle Russell Okung sounded off Tuesday about the NFL's salary structure and lack of guaranteed contracts for players. 

In a long Twitter thread, the two-time Pro Bowler began by expressing confusion over "how billionaire team owners have convinced the public that the players" are "ungrateful" when they make less than 50 percent of the league's annual revenue:

"Considering football's level of brute, immanent physicality, high turnover as well as the short life cycle of its participants, it would seem to me that NFL players are in the most need of fully guaranteed contracts. Many argue that trying to compare the league-player dynamic in the NFL with other sports is apples to oranges. Yes & no. League revenues are skyrocketing, a monster media rights deal is on the horizon, the business of football will never be the same."

Okung added that if the players want guaranteed money, "rewrite the CBA. That's right, we need an overhaul not a revision or an extension" because the current version "uses an antiquated revenue accounting method and salary-cap rules take up a significant part of our collective bargaining agreement."

Per Deadspin's Dom Cosentino, one reason behind the NFL's practice of nonguaranteed contracts is because of what owners must do with money that is guaranteed:

"One other factor that keeps owners from doling out guarantees is an arcane CBA rule mandating that any fully guaranteed money be placed into escrow at the time of signing. This means that even if the guarantees are paid to the player over the course of one, two, or even three years, ownership still must place all of that guaranteed money into a separate bank account. Owners don't like to do this because they'd rather not part with money until they absolutely have to."

Quarterback Kirk Cousins signed the largest fully guaranteed contract in NFL history in March with his three-year, $84 million pact with the Minnesota Vikings

The NFL is the only one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States that doesn't regularly offer its players guaranteed contracts. 

In July 2016, Steven Kutz of MarketWatch reported the NFL's revenue total of $13 billion was $3.5 billion higher than any other professional sports league. Major League Baseball was second at $9.5 billion.