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Rookie cap in the works

League proposes immediate changes to rookie pay

Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal reports that the league has proposed the implementation of a rookie wage scale for the April 2010 draft. She also reports that the NFLPA has responded with a proposal that would change the structure of the rookie deals beginning in 2010, too.

The league's proposal, per Mullen, would pay players a fixed amount based on draft slot, with a "significant" portion of the savings being distributed to retired players. The NFLPA responded Tuesday with a proposed three-year limit on rookie contracts, along with a two-year extension to the current labor deal and a commitment by the owners to match the payment to the retired players arising from the contribution flowing from the savings in rookie pay.

It's safe to assume that the league won't agree to an extension of the labor contract merely in order to cap rookie pay. The owners are poised and motivated to attempt to make major changes to the system for paying all players, and there's a sense on the management side of the table that the players are on the ropes. A request to hit the pause button for two years will do little to alter that perception.

The league apparently would like to work out a new system for paying rookies separate and apart from the broader labor deal. The union surely would prefer to resolve all issues at once.

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  • TX9R
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Doubtful it would happen that quickly, but it sure would be great. I wonder how many underclassman would change their mind knowing it's already too late to beat the rookie cap. it would also be nice knowing we got Crabs locked up for 6 years before he can leave, when he could have sat out and been UFA in 3.
  • GEEK
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I did my economics senior thesis paper on this issue. If the NFL implements a pay scale similar to the NBA, the anticipated savings of the scale will be between 80-90M dollars.

The NFL retirement plan lost about 200M dollars due to beneficiary payments and the current economic crisis. The beneficiary payments added up to about 80M of the 200M amount for reduction from 2007-2008.

Again, if the savings with the pay scale goes towards the retirement plan, the NFL could nearly offset the expenses by this policy choice.
Any idea where this rigid slotting system would start out? i.e. - any idea how much the #1 pick would make in the new system?
Originally posted by Overkill:
Any idea where this rigid slotting system would start out? i.e. - any idea how much the #1 pick would make in the new system?

Nothing yet
I like this idea, so if the player is a bust (A. Smith & R. Bush), a large percentage of the salary cap will not be tide up on a player that cannot contribute.

I think this will make a lot of teams better and the better players will be the highest paid. This is a win win for the better players, but bust's will hate this because they will no longer be able to steal top dollars if they can't play. Players will work harder across the board because you will have to be the best to be paid like the best.

[ Edited by glorydayz on Jan 14, 2010 at 13:46:50 ]
May have misread this, but this would mean that there would be a lot more UFAs now? A Cap imo benefits the 49ers, we are way under the cap, and we need to pick up a veteran or two
  • GEEK
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Originally posted by kunged:
May have misread this, but this would mean that there would be a lot more UFAs now? A Cap imo benefits the 49ers, we are way under the cap, and we need to pick up a veteran or two

Only if the rookie pay scale gets implemented WITH the extension of the CBA.

If the CBA gets extended, then most RFAs this year will become UFAs. With three year contracts for rookies, rookie players will be RFAs for a year (or two?) after their contract runs out until they will be able to hit UFA.
Sweet. This is desperately needed. Finally, teams will be able to draft for true need without worrying about who a rook's agent is or if taking a certain player or position to high will result in caps issues or too much of a time or money committment.

At times, having a high pick has almost been a penalty on the teams that need to improve the most.

Plus, there will be more money to sign key veteran players who fall in-between "stars" and "needs", and there should be much more ability to keep players who perform well and deserve a raise but can't be given one for cap reasons.

It has become absurd how much players who have never seen the field for a down (and many who may never do it with any success) can make and how much it hampers teams from paying some of the veterans who deserve it.
I think this idea would skyrocket the trade value of top draft picks and lead to more trades on draft day. Provided the initial salary structure is low enough, of course.
Originally posted by Overkill:
I think this idea would skyrocket the trade value of top draft picks and lead to more trades on draft day. Provided the initial salary structure is low enough, of course.

Agree would be more fun for sure
Originally posted by tohara3:
Originally posted by Overkill:
I think this idea would skyrocket the trade value of top draft picks and lead to more trades on draft day. Provided the initial salary structure is low enough, of course.

Agree would be more fun for sure

It would certainly cut down on the number of teams looking to trade down. Right now, half the logic behind trading down is avoiding the high salary hit.

For years, this has been one of my personal "top 3 things the NFL should do to improve itself." (the other two being fixing overtime and having all replay handled by refs upstairs)

I will be very happy if they get this done.
Crabtree's debacle probably had a lot to do with pushing this forward.

Its a long overdue idea. I think they should give some of the money to the refs, we need higher quality refs in the NFL. A tiny chunk of the rookie salary (less than 1%) could pay for professional referee's.

I'm tired of the retired old men, firefighters and amateur hour. They don't have to make a LOT of money, just pay them a livable wage and you'll see the pool of people who want to become refs go through the roof.

And I'm sure there is plenty of work they could find for them to do all year round.
Originally posted by BrianGO:
Crabtree's debacle probably had a lot to do with pushing this forward.

Its a long overdue idea. I think they should give some of the money to the refs, we need higher quality refs in the NFL. A tiny chunk of the rookie salary (less than 1%) could pay for professional referee's.

I'm tired of the retired old men, firefighters and amateur hour. They don't have to make a LOT of money, just pay them a livable wage and you'll see the pool of people who want to become refs go through the roof.

And I'm sure there is plenty of work they could find for them to do all year round.

Nice idea.
  • GEEK
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Not that it's a good idea, but the demand for NFL tickets is relatively inelastic. This means that a $1 in an increase of ticket prices will not cause a decline in attendance.

http://espn.go.com/nfl/attendance

If you look at overall attendance in the league, you can see the significance a simple dollar increase can have on acquiring additional income for refs or retirement.

I fully support the idea of a rookie cap, but keep in mind that the average NFL athlete has a career of 3.5 years. With that career length, they are not able to take full advantage of the retirement benefits the NFL offers. In addition, their career outlook post-NFL is worse than the national average for income and such.

Rookies make good coin, I am not denying that. But it's very sad that NFL owners to leverage this opportunity to lower their overall expenses on players. We don't necessarily know how much of the savings will be allocated to the retirement funds.