I’m all for a much greater variety of people as a source of contracts.
Why should contracts be bound to crowns and wealthy, influential people?
Why couldn’t there be poor individuals seeking help from mercenaries? Offering something which may be more valuable to you, instead of crowns.
Like a single woman, seeking to save her child from the clutches of a necromancer, offering you an armor (weapon) of her late husband as payment.
Or an old bowyer, ready to give you his best bow if you manage to save his daughter (or woman he loves), taken away by bandits to their hideout.
Or a farmer, seeking vengeance upon direwolves responsible for the deaths of his wife and children while he was away.. etc.
Well, it also can be a bandit leader or necromancer (not so poor individuals), as suggested above, offering you some of his treasure as a reward if you kill / plunder and/or bring something not worth crowns, but valuable to him.
Not to mention, if these contract offers were made as events (only available in case you don’t have active contract already), you could refuse their offer and try to kill them instead, but face a strong(or unknown) opposition with unknown reward(?) or gain.
This would be interesting. ^_^