You may have heard earlier this week that Falcons' rookie QB Matt
Ryan signed a 6 year $72 million deal with over $34.75 million in guaranteed money, which is the 3rd richest deal in NFL history. He's never set foot on an NFL field and he is guaranteed to make more money than Tom Brady, who wears 3 superbowl rings, and Peyton Manning.
If Matt Ryan is anything less than great, that contract could be crippling to the Falcons. It certainly appears that a top 5 pick in the draft can be more of a curse than a blessing...
NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw declared that the player's union will "never agree to a rookie wage scale in such a short-career sport" that would help curb these salaries... However, it seems that Upshaw's declaration is the opposite of what the actual players are saying. Current NFLPA president Kevin Mawae spoke out this week.
"As a guy who has been in the league for 14 now going on 15 years and being around other veteran guys, for a young guy to get paid that kind of money and never steps foot on an NFL football field, it's a little disheartening to think of," Mawae said. "It makes it tough for a guy who's proven himself to say 'I want that kind of money' when the owners, all they're going to say is, 'Well, you weren't a first-round pick.'
"And I know there is sentiment around the league amongst the players like, 'Let's do something to control these salaries and control these signing bonuses' and things like that, and I know that's something that the owners are talking about and I'm sure that's going to play into this round of negotiations for this collective bargaining agreement," he said.
It's not just the old guys that are talking either... our own Kevin Kolb, just a year removed from being a rookie himself, had some things to say .
"It's too much and this has nothing to do with Matt Ryan as a quarterback, or as a person, be cause that is awesome for him. He's set," said Kolb, who is ex pected to begin the season as the Eagles' primary backup to Donovan McNabb. "It is also too much pressure. I was somewhat of a high pick and I'm still saying this. It's not like I was a fifth-rounder."
"There are guys in this locker room that may not make as much, but they deserve it more than the guys that are just stepping in off a college field," Kolb said. "It didn't take me that long to realize that once I got here. You should have to prove yourself, at least somewhat."
This next statement is probably a good indication of what kind leader Kolb might be one day...
"Here's what gets me," said Kolb, the former record-setting quarterback at the University of Houston. "There are guys that were rookies last year that played their butts off and they are not making as much as I am ... and I didn't do anything. That's just not fair. They deserve to make as much, or more, than I do until I go out there and prove myself. There can be a better system, and I'm sure eventually it will all even itself out and the guys that are suppose to get that money will get the money."
I'm never one to shed a tear for NFL owners, I think the real story with these rookie contracts are what these players are talking about. It's penalizing veterans and guys who have proven they can play. It may sound callous, but the players' union represents the interests of it's current members... not some kid playing in college right now that may make it to the NFL. Shouldn't Upshaw be working on behalf of the members of his union and not the potential members?
Reading the tea leaves here, I think there's a pretty good chance that Upshaw could be pushed out as the owners and players try to work on a new labor deal. We know that would make JoeD happy!