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Thursday, August 26, 2010

NFL's Rookie Salary Problem. It needs fixed. Now

  So you think Sam Bradford has the tools to be the next Tom Brady.  Wanna bet on it?  How about if we bet $50? No? How about $50million? What's that? You think I'm crazier than John Rocker? Every, year, however, a few NFL owners wager close to that amount that guys like Bradford will indeed turn out to be the next Peyton Manning, even before they have taken one NFL snap.  The St. Louis Rams made such a wager on Bradford himself this year, making him the highest paid rookie in history.  So what's the big deal?  The big deal is that for every Peyton Manning, there are 10 players like Ryan Leaf, Tim Couch, or Akili Smith, guys who are rated as potential perennial pro bowlers who never make it more than two or three years as starters. And that can be a very risky wager indeed, especially to a team such as the Rams, who once were considered annual Super Bowl contenders, but now are regulated to the ranks of cellar dwellers.  For it only takes one torn acl to not only ruin the career of Sam Bradford, but along with that goes the 50 million dollars the Rams could have used to on other players to make themselves a legitimate playoff contender.  I would argue that guaranteed money for rookies should be eliminated altogether, and I am probably not alone in this.(Just for fun, next time you go to a job interview, if the employer decides to hire you, demand that you be given $100,000 guaranteed for your first year in addition to your base salary or you're not showing up for work. I've heard it can do wonders to jump start your career ha ha.)   Roger Goodell said during his visit to the Cleveland Browns training camp that the rookie pay scale would be revisited, but did not explain what he meant by that.  I say the first order of business the owners have in the new cba is to redo the whole rookie pay scale.  It's just not a wise decision for owners to be throwing huge sums of money in front of players who have not played a single down of pro ball.  The New York Jets have labeled Darelle Revis as selfish for holding out, but unlike the rookies that entered the league in April's draft, Revis has only been one of the top corners in the league for the last two years.  Compare that with Cleveland rookie defensive back Joe Haden of Florida, who recently signed a contract that will pay him $50 million, including $12 million of that guaranteed this season.  Haden might be the next Revis, heck, he might end up being better than Deion Sanders when it's all said and done.   However, should Cleveland really have to front 12 million dollars just to find out?  That might be a costly decision for any other business, and it is a lesson that NFL owners should take heed of now before they learn it the hard way down the road.

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