What will happen with the 2011 NFL Draft if there is a work stoppage? --Karl B.
There will be a 2011 Draft even in the event of a work stoppage. The expiring Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) requires it.
How will rookies be paid if there’s no CBA? --Jesse R.
Negotiations will be put on an indefinite hold until the clubs know what the system is when the CBA is finalized. Thus, rookies will be drafted yet not signed.
Will fewer underclassmen come out this year due to the potential work stoppage? --Kelly S.
I don’t see why that would happen. There was a lot of talk over the past two Drafts that more underclassmen would come out due to the labor situation being in flux but statistics proved the number of players coming out early was virtually the same as before. And I think that will prove the same this year.
Players will make decisions based on their personal situations and reports of their Draft value. A potential lockout is far from their minds.
Will rookies get paid less with the new CBA? --Bill R.
Yes, certainly at the top of the Draft. Sam Bradford was the last bonus baby in the history of top picks in the NFL. Bradford can max out at about $78 million. The next top draft pick in the NFL will probably max out at about $20-25 million.
With no voice behind them except for a handful of top agents, the rookies will be served up for slaughter. Management feels they make too much; veteran players feel they make too much; even union officials feel they make too much.
The more interesting question will be how a new rookie compensation system affects lower-round picks. Right now, these players represent a reasonable and fixed cost for a good portion of club rosters. The NFL should be careful what it wishes for here.