The NFL owners are desperately looking for ways to keep more of their revenue for themselves and give less to the players. One area they're very keen on making changes is in the way they pay rookies. There's no doubt that rookies at the top of the draft, who have yet to prove anything in the NFL, are getting huge deals that often seem to end up hamstringing a franchise if the guy busts. But according to the Sports Business Journal, the owners aren't just out to change they way they pay the top rookies, they want to dramatically slash the salaries of all of them.
In an NFLPA memo obtained by Mullen, she reveals that the NFL proposed cutting the league minimum to players in their first four years by nearly 30 percent, from $405,000 to $275,000. Players whose performance exceeded those numbers would be stuck, as "re-negotiations or extensions would be banned until after three years for drafted players" under the NFL Rookie Wage Scale proposal. Also, to save the owners from paying younger players so much up front, signing bonuses would be fixed and paid over the life of the contract instead of all at the beginning.
This seems like a cheap move from the owners. The fact is that they're already getting these guys on the cheap and without guaranteed contracts they can easily cut young players that aren't up to snuff. So unlike the guys taken in the top of the first round getting huge signing bonuses, the owners can easily get rid of the contracts of these guys if they want.I find it hard to believe that later round rookie are such a drain on a teams' finances that a 2/3rds cut of salary is needed.
The ban on re-negotiations within the first three years is an interesting idea and one you'd think the Eagles wouldn't be too keen on as they like to lock up young players early... However, the aim would seem to be to pre-empt all the holdouts and contract complaints you hear from young players looking to force a new long term deal. If this were a rule now, no one would be concerned with DeSean Jackson getting a new contract this summer as he would be ineligible.