Should teams use poison pill contracts to lure away free agents?

On the surface I have to say no, since I had to pay out the nose for my Detroit Red Wings tickets for years because of what the Carolina Hurricanes did in their contract offer to Sergei Fedorov. So a poison pill is a ridiculous contract clause added by a team that makes another team unwilling to match the offer. It is an effective tool to get free agents, but in the end it creates hostility amongst the teams and makes the fans pay through the nose. The Poison Pill in the Fedorov contract was a ridiculous payment made by the team if it reached the Western Conference finals. At the time the Hurricanes had no shot at doing that, and the Wings were forced to pay Fedorov a big contract and a huge bonus.

Now the Detroit Lions are considering, doing something similar to the New Orleans Saints to sign away Defense Lineman Anthony Hargrove. The Lions have until April 15th to make an offer, and they are considering adding a clause to the contract that guarantees the full amount should Hargrove play five game within the state of Louisiana.

Sports Leagues should not allow teams do crap like this. Make the guy a fair offer, and see if the other team matches it. No player is worth all this legal rambling. Especially not a player who has been suspended multiple times for violating the NFL’s Substance Abuse Policy. Stuff like this is so petty, so cheap, and it has no place in sports, or for that matter in business.

On top of that this move is particularly distasteful since Hargrove’s agent was Lions General Manger Martin Mayhew’s agent when he was a player. Mayhew admits that he would not be interested in Hargrove if it were not for the relationship with his agent, but I fail to see how any of that makes the Lions a better football team. Instead of trying to be tricky and use legal mumbo jumbo to get a player why not just concentrate on scouting players who would be easier to get into a Lions uniform.

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