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NFL Week 1: Vested veteran contracts are now fully-guaranteed

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For those players with four or more years of experience, Week 1 means that their contracts are fully-guaranteed.

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

A big congratulations should be extended to the veterans on NFL rosters that have at least four years of experience in the league. As of this weekend, those "vested" veterans now have fully-guaranteed contracts for the season.

The full guarantee of a "vested" veteran salary is obviously beneficial to a player that has made it past the average NFL career (3.5 years), but it can also be a curse for high-paid players that are past their prime (Moise Fokou, Adrian Wilson, Champ Bailey, etc.) or fringe guys (Kellen Davis, Darryl Tapp, Connor Barth, etc.) with little leverage. NFL general managers are aware of the value of keeping only a select number of "vested" veterans, because team's want the flexibility to wipe contracts off of the books if a player is not delivering on the field.

When a team signs a "vested" veteran after Week 1, the organization can sign that player for the league minimum with little risk. If the player is only good enough to last a few weeks or is just signed to fill-in for an injury, the team can drop them and their salary. It's essentially a way to beat the system, while still allowing older players to catch a last paycheck or opportunity.

The downside of the "vested" veteran clause is likely why you see players like Casey Matthews or Dennis Kelly or Jeff Maehl on the team, because organizations like the Eagles may be waiting to sign veterans to non-guaranteed contracts. That strategy is likely why the Eagles have yet to sign a veteran linebacker or wide receiver, despite being rumored to be looking for help at those positions.

Here is a list of the "vested veterans" on the Eagles roster:

LS Jon Dorenbos

OT Jason Peters

P Donnie Jones

RB Darren Sproles

OG Evan Mathis

OG Todd Herremans

LB Trent Cole

WR Brad Smith

LB DeMeco Ryans

TE Brent Celek

OT Allen Barbre

CB Cary Williams

RB LeSean McCoy

WR Jeremy Maclin

S Malcolm Jenkins

CB Bradley Fletcher

TE James Casey

LB Connor Barwin

QB Mark Sanchez

S Chris Maragos

LB Brandon Graham

OT Andrew Gardner

WR Riley Cooper

CB Nolan Carroll

S Nate Allen