Friday, May 23, 2008

My Draft Amendment

I think I need to make an amendment to my prior statement about this year’s draft being boring. Well, no I mean it was still dull, so maybe this is more of a rider to my draft blog. Whatever you want to call it, the contract situation with the incoming class of NFL talent and the money it takes to acquire them to such a degree that the there are rumblings on ESPN about the institution of a rookie salary cap. Why ever would you need something like that? Here’s why…

Marquee players hold out all the time. In fact, I can’t remember a season in the past 10 years when someone wasn’t holding out for something they wanted to have or see changed. Generally speaking, they either want to be traded, or want more money. Are some of these people spoiled primadonnas? Sure. Do some of them have a point about whatever their scenario happens to be? Yeah, some probably do. Now hold that thought a minute.

This year the salaries went up to astonishing new heights, which is actually nothing new considering this happens just about every year. But what’s interesting about this year’s draft is not only the money, but the timing. Top pick, Jake Long from Michigan signed with the Dolphins a week before the draft, cementing his place as the No. 1 pick. They gave him 5 years for $57.75 (yeah that’s million) with $30 guaranteed. Not bad for someone who isn’t yet old enough to rent a car. No. 2 pick Chris Long was picked up by the Rams, but has not yet reached an agreement on a contract. But the Falcons picked Matt Ryan, quarterback from Boston College 3rd, and cracked open the piggy bank. They gave him 6 years for $72 and $34.75 guaranteed. That’s $14.25 more, one more year, and $4.75 more guaranteed than the number one draft pick. Considering St. Louis still doesn’t have Chris Long locked down, the organization has to be pissed, and Long has to be seeing dollar signs.

The NFL is a cultural icon. Yes, so is MLB and the NBA. But right now we’re talking football. Aside from that, it’s an economic pillar in this country. The last thing we want as consumers is for an economic pillar to crumble. So how angry would you be if you were Peyton Manning ($11 mil/year), Tom Brady ($6 mil/year), Carson Palmer ($7.25 mil/year), or Eli Manning ($6.45 mil/year) and lest we forget he’s the Super Bowl winning quarterback this past season, and some kid comes out of college making $12 mil/year never having taken a professional snap? I doubt even the nicest of these guys is going to say “well good for him.” It just seems that with all the additional drama that these guys create for whatever reasons, generally surrounding money, that for a rookie who didn’t even win the BCS Bowl game to come into the league and out earn all of them just doesn’t seem right.

(all salary information came from USATODAY.com http://content.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/salaries/playersbyposition.aspx?pos=119 )

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