Last Thursday, the NFL and the NFLPA worked out one of the last problems in the ongoing labor negotiations. The two parties agreed on a new rookie wage scale. The new plan will eliminate huge contracts given to unproven rookies that never play up to expectations and the money.
Under the new plan, all first-round selections will now sign a four-year contract and have an option for the fifth year. It can get a little confusing if the team exercises the option for the fifth year. Players picked within the top 10 will be paid the average of the top 10 highest-paid players in that position. Picks 11-32 will be paid the average of the 3rd to 25th highest-paid players at their position.
This deal helps prevent owners like Al Davis paying JaMarcus Russel $39 million dollars to have the player be a “bust” in the league. There will be no more contracts like Sam Bradford’s six-year, $78 million dollar contract with him being paid $50 million dollars before ever playing a down. Undrafted players also can restructure their contracts reportedly after two years. Players like leading rusher Arian Foster will benefit from the new ruling. Foster was scheduled in his third season only to make $480 thousand dollars.
The NFLPA originally called for the first half of the first round to be paid the average of the top 10 highest-paid paid in the position. With it only being the top ten now being paid that amount, the Detroit Lions are especially helped out. If the Lions exercise the option on Nick Fairley’s contract, they won’t have to pay him as much as it was origially proposed. All teams benefit from this new rookie wage scale as it will cut 40 to 55 percent of the pay to first-round rookies. The saved money will now go to veterans and retired players.