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December 1, 2008

New Rookie Wage Scale may impact Rookie Decisions

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.

See Also:
-- Decisions to be made - DawgPost



Anonymous said...

I think they'll both probably go, and I'm not upset about that. It's been fun watching them play here, some great memories. But Stafford possily getting 30 million guaranteed, Moreno probably in line for about 10-15 million guaranteed. You just can't deny that kind of money. Especially as an RB, Moreno could have some terrible luck and be injured and lose millions.

If they decided to stay I would literally be over the moon ecstatic. But I'm thinking they'll go. Good luck to them if they do.

Anonymous said...

I think Moreno will come back. I don't think he will go until the end of the 1st round, maybe early 2nd and I don't know if that is enough to entice him to leave early. You have got to think that if he returns and runs behind an O-line that will be much improved next year that he is stairing at a possible 1500+ year and a definate top 10 pick in the 2010 draft. Stafford is gone.

Anonymous said...

I want them to return because I don't want this season to be their legacy, and it no doubt will. None of us can fault them for going. But I want us to remember them better than we will now.

Auburn '04 was so good because some juniors decided that that '03 debacle would not be their legacy. That was powerful, and they rode that passion to being th most dominant SEC team in the last 10 years or so. I want our guys to have that kind of desire to want something different for Georgia than how this season turned out.

Hopefully, Matthew will look at the NFL's great QBs. The Manning bros, Ryan, Rivers, Cutler all played their senior years. He will make a ton of money no matter what, but I believe he will be a better pro by honing his skills in the SEC one more year.

Knowshon? If he's late first round, I'd come back. He would be THE premier back in CFB next year, and run behind a veteran line. He would no doubt go for about 1,600 next year and be in the race for the Heisman and a higher pick. That means more money. But, like I said, I don't blame them. I do think they have a lot to gain from another year of college.

Anonymous said...

Stafford would be crazy not to go. I don't think he even needs to give it a long, hard look.

Moreno would need to look at it longer and harder but would still be crazy not to go.

I just hope the team can pull itself together and win whatever bowl game we wind up with.

Damn going out a loser.

Anonymous said...

Problem with Moreno is that he's at the height of his game in a position that has a short shelf life. And he takes a *lot* of solid hits.

Anonymous said...

Call me crazy, and I don't have any evidence to back this besides a "gut feeling", but I really don't think Stafford cares about his legacy at UGA or how he is remembered. I feel like he sees the University of Georgia as his stepping-stone to the NFL...that's all.

So yea, I don't think it's really a question that Stafford is gone, which sucks because I still don't think he's realized his full potential.

I could see Moreno staying before Stafford, if nothing else for the simple fact that he seems to take some pride in putting on the Georgia uniform.

Anonymous said...

I know Stafford has a world class arm, but why should we be concerned about losing him?

I believe Joe Cox can step in and put up very similar numbers.

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of the post. Stafford knew he was gone before the season started, anyone seen the pic of him in the KC Chiefs shirt? I would argue though that neither the Lions or the Chiefs will be selecting Matt Stafford with their first pick. Detroit will probably look to sign Matt Cassel as they haven't had the best luck with first round picks on offense. More likely to go with a defensive player here. As for the Chiefs, Tyler Thigpen aint bad at all. In fact, word is that they are content with their qb situation. That would leave the St. Louis Rams, who would be a nightmare to play for right now.

I would definitely agree Moreno has a better shot at staying. He seems to love UGA, Athens, being in college. I can't blame him for leaving if he does, too much money to forego.

Anonymous said...

I must still be asleep. There's no way a person who can chew their own food would think Cox is comparable to Stafford.

I know that loss was rough, but saying things like Stafford doesn't care, Stafford isn't a leader, Stafford is mediocre; it's just insane. We are lucky to have had him for this season alone.

Anonymous said...

I don't want to see either go, but I would like to hear opinions on their replacements. Can Logan Gray get it done? He looked good in the spring game, and so did Caleb King, but neither showed much flash this season.

Personally, I think Stafford would benefit from a senior season. His accuracy and mechanics are inconsistent sometimes. Knowshown is a sure All-American with a healthy line, but I doubt that's going to affect his decision.

Anonymous said...

Both are gone. Ironic that if Stafford goes to KC he will be coached by Chan Gailey.

Anonymous said...




Anonymous said...

i asked that question personally to asher allen before this season in july. he said that his mother would kill him if he didnt get his degree and that he would be back next year.

Anonymous said...

Before he leaves the NFL Stafford will wear a Super Bowl ring.

And I will have nothing but fond memories of Stafford and Moreno. They played outstanding football and it makes me proud to know that they played for Georgia.

Somebody should tell The Oracle of Truth how to spell "mediocre"

Anonymous said...

Cox isn't Stafford, but with a healthy O-line he should be effective. The guy *was* recruited, mind you. I doubt '09 will be like '06 in the QB department.

Jarred said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jarred said...

Most of you all are forgetting Stafford doesn't need the money. He grew up in Highland Park, Atlanta's Sandy Springs. He's never not had something he needed, and his family doesn't need the money. I don't know a lot about Knowshon's past, but if he needs the money, he needs to go. The shelf life on a NFL RB is about 4 years, you have to take it while it is there.

Anonymous said...

I honestly think they're both gone. And who can really blame them? But can you imagine that offense next year with both of them back behind a improved and matured offensive line? Of course, none of this matters if things are fixed on the defensive and special teams side of the ball. And for those that are questioning Stafford's leadership and commitment to UGA football? Are you guys serious? The guy has done nothing but win during his tenure. Sure he occasionally makes some bad decisions, but what QB doesn't? Ever heard of Brett Farve? And if he's wasn't out on that field Saturday, it's a GA Tech BLOW OUT. And I don't doubt for a second that given another crack, he would have lead the offense back down the field again at the end of the game. 400 yards passing with 5 TDs. Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

The comments on Stafford's leadership and brains are ridiculous. He's obviously the leader of the team and Coach Richt has said so much. But more than that, he is the smartest QB in college football. He may actually be the last QB in college football these days that actually makes his own adjusments at the line of scrimmage, and that has prepared him for the pros more than anything else. There ain't none of this looking to the sideline crap on Sundays. We actually make guys learn how to be a QB.

If Matt leaves and KM stays, let's hope Joe has a little bit of Tee Martin in him. Nobody in their right mind would say that Tee was better than Peyton, but that team played differently with Tee at the helm. Cox is every bit as good (and better) as JPW in T-town and they're 12-0.

I'm not worried about Cox at all, but I haven't seen anything this season that tells me that we have an RB behind KM that is ready to be an SEC feature back. That scares me to death if both of them leave.

Anonymous said...

1:57 Anonymous,

My friend's pappy used to say about the "if" word, "If a frog had wings, it wouldn't bump its butt."

Matt The Lack doesn't get another crack.

Anonymous said...

OK, that's the dumbest saying I've ever heard...

Anonymous said...

"Most of you all are forgetting Stafford doesn't need the money. He grew up in Highland Park, Atlanta's Sandy Springs. He's never not had something he needed, and his family doesn't need the money. I don't know a lot about Knowshon's past, but if he needs the money, he needs to go. The shelf life on a NFL RB is about 4 years, you have to take it while it is there."

He stands to lose 10-15 million (easy) in guaranteed money if they implement a rookie cap. He could lose up to $50 million dollars (within reason). For example, say he gets the same contract as Matt Ryan. A rookie cap could easily (and within reason) knock that down to $20 million.

The college experience is not worth giving up $50 million. It's just not.

Anonymous said...

you don't think Cox can throw 20 tds and 10 picks? Of course, he can't make some of the same throws but who can?

IMO, Staff's arm held him back somewhat because he always felt he could force any throw and make it and maybe not fully go through every progression. David Greene had an arm comparable to Cox and he put up about the same stats as Staff and won 42 games. Why? Because he knew exactly what to do on every play because he didn't have super human arm strength to fall back on.

Anonymous said...

Stafford is not ready for the pros. He could not start on any team in the NFL at this point unless you want to see him killed and possibly ruined for life. Who is going to pay him $30 million to sit on the bench? He needs a lot more practice/game time which he would get in college. Some of the pro scouts have already told his father he needs to stay in college.

Anonymous said...

FWIF I grew up in Dunwoody and I still need money. Just because his family is upper middle class, doesn't mean Stafford wants to leave ten million dollars on the table.

I hope he stays. The last few games he has been lighting it up. He has done everything he can to score enough to win. Staff doesn't play D so you can't put it on him. Sure he maeks a mistake evey now and then but we would have lost the Kentucky game and maybe SC with another QB this year.

Moreno is special and a joy to watch. I hope he stays. MoMass had a special senior year and maybe they both could see that. Imagine Stafford to Green for another year.

Sorry about Cox but every time I have seen him in the game, he is a huge step down in talent. I would rather see Gray at this point.

I also was not reassured about the greatness of King. He seemed ratehr avarage at best. Maybe with a better O-line he could shine a bit more.

Anonymous said...

What about the fact the MS can't consistently throw the deep ball or the fade?

Seam routes and posts are money, but he struggles throwing over the top.

He should come back to work on those.

Anonymous said...

Staff needs to go. He will be a better NFL QB than in college -- he's got a Brett Favre complex: He'll win a few games a year solely on his arm, but he'll also lose a couple too thanks to picks. In the pros, that's fine; in college, you can't have that. Plus a top-five pick will be screwed by the cap. Cox and Gray are both fine, especially if 24 returns.

KnoMo should go but I hope he stays. But NFL RB careers end when you turn 30 -- if you're lucky. Plus he's a first-rounder too. Lots of money on the table vs. being a legend at UGA. Now, he's a "great"... another big year, he's a "legend". If he stays two more years, he'd be crazy, but he'd also be the last person to ever wear #24 here...

Asher should stay. He won't make enough this year to worry about being capped next year anyway.


Mike said...

you don't think Cox can throw 20 tds and 10 picks? Of course, he can't make some of the same throws but who can?


Behind this OL? No. I definitely don't. I think Cox's numbers would be less than Greene's 13 TD, 11 INT junior season ('03) behind a similar OL.

And saying that he's no Greene or Stafford is no real knock on Cox. I think he'll be a solid QB. Might he do 20/10, as a 5th year senior, behind the finally good OL it looks like we'll have for next year? Definitely possible. But he won't do 30/8 behind it. Stafford absolutely could... with it being no big surprise either.

Anonymous said...

Some of the pro scouts have already told his father he needs to stay in college.

And I sure hope his father laughed in their faces.

"Son, stay in college and work on the deep ball and the fade. You are from Texas and don't need 80 million dollars"


Cody said...

Shifting the focus a bit, I don't see how Asher Allen even has a chance to think about going pro. His measurables are nice, but so are Bryan Evans's. He has gotten beat, gotten flagged, and made nothing happen all season. Which means the concept of needing him back is also lost on me. I want him back, but only because he absolutely has to improve.

Anonymous said...

i think it's a virtual lock that they're both gone, and with the threat of a rookie salary cap they'd be taking an unreasonable risk not to go. i don't blame either one of them. i've enjoyed watching them play and will root for them on sundays.

joe cox is a very good qb. i think over the course of the season in 09 we'll feel the loss of km more than ms because the gap between km and the backup tbs right now is huge. joe will be solid--and please don't compare him to the androgynous jpw.

Anonymous said...

If Stafford leaves, I think we'll see a two-quarterback system next year with Cox and Gray, depending on the defense we're facing.

Anonymous said...

I'm just saying next year we'll have everyone healthy on D, hopefully a new defensive mentality, FINALLY a tough and seasoned o-line, a gamebreaking receiver, and a stable of running backs...I dont think our QB drop off will be that bad.

Didn't we all freak when we lost Greene, Pollack, Gibson, Brown, Thurman and Davis, too?

ugagirl24 said...

Jarred - PUH-LEEZE! Staff doesn't need the money? He's from a wealthy family, but not to the point he can walk away from $30 million. Trust! And Highland Park is not the Sandy Springs of Dallas. More like the "old" Buckhead, if you know what I mean. Just sayin . . .

Anonymous said...

Jaytee - Greene won all those games because he had a DEFENSE! And he was a super qb. Total gamer. Best thing every happened to him was getting pushed by Shockley. Stafford would have been better if Cox was able to realistically compete with him instead of being his best buddy.

Ya'll are right about the running backs - nobody looks anywhere near as close to as good as Moreno - when he's not taking himself out of the game. I like 22 over King right now as the backup. He runs harder, he might be faster and he's a big boy. God forbid we'd mash some people next year with a good OL and a big running back coming behind Munzenmaier (sp?).

You can kiss Stafford bu-by - there's millions and millions of reasons why.

Peace out.

Anonymous said...

Stafford will stay so that he won't have to go play for the Lions.

Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Dawg19 has a point: Instead of Cox as Tee Martin, what about Cox-Grey as a Greene-Shockley, Leak-Tebow type pair?

Anonymous said...

To all of you saying Staff should come back to work on his deep ball, decision making, etc.... What does he have left to work on if he couldn't possible get drafted any higher than he already will be. There's no room for improvement in college. He's the best Pro-style QB in the game, so he'll declare early and "learn how to throw the deep ball" while making millions. I hate saying it because I'd love to have him back but it's really a no-brainer.

Anonymous said...

logan gray may be good, but he's not tebow. tebow is a once in a generation type player, and as much as urban hates to hear it, tebow is a system QB.

unless you have a real game changer like tebow, i think the two-qb system is a bad idea. i always thought that greene lost some rhythm when shockley came in, and conversely, shockley never was able to develop a rhythm. i think the greene-shockley system is another example of richt being loyal to a fault. while greene-shockley may have racked up a lot of wins, i think as Hunkering Hank points out that it had as much to do with the DEFENSE as anything. Stafford may not win as many games as Greene-Shockley, but the offense he has lead is light years ahead of the Greene-Shockley offense.

Anonymous said...

You guys are right. We'll feel the loss of Knowshon more, I think, then Stafford next year. Cox appears to be competent. There was a serious dropoff, however, when Knowshon was not lining up in the backfield for us. Not saying that King or Samuel can't grow into good or even great backs--I of course hope they do--but as of right now they haven't shown me much but a propensity to run for a two yard gain or mishandle kick/punt returns.

Muckbeast said...

There is no way either Stafford or Moreno come back next year. Stafford already have an "oops" moment when he had his first 300 yard game this year. He said something like "It is nice to get that done before my time here is over." He was already acting like he was on his final season.

And Moreno... RB don't need to take extra punishment.

The rookie salary cap is just the final nail in the coffin. A lot of people will go pro this year that wouldn't have otherwise, which sucks. The NFL shouldn't have dragged their feet on this and should have just sat down and made the rookie cap happen without letting it linger.

Anonymous said...

Stafford will be taking Ballroom Dancing next year.

Anonymous said...

Staff said something like, "I couldn't imagine leaving Georgia without having done that (thrown for 300 yards)"

Anonymous said...

Stafford is gone. He definitely needs improvement with consistency, footwork, touch, etc. but he's not going to get it with the coaching in Athens. He has reached his full potential with the Dawgs.

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