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Should NFL Rookie Salaries Be Kept in Check?
Posted by MattyGabe at 6:04PM on 5-18-09

" Thirty-five newly minted millionaires -- the cream of the NFL rookie class -- gathered in Los Angeles over the weekend to pose for their trading-card photos.

On the opposite coast this week, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the league's 32 owners will gather for their annual May meetings and talk about ways to keep those rookie salaries in check.

Among the many topics up for discussion in the two-day meetings, which begin Tuesday, is a rookie salary cap that probably will be part of a new collective bargaining agreement. After all, where's the justice in a rookie who has yet to take a snap earning more than a perennial Pro Bowl player?

  I'd have to say absolutely. The completely logical thing to do here is to have a cap or limit on the utmost a contract for a first-year player can be. Maybe stretch the limits to the second or possibly third year.

The only problem with logic, is that the people on the other side of the table, the players themselves and more importantly their money-hungry agents (calling Scott Boras, anyone?) certainly won't be easy to deal with. I just think it's a bit rediculous that some teams in the NFL and to an extent the MLB hate to draft first because of the financial ramifications that come with it. Here in Pittsburgh we see this, because Alvarez has been the first true top-5 prospect that we've drafted in over a decade, and even that almost didn't happen because his agent (once again, calling Scott Boras) disputed the contract. I'm not disputing that athletes get paid millions of dollars to do what they do, I'm just saying that it's a bit rediculous that these younger kids are getting paid so much money just because they're believed to be able to play at a certain level, and yet no one truly knows if they'll ever pan out. Of course, everyone's heard of Ryan Leaf, but you get my point.

Not that it's perfect, either, but the NHL puts limits on rookie contracts, and because of it, first-rounders are RARELY traded away, EVER. And if they are, they demand a sweet return for sure. That is because rookie contracts are capped, and only bonus money can be used to pay that player (which is outside of the salary cap). The Penguins were excited to draft Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Fleury, etc. because they could get this high-value prospects for a reasonable price until they proved they could perform. The Patriots, Steelers, Eagles, etc. all traded into the lower rounds to get better "bargain" picks that are less of a gamble and more of a steal in the long-run (anyone remember where James Harrison was drafted? What about Troy Polamalu? Willie Parker? What? None of them were in the top ten choices? Surprising!)

Bottomline: This is something that definitely needs to get done if the NFL wants the draft to be something that levels the playing field more each year, but it definitely won't happen if the players union has anything to do with it.

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Member #: 12
Total Posts: 184

Posted at 6:57PM on 5-19-09

I've said for years that there should be a standard rookie pay. I think it's ridiculous that a kid who has not played a down in the NFL is going to make more that a proven veteran!





Member #: 1
Total Posts: 273

Posted at 13:40PM on 5-22-09

Post by Fashza at 6:57PM on 5-19-09
"I've said for years that there should be a standard rookie pay. I think it's ridiculous that a kid who has not played a down in the NFL is going to make more that a proven veteran! "

Absolutely true. The only problem is that the agents and players alike have been getting fat off of contracts like this, so it'll be difficult to impossible to get anything reasonable done. I wouldn't be surprised if the owners take a hard stance on this and force a lockout.


"If sloth were an industry, I'd be General Motors." --Vincent van Gui  


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