Sorting Out the Fines for Missing the Chiefs Mandatory Minicamp

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 9: Players of the Kansas City Chiefs stretch prior to a rookie minicamp at the Chiefs practice facility on May 9, 2009 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)

According to the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), teams are allowed one minicamp each off season where every player is required to attend. Today, that mandatory minicamp begins for the Kansas City Chiefs and goes through the weekend.

The Chiefs have had few issues with players missing the mandatory minicamp in recent years and only a handful of players holding out through the early part of training camp. In fact, the Chiefs are about average at getting their number one picks signed and into training camp on time.

Now, I want to emphasize that mandatory minicamp and training camp are two different events that have different ramifications if a player is late or misses them. Members of the media mix this one up all the time so keep a keen eye out for mistakes. I claim to be no expert but I think the language in the CBA is pretty clear. Maybe THE PARADE and his law degree can help us out if need be but I don't think we'll need it.

For the record, I believe that Brian Waters will report to minicamp this morning and 54% of you agree. And according to Bob Gretz, Brian Waters was spotted in the Chiefs office building last night. Pretty good sign that he'll show up this morning, no?

Let's take a look at the language of the CBA to find out what punishment Brian Waters and any other Kansas City Chiefs player would face if they skip this weekend's minicamp or training camp.

Here is a link to the full CBA, sorted by article. The area we're concerned with is Article VIII, which details the rules and regulations for disciplining players for a variety of infractions. Any punishment from being overweight to throwing a football into the stands is in there. The language for some of these punishments is very similar so keep a close eye on the exact details of the article.

There is one thing I need to mention before we get into this. The language below on the fines was written specifically for 2006. There is a clause in Article VIII that explains how the fines increase and I'll get to that towards the end.

Let's check out the language if a player is late to mandatory minicamp.

Unexcused late reporting for mandatory off-season minicamp, team meeting, practice, transportation, curfew, scheduled appointment with Club physician or trainer, or scheduled promotional activity—maximum fine of $1,500.

That's $1,500 per infraction by the way.

And if a player misses a day of mandatory minicamp?

Unexcused missed mandatory off-season minicamp, team meeting, practice, curfew, bed check, scheduled appointment with Club physician or trainer, material failure to follow Club rehabilitation directions, or scheduled promotional activity—maximum fine of $8,000.

Again that means $8,000 per infraction.

Let's check out what the CBA says about being late or missing training camp.

Unexcused late reporting for or absence from pre-season training camp by a player under contract except those signed as an Unrestricted Free Agent pursuant to Article XIX (Veteran Free Agency)—maximum fine of $14,000 per day.

Okay. Here's where is gets just a bit more complicated. Article VIII has these nice round numbers in it which were from 2006. What are the fines today, in 2009?

The amounts set forth in Section 1(a) above and Section 7 below shall be increased for the 2007 League Year, and each League Year thereafter during the term of this Agreement, at the rate of annual TR growth, up to a maximum annual growth of 10% per year.

Basically, from 2006 on, the fines increase at most by 10% each season. I did a little digging and I found an article from last season by a source I trust very much - Adam Schefter. He was talking about Chad Johnson and mentioned how much the daily fine was for missing minicamp.

If he was willing to pass up a quarter-million dollars, Johnson would be able to shrug off the $8,638 in daily fines he would be subject to if he failed to report to the team's mandatory minicamp.

So in 2008, the fine for missing a mandatory minicamp was $8,638. That can only increase by a maximum of 10% so Brian Waters would be looking at a fine of at most just over $9,000 for missing minicamp. The training camp numbers Schefter gave us for 2008 were $15,116 per day. Taking in the max 10% increase and 2009's training camp fines are at max around $16,600 per day.

I've already read a couple of erroneous reports about players missing minicamp this year and those reports claiming that the player could be fined over $14,000. This is simply not true. That's why I mentioned at the beginning of this post that we need to keep a close eye on the punishment differences between minicamp infractions and training camp infractions. Take this example from Pro Football Talk:

The Minnesota Vikings have launched their mandatory offseason minicamp.

And veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield isn’t there, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

It’s unknown at this point whether his absence is excused or unexcused.

If unexcused, he would be subject to fines in the range of $15,000 per day.

That is not correct. Mike Florio (and many others) are getting this wrong. They are confusing minicamp with training camp.

Here's a quick summary of the fines:

  • Late to minicamp: ~$2,000 (The CBA is unclear if it is a daily or lump sum fine)
  • Missing minicamp: $9,079 (The CBA is unclear if it is a daily or lump sum fine)
  • Late or absent from training camp: ~$16,600 per day

Take a look at the CBA for yourself and let me know if I missed anything.

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