08-25-2010, 05:10 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Re: Nick Mangold made highest paid center in the league
If it was such an important issue, then why didn’t DeMaurice Smith say something about it when he was on the show? In fact, here is what Mr. Smith said about the rookie wage scale – and please note the section I have underlined: “The NFLPA proposed a rookie wage scale that would take $200 million out of the rookie pool and we only had two criteria for that rule to be put in place. First, we wanted to take $100 million of that and have it go toward retired players who played prior to 1993 to increase their pensions. The only other condition we put on that was that the other $100 million be spent on proven veterans. We wanted a guarantee that the money be spent on proven veterans, and the owners said no.”
There you have it. Mr. Smith said there were only two criteria, and as you can see – limiting rookie contracts wasn’t one of them – and why should it be?
There are only 32 players – first round picks – that would be affected by DeMaurice Smith’s proposal to limit rookie contracts to 4 years, so I find it hard to believe that this is the sticking point that could lead to the total collapse of negotiations on a rookie wage scale.
This is absolutely unbelievable when you consider that the 32 players picked in the first round will still become instant multi-millionaires even after the wage scale is implemented.
It is also important to remember that even if these 32 players are signed to 5 or 6 year contracts, when has that ever stopped them from saying I want a new deal after 3 or 4 years? We see it happen all the time in the NFL and in many cases the owners will rip up the old contract and write a new one.
By the way, how many times have you seen an NFL owner go back to a player that’s still under contract and demand to pay him less because he’s not performing up to his potential? I wouldn’t be surprised if something like that happened back in the “pioneer” days of the NFL, but you can bet your bottom dollar it hasn’t happened in the modern NFL era.
In his article Mr. Farrar said that “what the owners have completely failed to grasp is that teams would be able to bail out of bad contracts with expensive draft busts – essentially protecting the owners from themselves.”
Trust me, the NFL owners have some very smart accountants working for them and I can assure Mr. Farrar that they know exactly what the implications would be if they limit rookie contracts to 3 or 4 years. Yes, there will be some players that are a bust and will not be offered another contract to play – saving the owners money, but the majority of those players will succeed because they were the best college players and that’s why they were drafted in the first round.
The owners know that the sooner these 32 players become unrestricted free agents, the sooner they will have to shell out the BIG bucks to keep them on their team.
Mr. Pash and the NFL owners have a legitimate concern on two fronts: First, maintaining the continuity of teams. If your top draft picks are becoming free agents every 3 or 4 years, then how in the world are coaches going to “build a team”.
More importantly, owners know that the cost savings derived from setting a rookie wage scale would eventually be eaten up by the costs of paying for free agents if they are allowed to hit the free market in only three or four years.
DeMaurice Smith also complained in his Feb. 8, 2010 correspondence that “rookie players drafted in lower rounds, or undrafted players, are locked into multi-year bargain contracts which often prove to be unfair when the players become major contributors to their teams.”
The thing that is not mentioned in his correspondence, is the fact that the NFL already rewards players that are lower round draft picks that become major contributors to their team. It is known as the PBP or Performance-Based Pay Plan.
Under the PBP benefit, players become eligible to receive a bonus distribution in any regular season in which they play at least one official down. Approximately $109.5 million of performance-based pay was distributed to players during the 2009 season. The top 25 players that received this bonus in 2009 would be considered wealthy – making over $250,000 – on just that income alone.
Mr. Farrar also talks about the “Proven Performance Plan” that DeMaurice Smith has proposed as a method of compensating deserving veteran players. The owners have agreed to this idea, but you wouldn’t know it by reading Mr. Farrar’s article where he says “The difference between the NFL’s idea of what to do with the extra money not spent on high draft picks is the difference between a handshake and a contract, and there’s very little trust on either side these days.”
If DeMaurice Smith was the one that proposed the idea, then where is his detailed plan for how the money would be distributed to veterans? Can they show us where the NFL owners are in disagreement with that proposal? They should release that document to Yahoo Sports – but they can’t – because it doesn’t exist!
I didn’t write this article to defend the owners, but the fact is, they were the first to propose an immediate 100 million increase in retired player pensions.
In a March 9, 2010 letter to Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, Roger Goodell said “I have said publicly that there will be no agreement without improvements for retired players. On the contrary, when the union last week informed us that it was willing to make a new deal under certain conditions, there was no mention by them of increased benefits for retirees. The union leadership was willing to make a deal without any improvements for retired players.”
I have never heard DeMaurice Smith publicly state that there will be no agreement without improvements for retired players. To be fair to him, he has said the NFLPA has a fiduciary obligation to retired players and he has said he would like to increase the monthly pension for pre-1993 players by as much as $1,000.
A lot of things have been said by the NFL and the NFLPA since they first started negotiating a new CBA.
The fact is, both sides have been guilty of misrepresenting their proposals and that’s the “real story behind the rookie wage scale!”