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Goodell: Rookie pay scale a "waste of money"


Statick
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With the 75th annual draft in the books, there are going to be a lot of very wealthy rookies out there, some of whom will garner considerably larger contracts than their veteran teammates.

The question is, will this be the last season that we see rookies command such large salaries? The new CBA, whenever it is established, is likely to have a structure to regulate rookie salaries, which up to now have continued to grow without any sort of ceiling.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke about this issue Saturday and had some pretty strong words on the matter.

“I love Sam Bradford, and I hope he’s great, but he probably made somewhere between $40 and $45 million the night before last,” said Goodell, speaking to a group of select fans who won a random lottery to ask the commissioner questions. “He has not even hit the field yet and that’s a guaranteed contract. So if Sam Bradford can’t play, what good does that do any other NFL player? As much as I like these young rookies, and I do think they’re terrific, it’s crazy to give someone who hasn’t proven themselves on the NFL field $45 million.

“I think over these three days, we will give $600 million in guaranteed money to these rookies that you’re hearing their names. $600 million. And if let’s just say half of them don’t make it and the money is equivalent to this, that’s $300 million out the door. It doesn’t go to veterans, it doesn’t go to owners. It goes to somebody who couldn’t play the game. That’s wasting money.”

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With the 75th annual draft in the books, there are going to be a lot of very wealthy rookies out there, some of whom will garner considerably larger contracts than their veteran teammates.

The question is, will this be the last season that we see rookies command such large salaries? The new CBA, whenever it is established, is likely to have a structure to regulate rookie salaries, which up to now have continued to grow without any sort of ceiling.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke about this issue Saturday and had some pretty strong words on the matter.

“I love Sam Bradford, and I hope he’s great, but he probably made somewhere between $40 and $45 million the night before last,” said Goodell, speaking to a group of select fans who won a random lottery to ask the commissioner questions. “He has not even hit the field yet and that’s a guaranteed contract. So if Sam Bradford can’t play, what good does that do any other NFL player? As much as I like these young rookies, and I do think they’re terrific, it’s crazy to give someone who hasn’t proven themselves on the NFL field $45 million.

“I think over these three days, we will give $600 million in guaranteed money to these rookies that you’re hearing their names. $600 million. And if let’s just say half of them don’t make it and the money is equivalent to this, that’s $300 million out the door. It doesn’t go to veterans, it doesn’t go to owners. It goes to somebody who couldn’t play the game. That’s wasting money.”

I don't get what you're saying Statick. To me, it looks like Goodell SUPPORTS the idea of implementing a rookie wage scale. And I agree with him. I think the NFLPA agrees also, deep down. But they have to act like they do not like the idea in order to get something back in return. IMO, the NFLPA will go along with the rookie wage scale, IF the owners agree to lessen the length of contracts rookies are induced to sign when coming out of college.

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Good post, but I agree that you might have chosen a better 'headline' for the thread.

The NFL has long been overdue for implementation of a rookie pay scale. I think that most people who even marginally follow the NFL would agree that it makes no sense to give multi-million dollar contracts to draftees who have never even had one NFL practice, much less actual game experience.

The people who should be rewarded are those veteran players who have demonstrated their value by performance on the field.

Former NFL Players Association president Gene Upshaw was openly opposed to a rookie pay scale. It will interesting to watch the current NFL Players Association leaders dance around this issue: on one hand, they don't want to 'deprive' a prospect from maximizing his compensation; on the other hand, they would be wise to want the maximum compensation for players who have actually accomplished something on the field.

I also suspect that the agents who represent the incoming draft class would be opposed to a salary scale, since it would impact their piece of the action.

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Good post, but I agree that you might have chosen a better 'headline' for the thread.

The NFL has long been overdue for implementation of a rookie pay scale. I think that most people who even marginally follow the NFL would agree that it makes no sense to give multi-million dollar contracts to draftees who have never even had one NFL practice, much less actual game experience.

The people who should be rewarded are those veteran players who have demonstrated their value by performance on the field.

Former NFL Players Association president Gene Upshaw was openly opposed to a rookie pay scale. It will interesting to watch the current NFL Players Association leaders dance around this issue: on one hand, they don't want to 'deprive' a prospect from maximizing his compensation; on the other hand, they would be wise to want the maximum compensation for players who have actually accomplished something on the field.

I also suspect that the agents who represent the incoming draft class would be opposed to a salary scale, since it would impact their piece of the action.

True, but here's the "rub" if you will.

Owners are going to argue that the $ these rookies are getting is outrageous and needs to be lowered. Veterans are too. However, if they do lower it...there is no way in **** they're going to take the $ they're saving by not paying the rookies as much and give it to the veterans. So then you have rookies working extra hard...to earn big contracts (not a bad thing) while veterans will continue to work hard, get older, and not get $ b/c teams are just gonna continue to go young. All leading to owners having fatter pockets. The NFL already gets a pretty nice deal in not having to guarantee contracts with the way things are structured now.

At the end of the day, I think it just comes down to good scouting more than anything. Teams like the Colts are good b/c they have a good GM (yea, they get a little lucky at times too).

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True, but here's the "rub" if you will.

Owners are going to argue that the $ these rookies are getting is outrageous and needs to be lowered. Veterans are too. However, if they do lower it...there is no way in **** they're going to take the $ they're saving by not paying the rookies as much and give it to the veterans. So then you have rookies working extra hard...to earn big contracts (not a bad thing) while veterans will continue to work hard, get older, and not get $ b/c teams are just gonna continue to go young. All leading to owners having fatter pockets. The NFL already gets a pretty nice deal in not having to guarantee contracts with the way things are structured now.

At the end of the day, I think it just comes down to good scouting more than anything. Teams like the Colts are good b/c they have a good GM (yea, they get a little lucky at times too).

You make a strong point, but it's worth noting that many teams have made conscious "youth movement" choices regardless. There are teams that are willing to let proven players go elsewhere just to keep from paying them a contract they have earned.

If they implement a rookie pay scale, they need to also limit the years to which a rookie can be signed... otherwise there is little incentive to reward a solid young player with a lucrative contract he is worthy of, when they can just tie him up for 5 or 6 years and let some other team pick up the big contract.

I think teams like the Colts are able to do as well as they do because from year to year they only need to fill a relatively small handful of needs. And well, let's face it... as long as they have Peyton Manning, that offense is going to be a whole lot better than it would be with any other QB. I mean they stuck an undrafted center in front of him and he gets to the Pro Bowl every year just because of Manning. They scout well and go about free agency in a smart way. But Polian is a noted figure in the NFL because he is so savvy on the business end of it and with scouting.

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I believe in a "rookie cap" but also believe the good ones need to get more than the ones that don't make it. So why can't they get BONUSES for great seasons? That seems like a "win/win" situation to me as there would be no lost money for a high pick busting out so to speak.

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If it ain't broke then don't fix it. This is going to hurt the talent in the league in the long run, not that Goodell cares. The NFL is like the US government, constantly making new rules for no reason other than to have something to do. It's an absurdity that echoes throughout this country. Most of these overpaid decision makers are working hard at hardly working and never take the best interest of everyone into consideration before making these decisions. It's a joke that they do this crap, it's an even bigger joke that so many people cannot even think for themselves long enough to see through it for what it is.

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If it ain't broke then don't fix it. This is going to hurt the talent in the league in the long run, not that Goodell cares. The NFL is like the US government, constantly making new rules for no reason other than to have something to do. It's an absurdity that echoes throughout this country. Most of these overpaid decision makers are working hard at hardly working and never take the best interest of everyone into consideration before making these decisions. It's a joke that they do this crap, it's an even bigger joke that so many people cannot even think for themselves long enough to see through it for what it is.

I think the point of it is that it IS broken. An increasing number of high priced draft pick players don't end up playing as well as the guys who go in the 2nd round or later and it's an ever upward moving trend. Rookies are getting paid tens of millions of dollars, many times being paid more than established veteran players, based on little more than hype coming out of college; not a proven record on the NFL field.

This is not going to hurt the talent in the league. Guys like Jamarcus Russell hurt the league by stinking up the field for years and still collecting top dollar just for being popular coming out of college.

If anything this will level the field so that the young players who deserve that big money can stand on equal ground with the stars they are becoming.

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I am highly in favor of a rookie pay scale, and it will need to be loaded with escalators.

I would think that the escalator list would include the following.

** Add your own **

Starting line up.

Number of plays

Performance, (compared to other players in the league)

a rookie player could actually earn as much as any other player in the league.

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The biggest problem with the current rookie wages is not that veterans aren't getting paid enough. It's that the draft doesn't work. The whole point of the draft is to help the crappy teams become better by getting first pick of the new talent. However, when these guys are getting paid so much, it actually hurts the teams who are already bad. If you pick in the top 10 for 4 years in a row, instead of being now ready to make a run with top talent, you have 50m+ tied up in 4 young players, and can't afford to field a good team.

If one or two of those guys busts, the teams that are already bad get worse and can't pay vets to come in and make them better, because the bust rookies are eating away at the overall cap.

All they have to do is make the top 10 players get paid like the rest, and it all sorts itself out. They don't need to do crazy things...just make picks 1-10 only get paid twice what picks 20-32 currently do, and it's fine.

Not paying those top rookies so much will make the league more competitive, and will push more money to vets indirectly, because there's still a cap, and a minimum roster amount you have to spend. If you subtract out 15 mil/yr to rookies, that means you've got to spend an extra 15 mil/yr on vets.

I'd like a rookie scale where they pay the top 10 far less, and pay the 3rd, 4th, 5th rounders a bit more, so some of the older vets aren't pushed aside simply because of minimum salary considerations. People wouldn't keep the rookies just because they're cheap...they'd have to be good, too.

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The biggest problem with the current rookie wages is not that veterans aren't getting paid enough. It's that the draft doesn't work. The whole point of the draft is to help the crappy teams become better by getting first pick of the new talent. However, when these guys are getting paid so much, it actually hurts the teams who are already bad. If you pick in the top 10 for 4 years in a row, instead of being now ready to make a run with top talent, you have 50m+ tied up in 4 young players, and can't afford to field a good team.

If one or two of those guys busts, the teams that are already bad get worse and can't pay vets to come in and make them better, because the bust rookies are eating away at the overall cap.

All they have to do is make the top 10 players get paid like the rest, and it all sorts itself out. They don't need to do crazy things...just make picks 1-10 only get paid twice what picks 20-32 currently do, and it's fine.

Not paying those top rookies so much will make the league more competitive, and will push more money to vets indirectly, because there's still a cap, and a minimum roster amount you have to spend. If you subtract out 15 mil/yr to rookies, that means you've got to spend an extra 15 mil/yr on vets.

I'd like a rookie scale where they pay the top 10 far less, and pay the 3rd, 4th, 5th rounders a bit more, so some of the older vets aren't pushed aside simply because of minimum salary considerations. People wouldn't keep the rookies just because they're cheap...they'd have to be good, too.

Could not have said it better my self. Rookies should go into the league trying to do their best to get those big all star contracts. Way to many top ten picks get way to much money for not playing 1 professional down. Maybe they could apply bonuses to rookies that play to a certain level in their first couple years and lower the base salary. This would get rookies to try to play to a certain level to get the bonuses...idk just a thought.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The NFL players association doesn't technically represent draftees until after they have signed their rookie contract, so there is no incentive for either side to keep the current structure in place. If anything, I would think the consistently good teams would be the ones most likely to want to keep the current structure because it forces all of the bad to spend there entire off-season budget on one draft pick.

Really, it just makes sense to implement a rookie cap with a 3-4 year term max. The owners and vets can't just sit around and watch the salary for 1st round draft picks keep inflating like it has. I would love to see the average % of the salary cap that goes towards rookies and how that figure has changed over the last several years.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The biggest problem with the current rookie wages is not that veterans aren't getting paid enough. It's that the draft doesn't work. The whole point of the draft is to help the crappy teams become better by getting first pick of the new talent. However, when these guys are getting paid so much, it actually hurts the teams who are already bad. If you pick in the top 10 for 4 years in a row, instead of being now ready to make a run with top talent, you have 50m+ tied up in 4 young players, and can't afford to field a good team.

If one or two of those guys busts, the teams that are already bad get worse and can't pay vets to come in and make them better, because the bust rookies are eating away at the overall cap.

All they have to do is make the top 10 players get paid like the rest, and it all sorts itself out. They don't need to do crazy things...just make picks 1-10 only get paid twice what picks 20-32 currently do, and it's fine.

Not paying those top rookies so much will make the league more competitive, and will push more money to vets indirectly, because there's still a cap, and a minimum roster amount you have to spend. If you subtract out 15 mil/yr to rookies, that means you've got to spend an extra 15 mil/yr on vets.

I'd like a rookie scale where they pay the top 10 far less, and pay the 3rd, 4th, 5th rounders a bit more, so some of the older vets aren't pushed aside simply because of minimum salary considerations. People wouldn't keep the rookies just because they're cheap...they'd have to be good, too.

Excellent. I agree. There isn't much you can do, just make it as fair as possible. Putting actual numbers on things is hard.

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Really, it just makes sense to implement a rookie cap with a 3-4 year term max. The owners and vets can't just sit around and watch the salary for 1st round draft picks keep inflating like it has. I would love to see the average % of the salary cap that goes towards rookies and how that figure has changed over the last several years.

I don't like making it a 3 or 4 year cap because you are running right into free agency. The issue is not that some young players are not deserving the issue is that not all of them are deserving. I think they should be allowed to renogotiate at any time after the first year

It needs to be cut and dry on base salaries, guarantees, and signing bonuses. They can load them up with as many escalators as they want but these kids need to be in camp not holding out for larger paydays. Whatever the guarantees and bonuses are they should not be so much that the duds are protected from being cut because of future cap concerns.

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I don't like making it a 3 or 4 year cap because you are running right into free agency. The issue is not that some young players are not deserving the issue is that not all of them are deserving. I think they should be allowed to renogotiate at any time after the first year

It needs to be cut and dry on base salaries, guarantees, and signing bonuses. They can load them up with as many escalators as they want but these kids need to be in camp not holding out for larger paydays. Whatever the guarantees and bonuses are they should not be so much that the duds are protected from being cut because of future cap concerns.

You know I think it's ok to give the big rookie contract, but (barring an injury) only the 1st year should be capped and that is the only year that should be quaranteed. If they cannot play you know it by then. If they can play they start raking in the big dollars in the final 2-4 years of the contract. I don't think the teams mind paying players that can perform and neither do most fans, but you hate to see guys like Russell and Leaf walking away with 30-40M after behaving like jerks.

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You know I think it's ok to give the big rookie contract, but (barring an injury) only the 1st year should be capped and that is the only year that should be quaranteed. If they cannot play you know it by then. If they can play they start raking in the big dollars in the final 2-4 years of the contract. I don't think the teams mind paying players that can perform and neither do most fans, but you hate to see guys like Russell and Leaf walking away with 30-40M after behaving like jerks.

I disagree. The big rookie contract even with only a cap on the first year is part of the problem. If you get a player with a bad work ethic and that guaranteed money in the initial contract is all they figure they will ever need.

Look at Andre Smith last year. When he finally did sign and show up for camp he was so fat and out of shape he injured himself. You could tell that all he cared about what getting signed in the first round and getting paid. His fat contract will protect him for at least another 2 years even if he only plays mediocre and no matter what he is already a millionaire.

I think they should sign for much much less and get out on the field and earn the big contract. If they can do it in a year, great, if it takes longer that is up to the player.

I also think it should protect the organization and the player. You don't want to cheat these players if they are playing lights out. In addition to escalators a rookie contract is signed for 4 years with an automatic renegotiation clause any time after the first year if certain conditions are met.

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I disagree. The big rookie contract even with only a cap on the first year is part of the problem. If you get a player with a bad work ethic and that guaranteed money in the initial contract is all they figure they will ever need.

Look at Andre Smith last year. When he finally did sign and show up for camp he was so fat and out of shape he injured himself. You could tell that all he cared about what getting signed in the first round and getting paid. His fat contract will protect him for at least another 2 years even if he only plays mediocre and no matter what he is already a millionaire.

I think they should sign for much much less and get out on the field and earn the big contract. If they can do it in a year, great, if it takes longer that is up to the player.

I also think it should protect the organization and the player. You don't want to cheat these players if they are playing lights out. In addition to escalators a rookie contract is signed for 4 years with an automatic renegotiation clause any time after the first year if certain conditions are met.

That's what I meant about "barring injury". You have to either waive the first year and pay them the minimum or restart the contract in some form. As much as we want to protect the clubs from getting burned there has to be some culpability on the GMs for poor scouting. Teams like Oakland that continually fall flat at the top of round one should pay the price for their stupidity in my opinion.

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That's what I meant about "barring injury". You have to either waive the first year and pay them the minimum or restart the contract in some form. As much as we want to protect the clubs from getting burned there has to be some culpability on the GMs for poor scouting. Teams like Oakland that continually fall flat at the top of round one should pay the price for their stupidity in my opinion.

The ultimate price cubs pay for stupidity in the draft is that they have selected poor quality players and their Won-Lost record will be impacted by continued player selection ineptitude. The salary cap protects clubs from themselves and has the added benefit of making money available to veteran players who have actually demonstrated performance and durability on the field.

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