NFLPA signs deal with electronic-signature company

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 23, 2013
Dear incoming NFL rookie: Worried your $8 million contract might get held up by a balky fax machine? Worry no more. The NFL Players Association announced a deal Tuesday with an electronic-signature company that will give players being drafted this week, along with their current NFL brethren, access to technology that makes signing a contract as easy as hitting a few buttons on their cellphone. The well-timed deal between the NFLPA and DocuSign comes two days before the draft and with memories of the Denver Broncos-Elvis Dumervil fax fiasco still fresh on everyone's mind. Last month, the Broncos and their defensive end were unable to seal the deal on a restructured contract because Dumervil couldn't get the signed paperwork back to the team in time via fax. This arrangement will help prevent a repeat of that Dumervilian disaster, the NFLPA said. ''With the amount of travel our players do, DocuSign adds value by enabling them to sign anything, anywhere,'' said George Atallah, spokesman for the NFLPA. The Broncos-Dumervil deal was scuttled in part because the three parties - team, player and agent - were in three cities and on a tight deadline to complete the deal. Denver needed the paperwork into the NFL by 1:59 p.m. on March 15 or the team would have owed Dumervil $12 million instead of the $8 million the parties had agreed to in the restructured deal. Dumervil had reportedly found a fax machine at a Fed Ex Kinkos in the Miami area and was dealing with the contract there. But with the deadline approaching and no paperwork showing up on its fax, the Broncos had no choice but to release Dumervil. As a free agent, the defensive end looked at similar offers from the Broncos and Ravens and elected to head to Baltimore. ''At the end of the day there was no ill will or hard feelings,'' Dumervil said when he signed. ''I just felt it was a time to change scenery.'' Broncos Executive Vice President John Elway said he regretted losing Dumervil, who has 63 1/2 sacks over six seasons with Denver. ''If there's anything I would take back it's the fact that if there's a deadline, there's a deadline,'' Elway said. ''There's a reason why there's a deadline, because you can't get everything done fast enough. It's an unfortunate situation, but that won't happen again.'' When asked why the parties were using a fax machine - relatively antiquated equipment given today's technology, to say nothing of the amount of money on the line, Elway replied: ''I'm not going to get into that.'' The NFLPA already uses DocuSign in a number of areas, including player marketing deals and agent verification forms. Now, it will bring the technology to the most important thing a player signs - his contract.
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