Ways To Counter Kovie Type Contracts
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08-16-2010, 08:36 AM
Join Date: Apr 2010
There isn't a lot of guidance in the Kovy decision about how to fix this whole issue of long-term, heavily front-end loaded contracts.
At no point does Bloch say that long-term contracts should be banned, or that front-end loaded contracts should be banned...he acknowledges doubts about people playing to the end of some of these deals, but he also says that even if it is unlikely, it is still possible that such a contract will be fulfilled.
I don't think the owners want a hard limit on contract length -- there are guys they want to lock up for 10 years and, frankly, I have no problem with a 22 year old signing a long term deal if he wants to...
It will come down to two things in my view. First, finding a way to make the cap hit look more like the annual salary. You can vary the hit over the term of the contract in a number of ways or you can put much stricter limits on how quickly a salary can fall and how much it can fall by. You can still front-end load a salary, but not as dramatically. Bloch acknowledges that front-end loaded contracts are reasonable given that production tends to fall off as a player ages.
Second, the thing that really tipped the Kovy case in the NHL's favour was the game played with the NMC becoming a NTC in the final years which would have allowed the Devils to waive Kovy and avoid a cap hit that (by that time) was much bigger than his salary. The owners are likely going to look for tougher rules on these clauses that will limit their ability to be used to circumvent the cap.
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