Beware the Fair Offer

Last week, I tested how much your team's record affects your ability to re-sign your players. During this testing, I always sent the "Fair Offer" that is suggested by the player. This offer is a pretty hefty amount of cash based on the player's position and OVR. Gone are the days of being able to tweak your offer over and over again in the same week until they finally accept. J.G. Wentworth is whispering into the ear of every pending free agent: It's their money, and they want it now. 

You would think since this "Fair Offer" (I will continue to put quotes around the phrase out of spite for how many guys flat out rejected my "fair offers" during this testing) is put out there by the player (and programmed by EA), that most of them would accept it. That is far from the case. 

There are two times when you can negotiate with your players:

  • Between Weeks 3 and 17 as their turn comes up
  • After the playoffs

Starting in Week 3, your players with the highest OVR will begin to negotiate with you. If you don't get a deal done by Week 17, you will get one last chance after the playoffs are over. At this point, it's sudden death. You only get one offer, and you better make it a good one: In my testing, when waiting until after the playoffs, players accepted the "Fair Offer" only 51% of the time. This is a drop from the 60% who accept if you offer as soon as they are ready to negotiate. 

Do Better Players Accept More Fair Offers?

Here is a breakdown of how often players in each OVR rating group accepted my "Fair Offer": 

OVR % Yes
90-99 57%
80-89 62%
70-79 56%
60-69 50%

There is a dip for the crappy players, but this could be due to the fact that I just didn't have many crappy players on the test roster. There were only 36 offers made for that group compared to an average of over 120 for the other three. Or it could be because the players are not only crappy, but stupid too. 

Do Certain Positions Accept More Fair Offers?

Yes No % Yes
LT 22 5 81%
RT 12 6 67%
LOLB 6 3 67%
DT 17 10 63%
SS 17 10 63%
C 11 7 61%
MLB 11 7 61%
FS 11 7 61%
LE 16 11 59%
QB 10 8 56%
Yes No % Yes
TE 15 12 56%
LG 10 8 56%
ROLB 5 4 56%
K 5 4 56%
P 5 4 56%
CB 19 17 53%
RG 9 9 50%
HB 13 14 48%
RE 8 10 44%
WR 15 21 42%

The Left Tackle stands out here. I had Left Tackles rated 90, 80, and 70, and offered them each "Fair Offers" 9 times. They accepted it right away 7 times, 7 times, and 8 times respectively. Running backs, right ends, and diva wide receivers were the only positions who accepted under 50%. It didn't matter the rating for these guys either. 

How Often do the Same Players Respond to the Same "Fair Offers"?

I thought these numbers were especially interesting. I offered each player the same "fair offer" in 9 different seasons. The left column tells us how many of those nine offers were accepted, and the right column gives us the percentage of players who accepted that many times.

Total Accepts % of Players
9 0%
8 4%
7 15%
6 13%
5 35%
4 24%
3 9%
2 0%
1 0%
0 0%

More than half of the players landed right in the middle: 59% accepted the "fair offer" either 4 or 5 out of 9 times. Nobody accepted or rejected it every time. This feels strange. There is no real reliability or predictability to whether your player will accept your "fair offer." For many of these players, the record didn't change, the offer didn't change, and the week it was sent didn't change.

Here's the most frightening part, the biggest reason to fear the fair offer: Several times, I had players flat out reject my very first "fair offer" and decide to test free agency. I wasn't low balling them. Nothing changed. But they walked away right away. This happened enough to make me never want to send a "fair offer" to someone I really definitely want to keep.

Beware

So overall, only a little more than half of your players will accept your "fair offer." Once they reject your first "fair offer," it doesn't matter how many times you re-send it. They will never accept it. And it usually only takes 3-4 weeks before they get angry and decide they won't re-sign. Considering there's even even a risk they tell you to pound sand right away, send "fair offers" at your own risk! 

Update

Reddit user Youre_part_eggplant pointed out a pretty glaring oversight in the above data: There was no check against the Predictability trait which is supposed to make contract negotiations a little easier. Oops! I went back through and checked the trait for all of the offers listed above, and here's what I found:

Accepted Rejected
Predictable 57% 43%
Unpredictable 58% 42%

So...maybe don't buy the Predictability trait.

Dan Chancellor

Orlando, Florida

I created Deep Dive Gaming as an excuse to post more charts about the games I love to play. I live in Florida with my wife, son, and a random assortment of cats.