SBD/March 17, 2014/Labor and Agents

Weinberg Assailed For Negotiating Tactics Leading To Sanders' Signing With Broncos

Sanders reportedly had a verbal agreement with the Chiefs before the Broncos deal
The process leading to WR Emmanuel Sanders' three-year deal with the Broncos yesterday "left the other teams involved fuming and crying foul," according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. A team source said Sanders' agent, Steve Weinberg, broke "every rule in negotiations." Another source said that Weinberg "accepted a deal with the Chiefs in principle." Another source said that Weinberg "then engaged in negotiations" with the Buccaneers. Weinberg "while shopping the Chiefs' offer to the Bucs ... never explained that he had already accepted the terms" of the Chiefs' offer. Weinberg later on Saturday night then "agreed to terms with the Broncos." Sanders and Weinberg also "rankled the 49ers by agreeing to visit, then blowing it off." A source said, "This was one of the worst situations in modern football negotiations. Totally wrong. This needs to be stopped." Weinberg "recently was reinstated" by the NFLPA, which had "barred and decertified him in 2003 because it had reportedly found he diverted assets to an offshore account during a dispute with a partner and collected a fee from a client prematurely." Weinberg later "filed suit against the NFLPA and its top officials, alleging they illegally took away his certification for eight years, along with past, present and future income of clients." Weinberg has two clients "currently on NFL teams, not including Sanders" (NFL.com, 3/16).

DEAL REALLY DONE? Sanders yesterday said, "That entire situation is a business ordeal that some people will turn into a personal matter." He added, "There was no handshake. There was no kind of agreement ... we were close to a deal, but it wasn’t anything official just yet. In terms of shopping around, we didn’t shop around. Teams were still calling." In K.C., Terez Paylor notes the Chiefs "could file a grievance" with the NFL and "attempt to have the deal voided." However, "all indications are that the Chiefs will not go that route" (K.C. STAR, 3/17). THE MMQB's Peter King writes, "What, really, can the Chiefs do? If a contract wasn’t signed, I don’t see that there’s any recourse other than to say they’ll never deal with a Weinberg client again." King: "If it’s true that Weinberg had a verbal deal and went to Denver instead, that’s not right. But there’s a reason the league honors only signed contracts and not verbal agreements" (MMQB.SI.com, 3/17).
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