Sunday, August 8, 2010

NFL Rookies: Overpaid?

From the Chicago Tribune:,0,3680187.story : "Are rookies getting too much money too soon?"

Uhm, I can answer that one for you, guys.


I'm not sure if NHL has a rookie wage scale, but I know the NBA does, and MLB does not. The Lions, between Matt Stafford and Ndamukong Suh, have committed a guaranteed $80 million to a rookie and a second-year QB who has yet to do much on the pro level.

Just to compare, the entire Detroit Pistons team will make $63 million next year. Hell, LeBron's six year deal in Miami is only worth $15 mill more!

JaMarcus Russell, legendary bust, can live off his rookie contract for the rest of his life, chillin' and drinkin' purple drink.

The simple fact is, about half or more of your first rounders every year will be busts or at least underachievers. And yet the guaranteed money keeps on coming.

As the Trib article points out, veterans are strongly opposed to the system. Agents, on the other hand, are pretty much in favor, which means the guaranteed contract culture is just fostering a system of corruption in college athletics. Instead of playing for the team, guys can just play for that first megadeal.

Hell, Sam Bradford missed all of last year, and got $50 mill guaranteed from the Rams as the No. 1 pick.

In my mind, this is the top issue that needs to be resolved in the upcoming, and highly dramatic, 2011 offseason.

The problem is that the players, as Hunter Hillenmeyer put it for the Tribune, don't want to see that money go away from the players and back to the owners. If you start guys off getting less, then they end up getting less. That's the idea.

My philosophy would be similar to the NBA's: First rounders get 3 year deals, second rounders get 2 year deals, third through fifth rounders get 1 year deals, all with a set dollar amount based on leaguewide average at the position (like the franchise and transition tags, but lower amounts for rookies). Then these guys can renegotiate while they are still in prime position to get paid in their second and hopefully third contracts.

Anyway, it's a thorny issue. But I think it's insane that JaMarcus Russell is still making more money than me.


  1. I agree the NFL first round players are overpaid. Especially given all the draft "experts" out there and players are still a 50/50 shot of making it. In the new proposal there is discussions for a Rookie wage scale, but, like you said, the players want that money going towards veterans, not the owners pockets.

    I agree with the need for a scale, but your proposal is, not to be too harsh, idiotic. I’m sure you didn’t put much thought into it as it was toward the end of the article. The way NFL teams are successful is the talent the draft in round 2-7. If these players pan out, they are on cheap, 3-5 year deals that allows the teams to spend money in other areas. If players drafted in round 3-7 only had 1 year deals, then NFL teams would be forced to pay the players and not be able to take advantage of cheap, good and productive players.

  2. But what you're not taking into account is the savings from not grossly overpaying their first rounder! How many solid starters from the 2-7th rounds could you pay with Sam Bradford's $50 mill guarantee? Six? And if Bradford didn't pan out, wouldn't those guys deserve it more, anyway?

    I think what the players want is for NFL teams not to "be able to take advantage of cheap, good, and productive players."

    It makes sense for the good and productive players to get PAID.

  3. It's not the like the league Minimum of $1.15 Million isn't getting paid. Take out 40% for taxes and 3% for agent, they are still walking home with a paycheck for $27k every two weeks.

  4. the league minimum is lower than that for fifth round rookies.