Implementing a Rookie Salary Cap
Matthew Stafford – 6 years, $41.7 million guaranteed
Jason Smith – 6 years, $33 million guaranteed
Mark Sanchez – 5 years, $26 million guaranteed
Darrius Heyward-Bey – 5 years, $23.5 million guaranteed
Brian Orakpo – 5 years, $12.1 million guaranteed
Although this is only a sample size of the 2009 NFL draft class, one thing ties all of these rookies together: grossly overinflated contracts.
Imagine the following scenario:
You’ve just entered your senior year of college. You’re going to school for some random business major because it was one of the easier majors at your school and you’re anxiously awaiting the chance to be top dog within the party scene. You party your heart out, make many temporary girlfriends, and spend most of the school year drowning in Natty Ice and the bong water. May rolls around and companies start looking to pick off talent from your school by sending out recruiters to gauge/express interest. Super Huge Corp. Inc. decides they like you and, before even spending a day on the job, the company offers you employment in a sales position that pays more than the 10 year veteran that has been making huge money for the company and has continually contributed on a high level. You take the job, obviously, and head out after graduation in hopes that you can survive your first day knowing that each of your fellow employees are well aware that you’re making sick money without even closing one deal. You’re excited but what are the chances that you instantly make it into the good graces of all the supporting people that are supposed to harness and develop your potential?
This scenario happens on an annual basis in the NFL. I personally feel there is no way that Matthew Stafford, the party boy fresh out of an average senior year playing in the NCAA, should be making millions of dollars more than a seasoned veteran that has paid their dues regardless if they have made it to the Super Bowl. Granted, the Detroit Lions have a significant amount of salary cap space available despite having high draft picks every year, but with that kind of guaranteed money what kind of pressure to be successful does Stafford really feels? He can just look back to piano master Joey Harrington to see how well being crappy behind the center worked out in the long run.
Once the contract is up and negations begin between the NFLPA and NFL, I feel the first issue to tackle has to be a rookie salary cap. Show appreciation for the veteran players who have built your league to the monster it is currently. Normally I find it hard to side with team management, but this is one example where I am on their side.