Skip links
Madden 23 motivations

New Player Motivations In Madden 23 Are A Runaway Mechanic That Should Be Tweaked

One of the big new features coming to franchise mode in Madden 23 is “player motivations.” In theory these player motivations sound great but when you get into the day-to-day of your franchise, things might turn differently.

In previous Madden games, signing a free agent was all about how much money you offered him. The idea behind “player motivations” is that NFL players are motivated by plenty of things with money just being 1 important factor. That makes a lot of sense.

If you need a refresher on how exactly player motivations work, you can check it out in an earlier article.

There are 12 player motivations in Madden 23. Each player has up to 3 of them. When they hit free agency, these motivations will play a significant role in what team they end up signing with.

These are the player motivations:

  • Super Bowl Chase
  • Historic Championships
  • Head Coach Historic Record
  • Close To Home
  • Warm Weather State
  • Scheme Fit
  • Big Market
  • No Income Tax
  • Top Of The Depth Chart
  • Highest Offer
  • Mentor At Position
  • Team Has A Franchise QB

This will quickly turn into a problem in both online and offline franchises. In this article we are focusing mostly on it’s impact on online franchises.

Hypothetical Situation With The Cowboys

In an online franchise with 32 owners, there is bound to be a skill gap between players. I’ll just make up a hypothetical situation after 3 seasons.

Let’s say an owner in our league is controlling the Dallas Cowboys and has a custom coach (or a top tier existing coach). Here is how that player did in the first 3 seasons:

  • Season 1: 12-5 (Lost In Conference Championship)
  • Season 2: 14-3 (Lost in Super Bowl)
  • Season 3: 16-1 (Won Super Bowl)

These records are made up but they represent what a top tier skill level user’s yearly results might look like in franchise mode.

Obviously, because this player was able to do so well in his first 3 seasons, he was able to turn a young quarterback into a Franchise QB. Progression happens really fast when you win a lot of games.

Let’s take a look at what this owner will see when he makes his way into free agency.

  • Super Bowl Chase = Max Interest
  • Historic Championships = Max Interest
  • Head Coach Historic Record = Max Interest
  • Close To Home = Neutral
  • Warm Weather State = Max Interest
  • Scheme Fit = Max Interest (You can easily change your scheme)
  • Big Market = Mid-Max Interest
  • No Income Tax = Max Interest (Texas has no state income tax)
  • Top Of The Depth Chart = Max Interest (If you want a guy bad enough)
  • Highest Offer = Neutral
  • Mentor At Position = Likely Poor Interest
  • Team Has A Franchise QB = Max Interest

In this scenario, out of the 12 potential interests you have 9 where you will get a max interest from potential free agents.

There will only be 2 “Neutral” motivations: Close To Home and Highest Offer.

There isn’t anything you can do about whether or not you are close to a player’s home. That is just the luck of the draw (but there are a lot of talented prospects coming out of the state of Texas).

And whether or not you give a high offer is fully in your control so that also comes out to neutral.

There will only be 1 potential “poor” or negative interest motivation which is Mentor At Position. That being said, any player that you are really going hard after in free agency is extremely unlikely to have that motivation on him.

What this means is that basically any free agent this owner wants to sign will likely have at leas 2 out of 3 motivations at max interest.

Let’s compare that to what it might look like with a different team in the same franchise.

Hypothetical Situation With The Lions

We’re still in the same online franchise but this time we have a good owner who is controlling the Detroit Lions. He plays all his games on time and is slowly improving in the league.

He has a custom coach or the Lions default head coach: Dan Campbell. Here’s how this owner faired in the first 3 seasons.

  • Season 1: 3-14
  • Season 2: 6-11
  • Season 3: 9-8

Again, these records are made up but they represent a user in many online franchises who is a great member, has a passion for the game, and is slowly getting better at Madden. Any of us that play in online franchises know that these members are the bedrock of your league.

Let’s take a look at what this owner will see in free agency.

  • Super Bowl Chase = Low Interest
  • Historic Championships = Low Interest
  • Head Coach Historic Record = Low Interest
  • Close To Home = Neutral
  • Warm Weather State = Low Interest
  • Scheme Fit = Max Interest (You can easily change your scheme)
  • Big Market = Low Interest
  • No Income Tax = Low Interest (Michigan has a state income tax)
  • Top Of The Depth Chart = Max Interest (If you want a guy bad enough)
  • Highest Offer = Neutral
  • Mentor At Position = Likely Poor Interest
  • Team Has A Franchise QB = Neutral

In this scenario, a mid-tier skilled member of your franchise will have 2 out of 12 player motivations as Max Interest.

He will have 7 poor interests motivations and 3 neutral motivations. This is a terrible ratio. This owner will be incredibly lucky to have any free agent interested in signing with him.

It’s a Runaway Mechanic

This is going to end up with the top 3-6 members of an online franchise easily improving their already stacked teams while the bottom 26-29 members having their teams slowly get worse and worse.

And this likely will all happen no later than season 3 of your franchise.

Because of the way progression works in Madden, online franchises in previous years could already get out of hand as you got into later seasons. It was simple process.

Gamers who were more skilled won more games, got more statistics, won more awards, got more XP for playing in the playoffs, etc. That leads to highly skilled owners with highly rated teams competing against lower skilled owners with lower rated teams.

Free agency has historically been where the lower skilled players could place a max bid or 2 on an elite player that one of the highly skilled gamers in their league could no longer afford to pay. Sure, that could still happen with the new system, but it gives the highly skilled owners even more ammo that they certainly don’t need.

Hopefully this feature gets tuned in a responsible way. The alternative is users quitting their leagues and online franchises slowly dying.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

Since there is no ea play early access a week before.. .. Will you have an offensive ebook ready on early release launch day like you usually do? (aug 16)

1 year ago

The missing balance lever for Madden 23 is, obviously, compensatory draft picks. In real life, teams that lose players to other teams via offseason free agency receive additional draft picks. This mechanic has never been represented in Madden, and its absence dramatically impacts how teams are built in the game relative to real life. EA really needs to add this as soon as possible.

In the meantime, I have a few thoughts:

1 – the salary cap is a rather obvious counterbalance against one team signing all of the free agents.

2 – the offseason free agency period in Madden 23 limits the number of offers teams may place at one time; one powerful team cannot possibly snipe all the desired free agents at once because each team may only have five active negotiations during the first signing period.

3 – it’s a long-established fact that the 32 NFL teams are not on equal playing fields, and representing their differences in the manner that they are in Madden 23 is quite appropriate.

As for potential solutions and workaround for this year (which… I am bothered that this article complains about a problem then offers no suggestions as to how to fix it?):

1 – perhaps this site could write an article cataloging the pitch strengths of each team for online league commissioners to use as a reference; this could be used to grant lesser skilled players access to stronger teams as a counter-balance against a skilled player with a strong team pulling away from the pack.

2 – maybe leagues could implement house rules limiting the use of in-season re-sign players in some way, so that the active negotiation limitations is able to act as a strong counterbalance? For example, maybe leagues could enforce a rule where teams must allow all Star dev or worse players to reach offseason free agency.

+ +