A few weeks ago, this blog highlighted the value of endorsement deals for both athletes and the companies seeking a public figure to represent their brand. However, for most professional athletes, their player contract will be the most important document they can sign. For this reason, it is important for professional athletes to negotiate terms that reflect their best interests.

Take, for example, former American League MVP Dustin Pedroia. Avid readers of this blog might recall that Pedroia is one of a growing number of major leaguers benefiting from an endorsement deal with shoe maker New Balance, but more recently news broke about a reported 7-year extension to his playing contract that will pay close to $100 million through 2021. However, the story may be less about those eye-popping numbers and more about the negotiation process.

According to reports, the possibility of a contract extension – and hefty pay raise – was first discussed back in 2011. Tied to a contract through 2015, Pedroia and his representatives took their time during the negotiation process to evaluate the player’s goals. For some, it may be about maximizing their financial return – and with the prospect of free agency looming without an extension, that remained an option for Pedroia. However, other factors were at play. Pedroia enjoys playing in Boston and being the face of the organization, a situation he may not be able to fully replicate elsewhere.

Still, while his heart may be with the Red Sox, he deserves to be compensated fairly. With the details of the renegotiation now public, it is clear that the athlete representation involved ensured that such is the case. Now, both the player and the ball club can move forward – one knowing they tied up their best player for the long haul, and the other knowing he can now focus solely on baseball. In the end, coming to the negotiating table with a clear understanding of the player’s interests allowed for a contract that should benefit everyone – including the fans – for years to come.

Source: WEEI.com, “How Dustin Pedroia found himself with a 7-year contract extension,” Rob Bradford, July 23, 2013