Photo by Dennis Hodges
Tim Tucker of the AJC talks about the NFL's upcoming labor negotiations, and a possible new Rookie Wage Scale that might go into effect as early as the 2010 season.
No one has any idea what the rookie wage scale might look like, but NFL owners and current players are all for it. It's silly to have a team's highest paid player be its least proven rookie first round draft pick. Locking wagers NBA Draft Style for rookies would mean more overall salary cap money for veterans. It would also mean that an NFL Franchise incorrectly picking a first rounder (particularly a QB) wouldn't face a franchise setback of 2-4 years from that mistake.
Last year, Matt Ryan was the #3 overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons, and he signed a contract worth $72 million. Almost $35 million of that deal was guaranteed money. Matthew Stafford will likely be one of the top 2 quarterbacks coming out in the 2009 NFL Draft due to the incredible lack of QB talent in this draft.
The Kansas City Chiefs (2-10) and Detroit Lions (0-12) both are in desperate need of quarterbacks, and both will likely be picking in the Top 5 of the 2009 Draft. It is well within reason that Stafford would be a Top 5 pick, and he could be looking at signing a contract worth $75-80 million...approximately half of that guaranteed.
If the NFL brings a rookie wage scale on board for the 2010 Draft, it could cost Matthew tens of millions of dollars. That unknown element may be enough to scare him into going pro this year.
Moreno is also a likely first rounder. He may not have the top end speed of Reggie Bush or Darren McFadden, but there aren't many RBs in the NFL who have his pass catching ability, vision, balance, toughness or in game desire to win.
More than any other year, I don't fault either player for evaluating their options. Both should take a long hard look at going pro.
The Other Guys:
Asher Allen and Jeff Owens are others who may be considering going pro. I think the Draft Advisory Board's verdict will keep Owens in school. Who knows on Asher Allen. He's a sure tackling corner with reasonable size, good speed, and good coverage ability. But are the scouts in love with him?
The problem with the "threat" of a rookie wage scale is that the market will likely be flooded with juniors looking to beat the wage scale. Flooding the market with talent will push players from all but the very top end of the 1st round down well below their normal value.
In other words, the glut in the market might devalue a pick enough that waiting or coming out now is a financial wash for non-first rounders.
Regardless, we need Asher Allen to return. He's our only play maker at DB right now. I can't see Moreno and Stafford returning, and that's probably not news to any of you.
-- Decisions to be made - DawgPost