When it comes to a new collective bargaining agreement, one thing both sides can agree on is that a rookie wage scale needs to be established. Both agree that rookie contracts have gotten out of control. Because, they really have.
When Sam Bradford is getting $50 million out of the gate before playing a down, that is a bit ridiculous. Luckily for the Rams, it seems as if their investment will be well spent. But it does cause a situation where a young rookie is earning tons more than proven veterans.
I’m all for someone getting their money, but you should earn that money. Let’s take it off the gridiron. Wherever you work, if a kid came out of college making five times more than what you were making before they ever got to work, you would feel some kind of way. Sure, the kid’s college accolades landed him the job, but has he proven himself worthy to make five times more than you? Not really...he hasn’t even started the job yet!
The only people who will argue me on this are the rookies — especially those first rounders drafted in the top 15 and their agents. Rightfully so, because both of those parties have something to lose if a rookie wage scale is set in place. Super agent Tom Condon was quoted as saying, ”Historically, contracts for rookies at the top of the draft helped veteran players.” And Condon is right, if a rookie QB is making $50 million it’s going to be easy for a Peyton Manning or Tom Brady to tell his team to pony up once contract time rolls around. But what do you do when there is a bust like JaMarcus Russell? Condon’s next statement makes no sense....
“At the top of the draft,” he said, “you’re not supposed to miss on those picks.” I realize that’s Condon’s best defense, because he really has no defense. People miss on players every single year. The NFL should just do what the NBA does and have shorter contracts. Players should sign two-year deals with an option for a third. It will make things a lot easier. Teams will not have to waste money on talent that never comes to fruition and guys like DeSean Jackson and Chris Johnson can avoid having to hold out after two years because they’ve clearly out played their first contract.