Seahawks Fans Crowdfunding $5 Million for Russell Wilson

If this works, this could seriously be the most game changing thing in salary cap history. If I’m not mistaken, there is no rule against fans starting a crowdfunding campaign to pay an NFL player as this couldn’t have even been imagined in 2011. Granted, I am currently studying it for the NFLPA’s Certification Exam, so maybe I haven’t gotten to that part yet.

Think of this, the NFL had around $10 billion in revenues last year, so fans are obviously okay with spending money on all things NFL. What better way to spend money on the NFL, than to actually directly pay your players, so that your team can save cap room that can then be used to improve the team and make sure your favorite players are paid fair market value.

Think about this, if every Seahawks fan donated $1 to this campaign, they’d easily reach the goal and, potentially, provide themselves with much more enjoyment as there will be more money to spend on other players, thus their team will be better. Sounds like a pretty simple investment, just use the money that you would have spent on a beer or two during the season. A win will make you feel better than that beer won’t it? Then again, weed is legal in Washington, so why the hell would you drink beer anymore?

Of course, who knows if the NFL will allow this or if Russell Wilson would even take the money. And if he doesn’t, it will be donated to the Seattle Children’s Hospital, which would still an awesome move and something near and dear to Wilson’s heart.

So Tim Pennoyer, if you’re a reader of Over The Cap, bravo.

Here’s a link to the GoFundMe.

Here’s a link to his video.

What do you guys think happens? You think they just changed the game? You think the NFL disallows this? You think Wilson even accepts the money if he is allowed to? Sound off below.

Tweet me: @ZackMooreNFL

  • Bo Jørgensen

    If it smart but I can’t imagine it is legal. If it was legal any team-owner could make his own “crowd-funding” and pay his players outside the salary cap. There must be some kind iof regulation of money earned outside of football.

    They could probraly do it as som kind og pay for advertising, but what if he takes the money and decides to retire or sign a contract with another team. They can never make a contract linkin him to the one specific team

    • Good points. I agree, there’s gotta be something disallowing this.

      • McGeorge

        Even if the league investigated every endorsement paying more than some threshold, say 100K, to crack down on owners, how can they stop fan based crowd funding?
        The players can take money to endorse various legal products.
        How can this be stopped?

        • theowl

          1. Call it what it is… cheating.

          2. Through the CBA. Any receipt of money that ties a player to a specific team or city would not be allowed as a condition of signing an NFL contract. Of course there are a few years left on this CBA.

          • votingmachine

            They don’t have to violate the CBA to say that trying to create payment for playing, outside of the salary cap counts as payment within the salary cap.

            So if fans give Russell Wilson $5 million, the Seahawks lose $5 million of salary cap space. Simply declaring it outside of the salary cap, as the people in this comments section are doing is not adequate. That would immediately be over-ruled by Goodell (and the other 31 teams) declaring it inside the salary cap. The team would love to have that $5 million cash donation for salary. But even the Seahawks would be fools to destroy the salary cap system with some kind of crowdfunding salary system.

            I don’t think it would be hard to show that the money is a bonus for playing for the crowd donating the money, and bonuses count against the salary cap.

          • McGeorge

            Disguise it.
            Have the crowd funded money channeled into a bogus corporation. Have Russel Wilson endorse a small pizza shop, and get 5MM.
            How can the NFL prove anything if they can’t audit the company.
            use a card dealership. Who says they can’t spend advertising money the way they want? Maybe they had the money and think it’s worth it.
            You can’t prove that this is skirting the CBA.

          • votingmachine

            But can you say there is a high probability, and fine the Patriots without proof? Why YES! Yes you can.

            You are mistaken in assuming it requires proof. All it requires is the commissioner to say it is salary cap compensation, based on the evidence he has at hand, which indicates probability.

            It is possible that a legal court challenge could arise, but ONLY from the Seahawks. Russell would not have standing to challenge a decision against the Seahawks. I’m not sure the NFLPA would have standing either. So it would be a matter of whether the Seahawks wanted a legal challenge that decided in their favor in the case of Russell Wilson, would be bad for the Seahawks in the long run, as larger fan bases cheat with bigger money than the smaller ones.

            And it would be bad for the NFL. Baseball and sports where big money plays small money are uninteresting. If you can’t win without cheating, change your name to Patriots.

            You have to remember, what you are suggesting is to cheat. The NFL has a salary cap rule where every team spends the same amount on player salaries. You are now saying that hidden personal contracts between players and fans are a reasonable way to circumvent that rule. The Seahawks are a good team … don’t cheat.

          • votingmachine

            The Seahawks could always hire Russell Wilson to take care of field maintenance. He could mow the field for $5 million per year.

            But again, that is cheating.

          • McGeorge

            It’s bad for the sport, but it’s not cheating because it’s being done by a party outside the agreement.

            >>Through the CBA. Any receipt of money that ties a player to a specific team or city would not be allowed as a condition of signing an NFL contract.

            Where does it say that in the CBA, can you provide a link?
            I’m a local company, I would pay Marshawn Lynch to endorse my car dealership in Seattle. But not if he leaves for NYC.

          • theowl

            We agree it is bad for the sport and it is not illegal. My definition of cheat is broader than yours.

            I’m sure there is anything in the current CBA referring to
            “receipt of money that ties a player to a specific team or city would not be allowed as a condition of signing an NFL contract” as well.
            You threw out the question, so I was coming up with ways to stop it… which is why I said the current CBA has a few years left. Meaning the current CBA couldn’t be rewritten for a while.

          • theowl

            I think my definition of cheating is broader than yours.

            Also I was just coming up with answers your question… ” how can this be stopped?” Of course it isn’t in the current CBA. It would have to be addressed in the next one if the NFL wants to. I’m sure the players would love it.

      • Derek Lamarr

        Many employers write into their contracts that you must report any income earned from outside work. I don’t see why the NFL couldn’t do the same. They could then disallow stuff like this on a case by case basis.

        • I just hope that something like that wouldn’t start to slow down the process of actual endorsements.

    • Wade8813

      According to the link, Russ only gets the money after signing a contract with the Seahawks. He could immediately decide to retire, but that would be a really weird way to spite the fans, since he would presumably keep playing anyway.

      • McGeorge

        Couldn’t it be structured to pay out annually? With clauses that would result in loss of income in case of suspensions.

        • Wade8813

          Probably, but it doesn’t seem like this one is handled that way

  • Maxwell Ming

    It wont happen for 2 reasons. the NFL (No Fun League) is made up of a bunch of uptight and overly conservative d**** and will shoot down anything that they didn’t think of themselves and 2.) If they allowed this, then there would be ALOT of teams trying to get around the cap by doing this (See: Dallas, Washington, etc etc) and it would defeat the purpose of actually having a cap. The cap was put in place to keep things fair, and that is why, outside of the Patriots, you haven’t seen a Dynasty since the Cowboys of the mid 90’s (who were already spending the most money on their players by the time the cap came into play.)

  • McGeorge

    I think this can work, but it would harm the sport.

    The reason it’s brilliant and could work is a bunch of rich guys can get their revenue and not have to pay the players as much.

    Let the crowd pay for who ever they want. Obviously the teams in large and expensive metropolitan areas would have an edge.

    The beauty is this is outside the NFL, so the league can’t stop it.

    Can Nike or Cheery-Os make a deal with JJ Watt – for endorsing our product, we will pay you 5MM/year for 4 years, as long a s you play in Texas.

    Why wouldn’t that be legal?

    So the next step is the crown funding, with a shill company. Russel, if you endorse Joes Pizzaria we will pay you 5MM/year for the next 5 years.

    Does the NFL get to audit every commercial product a player gets paid to endorse?

    If a car dealer pays Joe Boom Boom 10 grand to endorse his dealership, will the NFL investigate it.

    The next step is if owners to secretly fund these crowd sourcing sites.

    What can the league do? They can have severe penalties for owners, but how can they tell a car dealership “Sorry, you can’t pay Russel Wilson $50,000 because we think thats too much and fishy”. Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen.

    • theowl

      All good points. And wouldn’t the fans be cheating. Why are so many people upset with Tom Brady and we hear so little about on field penalties and performance enhancing drugs, like adderall. Something like this crowdfunding that ties a player to a team has the potential to be far more advantageous than most any of those other things, because there are no rules against it… yet.

      • McGeorge

        The fans wouldn’t be cheating becaus ethey aren’t bound by the CBA.

        Would this be good for the sport is a different question. I think not. It would put teams in small markets at a big disadvantage.

        Imagine if some wealthy New Yorkers approached Aaron Rodgers before he resign with Green Bay. “Aaron, if you come to the Jets, we”ll crowdfund you 10MM/year, and Woody will match whatever Green bay is offering”.

        • Kirk Vollmer

          Why would Rodger’s take that. You can’t guarantee that the crowd funding is going to be there because they constantly have to fund raise it. A contract with a team means that team has to pay him as they are contractually obligated to do so and the only way they can not pay him is to release him or to completely fold as a team (which won’t happen.) Crowd funding money can’t be guaranteed on a yearly basis.

          • McGeorge

            That was just an example. The crowd funding could possibly raise enough to fund this and structure it up front. So there would be no risk to Aaron Rodgers. Lets say a crown funding project raised 10MM.

            They could structure it as 2.5MM/year for 4 years.

            They could contact the players agent and negotiate what it would take.

            How can it not be allowed?

            What would the NFL not allow? That a player can’t take money from a crowd funded source? Can that be legally enforced? Would a court disagree with the NFL?

            Also – the crowd funding can be disguised. “Russel Wilson, we’ll pay you a bonus of $5 million if you sign the Seattle 5 year contract and endorse McGeorge’s home made IPAs.”.

            Players are allowed to accept endorsements.

            How would the NFL know where the money came from.

            Would the NFL be allowed to audit every player, then conduct an audit on every organization that paid them to represent them?

            How much would that cost the NFL?

            Would the NFLPA agree? That would scare away endorsements?

            Would US Courts allow that?

            What if the NFL tells a company, we need more information, and more, and more. Would the NFL get all the information they want from Nike and Comcast and Pepsi and Liquid Nutrition? I doubt it.

          • That’s the main argument that I was hoping would come out of this article, where is the line and how do we enforce it? While I don’t necessarily want a league where teams can crowdfund, boy, would it be interesting to watch unfold.

          • McGeorge

            I have an easy solution.

            the NFL would hire me as a “fair and unbiased” arbitrator, who has no legal training.
            I would decide what is legit and whats not.

            I would do it for peanuts, just pay me $200,000/year :-)

            I would use a fair system. All endorsements would be ok, except for those for players from the Patriots, Dolphins, ad Bills. I’d have to “carefully” evaluate them and reject those from players earning more than 1MM/year.

          • votingmachine

            McGeorge, you are arguing this as though it is a matter of criminal court trial, with the standards that apply, with Russell vs the NFL. It wold not be that trial.

            First, the NFL applies the rules. And they’ve already shown that they make decisions based on public opinion (AP and Ray Rice), and based on probability. And the decisions have stood. The NFL would declare that the money was player salary and counted against the salary cap. The only party WRONGED by that decision is the team. Wilson still has the money, it just is not outside the cap. Only a party that is wronged is allowed to contest a decision. The players union MIGHT argue that the NFL is mistaking player outside compensation for salary, or the team might argue that the compensation is not salary. So only the team or the NFLPA would have standing to sue for a reversal.

            The first appeal is to the NFL and they win again. The only 2nd appeal is to the civil courts. And at that point the NFL is going to argue that the compensation is explicitly being used to circumvent the salary cap rules … and that will also be pretty damn obvious to a judge and a business analysis. The money records will be subpeona’d. And do you know what it will show? A bunch of fans gave the money. The NFL will win. You can’t win in a civil court trial seeking to overturn the NFL’s ruling without showing the money trail.

            You are arguing that the compensation is enough outside the bounds that the NFL can’t make a ruling, but they can. And in a civil court case, ALL the money records will be subpeona’d. If you don’t have legitimate business, with a legitimate advertising budget, and a legitimate business statement, you are just going to go down in flames, and very quickly.

          • Wade8813

            Actually, it sounds like Ray Rice will now be eligible to play; Goodell suspended him indefinitely, but a judge dismissed the case, and an arbitrator granted his appeal to not be suspended

          • votingmachine

            I had not heard that decision, but it made sense legally. Goodell over-penalized based on the rules. Rice had standing to challenge the penalties, and the penalties were based on a system put in place after his incident, in order to penalize guys like him … any judge can see the problem with retroactive penalty application.

            My point remains that Goodell doesn’t really have much that limits his ability to impose a penalty. In this case, he would impose onto the team a salary cap equivalence penalty. And I was pointing out that you have to have standing to bring a trial. I could not have brought a rial to dispute the Ray Rice penalty, and I cannot bring a trial to dispute the deflate gate penalty … I don’t have legal standing as a party who was wronged. I think the Seahawks would not contest the issue. The NFLPA would have to justify their standing as a party to bring the lawsuit.

            So again, it would be up to the NFL to support their claim that they were correct and up t the party on the other side to support their side. And it would be decided based on the monetary records. It would get picked over pretty thoroughly. I think the end result would be that the money from crowdsourcing would be considered compensation for Russell Wilson playing for the Seahawks, not for some as yet undescribed advertising benefit.

            I’m not sure that the Seahawks WOULD contest the NFL decision, or that the NFLPA would have standing to appeal the decision. So what you might have would be a ruling that was never appealed.

            My main point was the legal distinction between a criminal trial and a civil trial, where the rules are very different. Where a criminal trial would require the prosecution to uncover evidence and prove more, a civil trial requires different evidence rules, and has a different standard for decisions.

            For instance, if Tom Brady appeals to the NFL, he can say screw you, you can’t see my phone. If he challenges the NFL in a civil trial, they will subpoena his phone, and the judge will grant that subpeona. You really have to understand the differences in the law that decides cases.

            I think the NFL could easily make determination that the money is probably equivalent to salary for playing and impose an equal salary cap penalty. And the challenge of that is not easy, and quite possibly would not even be attempted.

          • Wade8813

            It seems to me that the person behind the crowdfunding could make a case that they have a right to hire athletes to do endorsements for them just like any company does (since the person behind this crowd funding said he’s looking into establishing an LLC). They could even have Russ make a 20 second ad for their YouTube channel or something.

          • McGeorge

            I agree.

            I think it would be detrimental to the sport though, since the salary cap makes the game more interesting.

          • votingmachine

            But no one is denying them that “right”. The NFL also has the “right” to declare money as salary. The thing I am saying is that once the NFL chooses to make that money salary that counts against the cap, you don’t have any say in that NFL designation. You still have your Youtube. You still have your receipt. Russell Wilson still has the money. THE TEAM has an altered salary cap.

            And the team is part of the NFL, with a vested interest in the success of the NFL.

            No one says that Russell Wilson cannot take money for autographs, in the autograph market. For personal endorsements, in the endorsement market. For clever marketing, in the marketing market. For ANYTHING. Or for playing football, in the professional football market. The only question is whether the NFL will decide to include money he gets as counting against the salary cap.

            That is part of what I was saying:
            1. The NFL has shown that they will make decisions and impose penalties without absolute proof.
            2. The NFL would notice a too obvious attempt to end run the salary cap.
            3. The NFL can declare that money counts as salary.
            4. An appeal will get upheld by the NFL.
            5. Further appeal is a civil trial.
            6. A civil trial has different rules than a criminal trial (look at OJ: not guilty, but paid civil trial damages). The rules on who has standing to bring a trial challenge, rule out almost everyone but the team and the NFLPA.

            Someone does have the right to hire Russell Wilson. And they even have the right to do so for stupid reasons. But if the NFL should happen to notice that the money came from crowdfunding, and the money was wasted on an insignificant bit of Wilson’s time, they could and SHOULD call it an attempt to evade the salary cap. When there is an attempt to evade, you have a strong basis for your own actions and for subsequent legal defense.

            Can you hide the evasion? Sure. Might you get away with it? Sure. I am merely pointing out that if the NFL sees it, they don’t need absolute proof to rule, and then it is very hard to change that.

            Could I give President Obama a billion dollars for an autograph? Sure. Could he then authorize my supply company for a government contract? Sure. But it would be rapidly seen and characterized as a bribe. In the NFL, there is a Commish with a hammer just waiting.

          • Wade8813

            It does affect the LLC though. The NFL, by specifically singling out some companies’ advertising to count against the cap and not others, provides disincentive for players to accept endorsements from those companies, which hurts the companies’ chances of being able to hire NFL players as spokesmen. If Papa John’s can pay Peyton money without repercussions, why can’t a company owned by Seahawks fans pay Russell Wilson money?

            Although if the NFL ruled that way, fans could probably do the opposite – use it to torpedo an opposing team’s salary cap. Offer a big, one year contract to an opposing team’s key player, and make them take a huge cap hit. Which actually indicates to me that the team might very well decide to fight this ruling.

            Legitimate businesses sometimes get money from crowdfunding. And lots of commercials are just 30 seconds long, and get replayed over and over. What if instead, Bill Gates funded for it, so it wasn’t “crowd sourced”? He’s friends with Paul Allen, and they could even do ads for the Gates Foundation, which is a long-established organization.

          • votingmachine

            It does open up some issues. I have to say that it would take the fun out of football. Fortunately, the chance of a crowd fund to torpedo a team are pretty slim.

            Real businesses look at the marketing and determine the value to the business. Fan groups are looking only at football value.

            I’m not sure that anyone wants to pay extra, other than fans, who can spread the cost over a lot of people. Even fans will have trouble raising any serious money. I’m not giving anything. Can you get 100,000 to donate $10 for a football player? 1 million people? Crowdfunding is pretty hard to predict.

          • McGeorge

            I think Goodell abused his power, and the NFLPA didn’t expect him to act this way. Prior Commissioners didn’t, not to this extent.

            As for Brady, I think if he tries to fight the NFL, they can do all sorts of things to him, within the rules. There was a play a few years back where he put up his legs and injured Justin Tuck of the Giants. Tuck ended up needing surgery after the season.
            The NFL could say that a similar play by Brady was a deliberate attempt to injure a player and suspend him. Then if he did something else, they could suspend him longer, as a repeat offender.

          • votingmachine

            Yep. They wanted desperately to take a publicly approved hard line on character issues like players beating up women and children, even though that is not on the field, and they didn’t have any rule basis. As a fan, I want those guys gone, either for a significant suspension, or forever. I would rather watch players without having to rationalize why I want them to succeed on the field. I will never be happy to see AP play football. Beating children crosses a line for me.

            The NFL was caught off-guard when they had the Rice and AP off-field issues come out. Both had graphic photo/video images that are clear to any fan that the guys are unacceptably violent. Fans like that on the field, but not off the field. The NFL penalties looked trivial and insufficient. They have raised those, and they managed to increase Rice and AP penalties without any basis.

            That does show how the NFL can abuse power. It is one reason why I think that any attempt to evade the salary cap is bound to fail, if discovered. Even if the NFL rules are not clear, the league officials would impose penalties, and they would get away with it.

            Remember, Ray Rice was given the MAXIMUM 4 game suspension. But then he didn’t play all year. AP was also kept off the field for a year. The average fan is happy to believe that the NFL is reforming the penalty system (and they are), and happy that more than a slap on the wrist was imposed on AP and Rice (and Hardy, etc).

            Brady would be smart to meet with the Commish, and then drop it. If they configure out a better way to make the NFL and Brady look better, then they can reduce the suspension. But Brady should after that say he just wants to prepare for the season, and the distraction of an appeal is hurting his preparation. See what deal he and his agent can make, but don’t get into a big fight.

          • McGeorge

            1. Will the NFL be able to get the financial records of all players? Is that legal? At the very least it would have to be negotiated as part of the CBA. Why would teh NFLPA agree?

            2. More importantly – The crowd funding could be disguised, and offered through one or more legitimate (or semi-legitimate) companies. The player could make commercials for 5 car dealerships, earning MM from each one.

            How would the NFL be able to say “Player X, you are earning too much for this endorsement”? That sounds like a series of lawsuits. The NFL could arbitrarily target a player, lets say someone that Goodell doesn’t like such as Ndamukong Suh. What if some company over pays for an endorsement for Adrian Peterson, or a mid level player.

            How is the NFL to say “that is too much”. Who says?
            I personally don’t pay attention to advertising, I really dont.
            So in my opinion I would not allow any player to take a dime from any advertising, since it’s clearly a way to skirt the cap.

            Marshawn Lynch has a Skittles endorsement? Dock the Seahawks all his earnings. Maybe even suspend him. How can you tell me that a grown man actually east skittles. ;-)

            Athletes endorsing Nike or Under Armor. No way. Thats skirting the cap.
            Michael Jordon and Kobe Bryant and LeBron James making WHAT?!?!?!? For endorsing sneakers? Do you think I’m stupid, thats clearly a fake. These guys are skirting the cap.
            No one in their right mind would pay those guys to endorse sneakers. Thats laughable.

            Sports players endorsing Pepsi or Coke? No way. No one really pays money for that.

            See what I mean, how do you decide whats real and whats not?

          • votingmachine

            I don’t. Goodell does. You have to ask him. I think he would have access to player financial records.

            Bribes do work. What you are describing is a secret bribe between the fans and Wilson. And what you are asking is how it gets discovered … I don’t know. But lets be realistic. You aren’t describing any marketing or business relationship between Russell Wilson and a brand. You are describing a bribe.

            If there is a way to secretly bribe Wilson to sign for below market value, go for it. This hardly seems possible to combine “crowdfunding” and “secret” though.

            The owner of the Seahawks could directly and secretly pay a car dealership to overpay for an endorsement, and cheat the salary cap. I’ve wondered about Jerry Jones getting some free agents … Is La’el Collins also getting fringe benefits that don’t get seen? Free dinner at the finest restaurant every night on Jerry’s tab?

            Cheating works. Sometimes.

          • McGeorge

            >>The owner of the Seahawks could directly and secretly pay a car dealership to overpay for an endorsement, and cheat the salary cap.

            Thats true, but it would be a violation of the CBA. If he was caught, there would be severe penalties. The other owners could tell Goodell to throw the book at him.

            What if they stripped them of two #1 picks, and 25MM of cap room given to the other teams) for two years.

            Or worse – force him to sell the team. That happened in the NBA.

            Its one thing to screw a city or the fans or players. It’s another thing to screw the other owners.

          • votingmachine

            That is how I see it also. The league has a great deal of leeway in creating and enforcing penalties on franchises. Especially when a large majority of franchises agree with the penalty on the penalized franchise. The rules that allow the league to penalize franchises are fairly broad, and often general. The main thing in penalizing a franchise is knowing that the rest of the league supports it.

            Dealing with players has CBA implications and NFLPA implications. But dealing with franchises is a separate thing. I don’t think the rules of the game that the Patriots violated (the game ball standards) are in the CBA. They are league rules. The AMOUNT of the salary cap is in the CBA. The existence of a salary cap is in the CBA.

            There is a lot of league business that is just league business. Very similar to the NBA banishment of the owner. That was between the league and the franchise, not the league and the players. If the fans of one team evaded the salary cap to give a temporary money advantage to the Seahawks, the other franchises would either want to stop it or beat the Seahawks with a larger fan base. But probably want to stop it.

            The league has a constitution and bylaws. I would say that they would have to be analyzed. And they contain things like:

            Every contract with any employee of the League or of a club
            therein shall contain a clause wherein the employee agrees to
            abide and be legally bound by the Constitution and Bylaws
            and the Rules and Regulations of the League, as well as by the
            decisions of the Commissioner, which decisions shall be final,
            conclusive, and unappealable. Such contract shall provide
            further that the contracting parties, if involved or affected in
            any manner by a decision of the Commissioner, agree to
            release the Commissioner and to waive every claim he, they,
            or it have against the Commissioner, individually and in his
            official capacity, as well as against the League, each and
            every member club thereof, and any and all directors, officers,
            stockholders, partners, or holders of an interest therein, for
            damages and for any other claims or demands arising out of or
            connected with any decision of the Commissioner. Every
            written employment contract with any non-player employee
            of a club shall be filed in the League office promptly
            following its execution and shall provide: that such contract
            sets forth the entire agreement between the parties; that no
            oral agreements, and no other written agreements, except as
            are attached to the contract or specifically incorporated by
            reference therein, exist between them; that such written
            contract (including agreements attached thereto or
            incorporated therein) sets forth the entire agreement with
            respect to the employee’s services for the club; and that
            neither party will rely on any agreement or understanding not
            reduced to writing and specifically incorporated into such
            employment contract prior to its execution or when
            subsequently amended.

            You could read the entire thing and try to understand it … I’m not.

            No bonus may be paid to a player or players for winning a
            particular game; neither may remuneration or gifts of any kind
            other than those listed in the contract of a player be announced,
            promised, or paid directly or indirectly by a member club or by any
            person connected with or employed by a club.

            No bonus may be paid to a player or players for winning a
            particular game; neither may remuneration or gifts of any kind
            other than those listed in the contract of a player be announced,
            promised, or paid directly or indirectly by a member club or by any
            person connected with or employed by a club.

          • McGeorge

            The crowd funded money could be disguised. Lets say a big corporation , call it StarrBux, is based in Seattle. They could offer Russel Wilson 5 million if he signs.
            Once he’s signed he does a single commercial for them and gets paid.
            Will the league second guess StarrBux? Saying they paid too much?
            If so, then isn’t Tom Brady getting paid too much to endorse UnderArmor?
            They can disguise these crowd funded schemes if they get some businesses to go along.
            And why wouldn’t StarrBux go along?
            The Seattle fans would LOVE them for it.
            It wouldn’t cost them anything, since the money comes from the fans.

          • votingmachine

            As long as it can be hidden, you can come up with lots of ways to bribe Wilson to sign. The instant it gets revealed, the franchise gets the hammer for not running a tight ship. What is the Patriots fine for? Brady cheated, not Robert Kraft.

            I get what you are saying in this case. Hiding it might make it work. But if it gets discovered, then it is cheating. By Russell Wilson, for taking a bribe. By the Seahawks for having Wilson, and not seeing the bribe.

            I don’t really have any argument that says hidden bribes can work. They do. What doesn’t work is having a secret between a WHOLE LOT of people. Two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead. Russell Wilson might tell someone else to talk to StarrBux. The NFLPA might wonder why Wilson took a bit under market value. Wo knows. If you pay a bribe, get something, and it all stays a secret, then it worked. If it gets found out, and Wilson gets banned, the team loses draft picks, and the owner is forced to sell to an LA businessman, then it didn’t.

            I’m not really sure why you argue on one hand that the NFL could go crazy and force a sale (like the NBA), take away draft picks (like the Patriots), or suspend a player (too many), and then on the other hand argue that it just takes a little cleverness in hiding the crime. Don’t do the crime if you won’t do the time. And the time could be HUGE.

            The benefit would be that Wilson plays at a below market salary cap number, and the Seahawks are marginally better than they would be while paying him more. Go for it. It isn’t my team. When a reporter breaks the story someday, I’ll just demand that the Seahawks be punished.

          • McGeorge

            You can’t blame the team fro something they didn’t know about.
            Violating the CBA by a team is serious and can be dealt with by the NFL.
            The crowdfunding is external to the NFL. I don’t see how they can stop it.

            The only thing stopping it is the star players are influenced by many millions, so you would need many fans contributing.

          • votingmachine

            I think the NFL can blame a team for NOT knowing about cheating. The NCAA punishes schools if a player receives money from a booster and they find out about it. It is the same thing. The booster is unpunished. The player is often long gone. Your statement about what the NFL can and cannot do is something I can’t refute without expertise in the league constitution and bylaws. But it would make perfect sense for the league to be able to punish in the same way as the NCAA punishes schools for cheating outside of the school control.

            I don’t say they stop it. I say they penalize the team. The league dealing with teams is NOT in the CBA, which is between the league and the players union.

            We are not going to agree. I can’t say I am right, only that it seems reasonable that things would work the way I describe them. If you want to try crowdfunding a player, go for it. I see it as something that would be found out and punished.

            Go look at how the NCAA punished USC after they found how Reggie Bush took gifts from 3rd parties. They punished for lack of institutional control. USC probably did nothing. Some guys paid Bush. And it was discovered years later. Bush was unpunished The paying people were unpunished. USC lost scholarships, had a bowl ban, were put on probation. Pete Carroll went on to coach the Seahawks, whose fans apparently think about repeating the same mistake.

            But I could be wrong. It could be that there is not anything that the NFL can do. I doubt that though.

          • McGeorge

            The NFL is a smaller group than the NCAA. The commissioner isn’t going to hammer a team without consensus. There is no way a team is going to audit all of it’s players.
            As for the NCAA, they can expect schools to notice things like player driving a new car, or spending a lot of money. They can punish a school, but that doesn’t mean it’s automatic. The schools that get punished have long histories. It’s not a one off.

          • Kirk Vollmer

            Crowd funding is pretty public. In order to raise that kind of money it has to be. The NFL would argue that this money is a payment for playing football outside of his contract with the team. I’m sure the contracts probably don’t allow for that sort of thing. The NFL could also argue in court that the money constituted a bribe.

          • McGeorge

            I don’t see where in the CBA it’s disallowed. I do think it should be banned, but it would have to be negotiated with the NFLPA. You can’t unilaterally impose conditions in a negotiation.
            And it would be possible to openly raise the money, and then secretly have it paid, using legitimate businesses.

        • theowl

          So anything the fans do is not cheating, just maybe unethical? What if fans do something illegal to give their team a competitive advantage. Say a Rams fan injures a Cardinals player and keeps him out of the coming game… the game will still be played and the Rams wouldn’t be penalized. The Rams wouldn’t be cheating, unless somehow involved. But I think the fan would be cheating. Maybe you would just call it something else. This is sort of a white collar””/”blue collar” comparison, where anything is ok as long as it is legal. Is it ok to take someone’s pension through a loophole, but not rob someone on the street because it is illegal? I know you and most people who read this site realize the Salary Cap is just as important as on field rules for competitive balance, but I think many people don’t understand this.

          • McGeorge

            Why is it unethical if fans crowd source?
            Bad for the sport, probably.

            Intentionally injuring a person is illegal. And if it’s planned in advance would probably result in a stiff jail sentence, especially if the DA wants to crack down on that type of behavior.

            I’m not saying the crowd funding is a good thing, but i’s not illegal by US laws. The CBA is an agreement between owners and players. It doesn’t cover fans.

        • 100% correct, it would really shift the balance of power and could render the CBA obsolete. I really don’t know how you regulate it if a company runs a crowdfunding campaign just to have Russell Wilson as a spokeperson or something. It all just seems really interesting to me.

          • McGeorge

            The one thing to prevent it is star players already make a lot. Russel Wilson won’t be swayed by a fan raised “bonus” of $2,000,000. It would take some bigger numbers.
            If Jets fans contacted his agent, he might want $10,000,000 (for example).
            As a Jets fan I’d pay $20 in a crowd source to get Andrew Luck to come here! :-)

      • Derek Lamarr

        If there was an explicit rule against it that the fans subverted, then they got caught and tried to cover it up by lying, it would be like Brady.

        But starting a very public campaign? No, that’s nothing like Brady. If the NFL tells the fans they can’t do it, they’re donating it to a children’s hospital. If Brady’s situation were like that, he would have been like “oh, rule book says I can’t use deflated balls, better donate them to the children’s hospital.”

        • theowl

          It is only cheating if it is against a rule? So you don’t think the steroid users in MLB were cheating because it wasn’t against the rules at the time?

          This crowd funding idea seems like a loophole in the NFL rules that the fans are taking advantage of.

          • Derek Lamarr

            Lol yes, that is the definition of cheating, isn’t it? No, I don’t think baseball players taking steroids or amphetimes before that (because baseball has always been PED driven) were cheating until those substances were made illegal. My career relies heavily on my ability to “work around” rules though, so I guess that’s what you’d expect from me.

            Whatever your philosophical view on legally subverting rules is, you can’t honestly think this is at all similar. The fans are PUBLICALLY doing it. And they’ve said they will donate the money to charity if it’s not allowed. You do understand how that’s different than secretly doing something you know is illegal, then lying to cover it up, don’t you? I hope you know that. I hope everyone knows that.

          • Rules are for commies! haha

            I hate rules. Hence 90% of the problems I’ve had in my life, but also 90% of the successes. Rules were made to be broken because…I’m an American!

          • McGeorge

            Rules are a set of agreements people agree to abide behind. Rules can be a PITA. But without them you have anarchy. Without rules you get screwed over in other ways. It’s just as bad if the government screws you over as if private enterprise does. Both suck.

          • True, I just don’t like the amount of rules that we have. Very silly world we live in. Trust me, I’m on board with the NFL rules we’re discussing.

    • Lewis Anderson

      the nfl could stop this they have a salary cap and they could put in the next cba that even croedsourcing count against the salary cap. And I say there is some writing somewhere already in it that stops this cause it isnt that hard to see this happening already by some rich guy who wants to have a winning team in his city. The more games they make it the more money the rich guy could make off his businesses so Id be amazed if it isnt already against nfl rules.

      • McGeorge

        The NFL can’t unilaterally do that, they would have to negotiate it with the NFLPA.

        Also, the crowd funded money could be disguised. It could appear to be legitimate if offered by a few small or mid sized local companies.

    • Kirk Vollmer

      I’m not completely sure but I think the NFL can tell a player they can’t endorse certain products if those products are in competition with a brand that the NFL has an advertising agreement with. The NFL has a advertising agreement with Budweiser for example. I doubt an NFL player would be able to advertise for Miller Lite.

      • Pretty sure that players can’t advertise for any alcohol company period, huge point of contention with the players because of the sheer hypocrisy of a league that runs beer commercials during every single break in the action.

      • Remember, players can also have Adidas deals even though the league is Nike now.

        • Nick

          As far as I know, players can endorse whatever they want as long as they don’t do it during official NFL business unless that good/service is an official sponsor of the NFL. See, e.g., players taping over Adidas logos.

          I’m not aware of a blanket alcohol ban, though. I know Brent Celek once got fined for doing the Captain Morgan pose during a game, but again, that was during official NFL business. It would be hypocritical though given all the beer sponsorships the NFL allows.

          • McGeorge

            I can see the NFL banning certain products like alcohol and tobacco. (and Pot and drugs)

            But Russel Wilson could endorse something else, like a soda, or a car dealership.

          • I want my athletes to be endorsed with their own strain of marijuana, but that’s just me. “Josh Gordon Kush: So Good You’ll Get Suspended Every Year,” has a nice ring to it.

          • theowl

            Awesome! I hope it won’t be long til pot in not illegal in the NFL.

          • Nick

            The more you know, thanks! Still, this is an indefensible policy due to the hypocrisy that we’ve all identified. Plus, it’s clear that far few people are going to develop alcoholism from Charles Woodson’s wine than they will from all the Bud Light commercials that air.

          • So insane, like if you watched beer commercials, you would think every single woman in the world is hot. #FakeLife

          • Nick

            Or even worse, implying that said women are “up for whatever“.

          • This too, like you said, can’t wear Adidas. In college, I got all black Nikes and colored in the symbol because of how much I hated how our Adidas shoes felt. It was horrible.


    • McGeorge, my thoughts overnight while thinking about this was what if this guy just created some nonsense product for Russell Wilson to endorse, like whatever company he might work for and then just make it a $5 million endorsement deal for him to “endorse” that product? Could be extremely interesting because who knows what the NFL could do about that?

  • theowl

    This would really be a test case. If Wilson actually reduced his guaranteed money by 5 million, the team would probably be saving a million a year on his prorated bonus… thus a potential increase of a million more a year to their cap room for 5 years. Significant, but not a huge amount. But if instead of a dollar people were contributing 5 dollars, that 25 million would make a huge impact. I could see many fans easily giving 100 dollars or more. For many people the most important thing in their life is that their team wins… not how they win.

  • BH

    I have trouble believing you people are actually this stupid. I mean Zack Moore has all by himself lowered the status of Over The Cap an order of magnitude but even in the world of internet comments sections this one is somehow exceptionally idiotic. Do you people function in society?

    • Definitely lowered the status of OTC by sharing this interesting story that I find to be unique and could even warrant a rule change from the NFL and I think that alone is really cool.

      Pro Tip: Smoke some weed. R-E-L-A-X.

      • theowl

        It is nice to see some discussion on this site, We all usually pretty much agree.

        • Definitely, really interesting idea by that Seahawks fan because nothing bad can come out of it for him if it’s legal or not.

          • theowl

            I may think it is bad for the game, but it is definitely ingenious!

          • theowl

            The funny thing is the league wouldn’t get any of the money… just the players.

      • BH

        I was referring to your other articles also. They’re bad and you should feel bad for making me read less and less OTC.

  • Kirk Vollmer

    The NFL won’t and shouldn’t allow this. The salary cap is there so that teams with larger fan bases (the big market teams) won’t be able to outpace the small market teams simply by spending more money. We don’t want a New York Yankee’s in football. If a group of people can pay a player outside of the salary cap by simple crowd funding it would mean that teams with larger fan bases (large media markets) would have a distinct advantage. This would destroy competitive balance. It would honestly be a terrible thing for football.

  • I think we may be missing something here. This crowdfunding movement seems to be more about fan perception that the Seahawks just don’t want to pay a large contract to Wilson, so if they raise money, the Seahawks will do it. Certainly, there are cap implications here, but it’s not about teams spending more money than they are allowed, and more about a source of revenue that isn’t directly tied to the NFL or the team (ticket sales, merchandise, etc.). There’s nothing to indicate that this source of money would allow the Seahawks to fit a contract for Wilson under the cap, in a way that other teams couldn’t — and we must remember that contract structure is used all the time to fit players under the cap.

    But as far as this helping Seattle’s chances of extending Wilson, I doubt it will have any impact. What Wilson is going to be concerned about are things such as his average salary per year, how much money is fully guaranteed, how much is injury-only guaranteed, and what bonuses he could collect. If Wilson, for example, wants three years of fully guaranteed money, and Seattle won’t give him more than two years, no amount of crowdfunding is going to change anyone’s mind. Only continued negotiations will allow for a resolution.

    People are free to debate the ethical issues with crowdfunding for a player’s salary, and I would agree that I can’t see the NFL allowing this to happen. But with that said, I don’t think Wilson or the Seahawks care. Wilson cares more about what he believes he should get in an extension, and the Seahawks are more interested in protecting their long-term picture, in case they extend Wilson and something happens to him (injury, regression, whatever). Only continued negotiations will get those issues resolved, not any fan campaign to get both sides to “hurry up and get a deal done already.”

    • Nick

      I agree with this, and I’d also add that for Wilson, it would be very nice to get the extension he feels he deserves, and also nice to get a chunk of cash from dedicated crowdfunding fans…but it would be even better if he got both. McGeorge mentioned endorsements below, and I think that demonstrates that point. If, say, back in 2012 FedEx had said to Peyton Manning that we’ll give you $X million to sign with the Titans at a discounted price, a simple retort could have been “Why don’t I just sign for the Broncos at market price, and at the same time still have opportunities to endorse Papa John’s/Buick/Nationwide/etc.?”.

      • McGeorge

        Because this is not regular advertising money, it’s fans “throw away” money.

        A business makes rational decisions (we hope) about how to spend advertising money. They won’t over pay Peyton Manning. But a large number of fans living in a densely populated rich city might. Use New York City as an example. Lots of wealthy Jets and Giants fans. They might be able to come up with a big nugget to lure a player.
        There would be no defense, unless another teams crowd funded cause came up with a counter offer.

        I’m not saying this is likely, but it can happen down the road. $5 million as a signing bonus collected from many many fans. Maybe some rich fans throw in some extra bucks.

        • theowl

          I agree. The potential ramifications are huge.

          Referring to Bob’s thought that it would be insignificant to the negotiating process… It is not inconceivable the two sides could be 5 million dollars off in guaranteed money. I don’t actually think Wilson will take the money and I don’t think it will affect this negotiation, but some player may take it one day… and we could be talking 25 million.

          • Nick

            If this model did become widespread, there’s a bit of “gambling” aspect that could come in play on the part of the fans. Not actual gambling of course, since this money would go either to the player or to charity. But if you had competing fanbases crowdfunding on this model, then at least one of them would necessarily lose. Then fans have to ask themselves in the future if this is really worth it to keep doing this. And would it just be limited to QBs? If he wasn’t extended already I could see Richard Sherman involved in a similar thing. Now you have to ask yourself how many players you’re going to try to lure this way.

            I’m still skeptical that this will catch traction, even though it is fun to think about.

          • theowl

            I agree. If it did catch on, it could go the way of the stadium battles. Where cities would compete for how much they would pay for a stadium. People are pretty much fed up with paying for stadiums. Of course it has taken years for people to wise up.

    • Ryan Menges

      @disqus_arnRkJrA6t:disqus HAY MAN I HAVE JUST 1 QUESTION TO U AND EVERYONE THAT BUYS INTO AND BELIEVES EVERYTHING THEE EVIL MEDIA SAYS! WHEN, WHAT, WHY, & HOW & WHEN WAS IT THAT THE SEAHAWKS SAID THAT THEY INDEED DO NOT WANT TO PAY RUSSELL WILSON? SERIOUSLY! I want a date, a time, I want to know what Seahawk player(s), coach(s), or any staff members name who 100% said this and I also want thee exact time and qoute of what they said and I want to know who they said this to!

  • GmanS05

    The CBA says “A player’s Salary shall also include any and all consideration received
    by the player or his Player Affiliate from a Club or Club Affiliate”. The meaning of “club” is obvious enough, but I never found where “Club Affiliate” was actually defined. All the NFL would have to do to prevent GoFundMe loopholes in the salary cap is declare that fan groups count as “Club Affiliates” and, therefore, any money such groups pay a player count as part of his salary and the team’s salary cap.

  • T. Jensen

    Not that it matters but I think the minimum donation for sites like this is $5.

    • Right, still $5 isn’t much to improve the quality of your team.

  • Holy hell! I had no idea that this would be 26 comments. I just thought it was a decent idea by these guys because the 2011 CBA could have never predicted something like crowdfunding would happen or this idea would occur. At the least, this guy came up with something that could cause a response from the NFL, which I think is cool in itself.

    I’m gonna look through the comments, hoping everyone kept it friendly haha

    Check out this asshole haha:

    From “Josh”—RT @stderr: @ZackMooreNFL Serious question, are you 12? I ask cause if you think the NFL will allow teams to circumvent the cap through an anonymous crowdfund, you can’t be an adult.

    • McGeorge


      You missed the obvious response

      “Well, yes, I do have 12 inches, if you really want to know”

      or John Candy’s line from Splash

      “Hey Roring, jag har en tums penis.”

      • It’s incredible the way that some people literally talk in a manner as if they’re 100% right about everything they’ve ever said. I mainly posted this article because it’s a really interesting concept. This guy was way too upset lol

        • David J. Kubik

          I have been 100% right about everything I have ever said, because I am awesome. Except for all my disagreements with my mother, because she is smarter than me.

  • FWIW, I dont think there is anything that would prohibit this as long as no person involved in the Seahawks organization was involved. Once a member of the Seattle club would pledge any money I believe it would be considered an affiliate as you would then have “organizational” money being used to push someone into a contract.

    That said Wilson would have no incentive to really consider this unless the money was so extreme that he could not make it up in endorsements elsewhere. The Jets would pay Wilson $25 million a year and the off the field money in the NY market he would have the chance to make would likely dwarf any “team friendly” contract and crowdfunding effort.

    • Bo Jørgensen

      But Wilson is involved and he is a part of the CBA. As i wrote before, he can’t take any money from an outside angency if there are any conditions about his playing contract.

      Look at Article 14 section 2 in the CBA.

      • McGeorge

        How will the below be interpreted? It’s pretty vague. Any endorsement could be called into question. What if Russel Wilson or Richard Sherman get paid $$$ to endorse Nike? Maybe there is a secret deal by Nike to keep them in Seattle?

        Section 2. Circumvention: Neither the parties hereto, nor any Club or player shall enter into any agreement, Player Contract, Offer Sheet or other transaction which in-cludes any terms that are designed to serve the purpose of defeating or circumventing the intention of the parties as reflected by the provisions of this Agreement. However, any conduct permitted by this Agreement shall not be considered to be a violation of this Section.

        • Bo Jørgensen

          Only endorsement that requires that you play for a certain team are forbidden. A player can’t make any agreements, contracs or transactions that interferes with the intentions of the CBA, including the intentions of the salary cap.

          Yes it is pretty vague article but i will be this article that will be used if an outside agency (here a crowdfunder) tries to mess up the salary cap.

          • McGeorge

            Where does the CBA say that? Not in 14 – 2.
            Doe sit say it elsewhere?

      • McGeorge

        Where does it say anything about the conditions of the contract, such as the player playing in a local?

  • Bo Jørgensen

    There is a article in the CBA that forbids a player to make a contract with an outside agency, that have anything to do about his contract with the team. It’s at broad article but if a player takes money from an outside agency to stay with a specific team, that would be a violation of this article.

    Article 14 section 2.
    “Section 2. Circumvention: Neither the parties hereto, nor any Club or player shall
    enter into any agreement, Player Contract, Offer Sheet or other transaction which includes
    any terms that are designed to serve the purpose of defeating or circumventing
    the intention of the parties as reflected by the provisions of this Agreement. However,
    any conduct permitted by this Agreement shall not be considered to be a violation of
    this Section.”

  • Dr__P

    How the player is paid is interesting but not really the competitive issue. The SALARY CAP is the number that the NFL is worried about.

  • deuce_seven

    Are donations anonymous? What’s stopping a deep pocketed owner from dropping a big chunk into the pot? Easy way to pay your player and circumvent the cap.

  • DolphinsRuleAll

    SO many things wrong with this proposal. First, you’re essentially trying to figure out a way to circumvent the cap. That right there, could never be allowed to fly or it would spoil the integrity of the game. The cap is there to keep the playing field relatively level, and this would violate the spirit of that in every way.

    Did anyone actually read what he plans to do with the “$5M”? That’s what tips off any reasonable person to the fact that it’d never be permitted. He wants to create a company to act as a sort of corporate sponsor, and then hope Wilson agrees to take a pittance from the actual team. The glaring problem there is that if this were allowed, players jerseys would already be plastered with *real* sponsors something akin to what you see in NASCAR. The advertising and sponsorship rules and regulations already set up for the league are stringent and complex, and I’m sure there’s already rules in place that strike this entire idea irrelevant.

    All that being said, just $1.4K after almost three weeks shows that at least there aren’t that many Seahawks fans who are dumb enough to think it’d work. Don’t be like the Patriots, trying to figure out ways for the rules not to apply to you.

    You do your best with what you have, that’s what this game is all about.

  • Dawgishly

    The Seahawks leadership, representing Paul Allen’s ownership interest in the club, are working with Russell through his agent Mark Rodgers to complete this negotiation. Neither side has any interest in receiving supplemental funds from Seahawk’s fans. In fact, such alternative financing vehicles would create potential breaches of the NFL’s and NFLPA’s CBA.

    We appreciate your desire to see an agreement be completed. Both parties are optimistic that an agreement will be reached. But these negotiations are highly complex, structured contracts. It takes time to work through the details, please be patient.

    If this campaign is successful in raising a material amount of money, it will be extremely destructive to the reputations of our team, the club owner, our city and our QB.

    Russell would like this campaign to be stopped immediately and that any contributions received be donated to the Seattle Children’s Hospital in the name of the 12’s. Thank you all for your understanding.