The 2 Point Conversion

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One Thing the NBA Got Right: Rookie Pay


Everybody seems to agree that the NFL cannot continue to let rookie contracts spiral out of control. A top 8 pick can clog up over 5% of a team’s salary cap space, while the team will have roughly 45 veterans consuming an average of less than half that. In 2009, Matthew Stafford signed a six-year deal worth $12 million per year with over $41 million guaranteed. In that same year, Blake Griffin signed a two-year deal worth under $4.5 million per year with a team option to retain him for $4.8 mil in 2011 and for $6 mil in 2012. It’s not just the sums that are troublesome; it’s the length and guaranteed amounts of the contract. For example, Evander Hood, the 32nd overall pick, will make more in guaranteed money than the 5th overall pick in the NBA. No wonder Lions fans don’t come to games; their tickets go towards paying Gosder Cherilus his $9 million guaranteed, Ernie Sims’ $12 million guaranteed and Mike Williams’ and Charles Rogers’ combined $45 million that they robbed from the Detroit organization.

Team option contracts after the first two years are brilliant. Rookies will have more incentive to work extremely hard to improve and win a starting job and if they slouch, the team that picked them won’t get hit by a huge cap penalty if they get rid of their bust pick. Now, bust on a top 5 pick and your franchise will find it tough to recover because you have to pay that bench warmer $35 million no matter how bad he is or if he even makes it on to the field. The bottom line is that the pressure of young players needs to be on the rookies, not the teams that drafted them.

July 5, 2010 Posted by | Opinion | Leave a comment