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Jack Crasher rule
#1

Procedurally, the Jack Crasher rule makes sense. From HO's and GM's perspective, the contract post is just a formality to confirm contract negotiations that typically happen in private channels. It reduces excess discussion in the contract subforum and gives GMs more stability.

From the player perspective, the Jack Crasher rule as written is an enormous roadblock on contract negotiations that only benefits management. I believe it's inherently broken, and can't be fixed in its current permutation. Here's the problems:

1. Negotiation flexibility

The Jack Crasher rule puts all of the communications onus on the players and absconds all responsibility for the GMs. Players have to be extremely careful with their language under the rule as written. With no context, a player who says "I would need more than 3 years" is safe but a player who says "I could do 3 years x $4m" has reflected enough interest to give that team standing for a complaint. Tiptoeing around contract details forces players to bid on themselves either too aggressively or too ambiguously, neither of which is a safe or optimal tactic in contract negotiations. Meanwhile, GMs can make any private offers or handshake deals they want and escape accountability.

2. Asymmetric "off-ramps"

Because the rule as written only controls player behavior, it creates asymmetric end-of-negotiation times for players and GMs. A player is locked in the second a handshake deal is done. Due to ambiguous rule text, a player is debatably locked in the second they make a concrete contract offer the team is willing to accept. The GM is notably not locked in at this point--their lock-in time is on forum post. The team can choose to go in a different direction and reject the already-complete handshake offer, and the rules allow them to without punishment. Players who make a handshake deal and change their minds before the post are punished; teams are not. This asymmetric rule puts all the power in the hands of the GMs and minimizes agency for players.

3. No equitable protections for players

Absent a punishment for teams, players have no recourse or protection that allows them any safety against GMs during contract negotiations. FAs are constricted by tampering on one end and Jack Crasher on the other, limiting their movement options and putting all of the negative pressure on the player.

4. It can't be fixed

There are completely valid reasons why a GM would want to change course on a signing. Trade offers, UFA holdouts--cap crunch happens. The Jack Crasher rule as a player restriction helps them in that regard. Locking the team into the handshake deal is an undue burden on the team. That's why the Jack Crasher rule is inequitable, unfixable, and should be abolished or completely reworked. GMs have shifted the weight of this burden onto their players, and the rule will continue to be a burden on free agent mobility as long as it exists.

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#2

I think one of the biggest issues is I don't want my negotiations to be public and I don't want to look like an idiot posting a signing thread and then having a player back out. Say I have a player agree to a 3 year $5 mil contract. I post my thread and it's available for all to see. If the Jack Crasher rule doesn't exist other GMs can say "Hey, I know you accepted $5 mil to go over there, but I can offer you $10 mil to come over here!". The guy I just signed thinks that's way better, backs out of my deal and goes to the other team. I then look like an incompetent GM who can't close a deal before posting his official signing thread.

My solution (if the Jack Crasher rule is to be changed) would be to put an officially re-signing thread in the locker room. Player still has to accept on the forum officially and eliminates all your worries, I get to know 100% for sure that the player is signing with my team before posting the official signing thread.

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#3

maybe its just me but i dont think a lot of these are major issues, at least not one any FAs I’ve talked to have really expressed. Sure you have to be careful with your wording but I don’t think its too difficult to just make it clear, from both a player and a gm standpoint, that things are subject to change until both agree that they aren’t. GMs can get around point 4 by saying “we’re still figuring out our roster, but we could offer you x dollars at x years, if we can make it work” instead of “we’d like to sign you for x dollars at x years”, and the same applies to players. is it annoying to have to be picky with wording? sure, but i dont think it like decimates player mobility or forces people to steer clear from FA at all costs. The rule has worked fine for a long time now, only thing i would change would maybe be a rewording for clarity

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#4

03-06-2020, 02:03 PMnour Wrote: maybe its just me but i dont think a lot of these are major issues, at least not one any FAs I’ve talked to have really expressed. Sure you have to be careful with your wording but I don’t think its too difficult to just make it clear, from both a player and a gm standpoint, that things are subject to change until both agree that they aren’t. GMs can get around point 4 by saying “we’re still figuring out our roster, but we could offer you x dollars at x years, if we can make it work” instead of “we’d like to sign you for x dollars at x years”, and the same applies to players. is it annoying to have to be picky with wording? sure, but i dont think it like decimates player mobility or forces people to steer clear from FA at all costs. The rule has worked fine for a long time now, only thing i would change would maybe be a rewording for clarity

The problem is that the current ruling explicitly doesn't say that players can pivot out of a handshake agreement. It's extremely cut and dry--if a player makes a verbal contract agreement, they are obligated to sign with that team.

The problem with wording is not being picky. Legalese in contract negotiations is fine. The problem is that, under the current rule, only players are punished for being imprecise with language in contract negotiations. GMs can get away with significantly more in terms of negotiation language, and it's my opinion that we should hold GMs to a higher standard.

Sure the rule has not been challenged yet, but why would that stop us from writing clearer and more equitable rules today? Deprioritizing this rule feels like a deflection, which really sucks to hear from HO when the rule is significantly more restrictive for the larger player group than the smaller GM group.

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#5

What's the Jack crasher rule?

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#6

03-06-2020, 02:49 PMMutedfaith Wrote: What's the Jack crasher rule?

The Jack Crasher Rule
If a Free Agent uses words which reflect signing for a team, then disputes that signing, they will be penalized via suspension.

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#7

Is there an example of this handcuffing someone? It's meant specifically to protect teams, and that's what it does.

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#8

03-06-2020, 04:03 PMGrapehead Wrote: Is there an example of this handcuffing someone? It's meant specifically to protect teams, and that's what it does.

Why do we need to demonstrate abuse if a rule is abusable? Every time we wait for demonstrated abuse there's a shitshow. I lived through the management autodraft controversy in SMJHL as Detroit's GM. Why wait?

Also, the whole point of the post is that protecting teams is fine, but not when it's at the expense of the players. The rule asymmetrically favors management, who should be held to a higher standard than players anyways. Saying the rule is protecting managers isn't responsive to that argument

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#9

03-06-2020, 03:56 PMml002 Wrote:
03-06-2020, 02:49 PMMutedfaith Wrote: What's the Jack crasher rule?

The Jack Crasher Rule
If a Free Agent uses words which reflect signing for a team, then disputes that signing, they will be penalized via suspension.
And this doesn't work the same way the other way around?
Becaude then I totally see this threads point.

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#10

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#11

Yeah I am actually with Grok here. And in general I think this league's structures and processes favour GMs far more than players, not the least because of information asymmetry but also things like this.

@grok what did you think of tommy's suggestion of a contract signing area in team lockerroom areas... Might give those areas an actual purpose and is kind of like getting the trade deal sorted in the GM area of the site before it is posted.

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#12

03-06-2020, 06:06 PMTomasnz Wrote: Yeah I am actually with Grok here. And in general I think this league's structures and processes favour GMs far more than players, not the least because of information asymmetry but also things like this.

@grok what did you think of tommy's suggestion of a contract signing area in team lockerroom areas... Might give those areas an actual purpose and is kind of like getting the trade deal sorted in the GM area of the site before it is posted.

I think that makes sense as an alternative (thanks @TommySalami!). It resolves the biggest issue which is the asymmetric "off ramps"

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#13

I could do 3x4m isn’t an agreement in my eyes, I feel like it’s only an agreement if I re-iterate “So you’re cool with signing 3x4m?” And they say yes.

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#14

03-06-2020, 08:14 PMKeygan Wrote: I could do 3x4m isn’t an agreement in my eyes, I feel like it’s only an agreement if I re-iterate “So you’re cool with signing 3x4m?” And they say yes.

The rule doesn't look for an agreement, it looks for statements reflecting that the player will sign with the team. Under the rule as written and in that scenario, the GM would at least have standing for a HO hearing.

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#15

03-06-2020, 09:10 PMgrok Wrote:
03-06-2020, 08:14 PMKeygan Wrote: I could do 3x4m isn’t an agreement in my eyes, I feel like it’s only an agreement if I re-iterate “So you’re cool with signing 3x4m?” And they say yes.

The rule doesn't look for an agreement, it looks for statements reflecting that the player will sign with the team. Under the rule as written and in that scenario, the GM would at least have standing for a HO hearing.

I mean... we could tighten up the language on the rule, but I would not be in favour of removing this rule.

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