Free agency and the salary cap era in professional sports has generated an unintended consequence in the regard that successful clubs often find themselves in the position of not being able to retain the players that were responsible for the success.
Some clubs have tried to circumvent the rules, only to find the penalty for being caught costly.
Players have gone to poorer performing clubs on big contracts, only to regret making the move. Successful players are highly competitive by nature and cold, hard cash frequently does not supply the solace required to accept playing for a club whose cause is lost.
Top players have often resorted to restructuring their pay package in order to stay with a winning club.
Richmond Tigers star Jack Riewoldt is the latest example.
He recently traded in some cold, hard cash for some extended job security, taking a pay cut so that Richmond could keep on top of the AFL.
He will make less in 2019 than he is making for 2018, but he faced the reality that he could easily find himself plying his trade in Queensland, or worse still, Carlton.
“No, I took a pay cut. I definitely took a pay cut,” Riewoldt said on Fox Footy’s AFL 360.“So I had another year on my contract, next year, so it’s basically a restructuring, really. So next year’s wiped and it’s a three-year contract.No, I am on less money next year than I am on this year.”
We would offer to cover the difference, but that would mean that we would have to take a pay cut and it would take more than a few of us ink-stained wretches to cover Riewoldt’s sacrifice.
Without the pay cut accepted by Riewoldt, and possibly other Tigers as well, it is doubtful that the Tigers could have retained players such as Bachar Houli, Shaun Grigg and Jayden Short.
The Tigers are said to be on the prowl for Tom Lynch, who wants to escape Gold Coast in the worst possible way.
The scenario is Richmond is much the same as it was in Hawthorn when the Hawks were soaring above the league.
Win, or make money. That is the question.