TribLIVE

| Sports

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

NFL pushing for rookie cutbacks

Steelers/NFL Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By The Associated Press
Thursday, April 14, 2011
 

NEW YORK — The NFL wants to cut almost 60 percent of guaranteed pay for first-round draft picks, lock them in for five years and divert the savings to veterans' salaries and benefits.

More than $525 million went to first-rounders in guaranteed payments in 2010. The league wants to decrease that figure by $300 million, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The league's offer would free a total of more than $1.2 billion over four years through 2015 — $37.5 million per team overall — and slow the growth rate of guaranteed payments to first-rounders, which the documents show increased by 233 percent from 2000-10.

Quarterback busts such as JaMarcus Russell ($32 million), Matt Leinart ($12.9 million), David Carr ($15 million) and Joey Harrington ($13.9 million) received huge guaranteed payments that totaled $367 million in the past 10 drafts. Of course, Eli Manning ($24 million), Philip Rivers ($17.9 million) and Matt Ryan ($34.7 million) have not done too badly for their teams.

Guaranteed money paid to top-10 selections since 2000 reached nearly $2 billion. Guaranteed payments for all first-rounders were at $3.5 billion. The average career length of a first-round pick since 1993 is 9.3 years.

Philadelphia Eagles president Joe Banner said the original aim of the draft is being compromised by the expenses associated with signing top picks.

"The whole concept of the draft and ordering of the picks is to maintain competitive balance in the league," he said. "Now, teams get top picks who have become so expensive and there's the risk you can miss, and it makes the ability to trade in and out of those spots almost impossible. It can become a disadvantage to be in one of the top spots."

During talks for a new collective bargaining agreement, the league proposed eliminating holdouts by reducing the maximum allowable salary if a rookie isn't signed when training camp begins. The NFL also suggested eliminating holdouts for all veterans by prohibiting renegotiations of contracts if a player holds out in the preseason.

The compensation system would not include a rookie wage scale and would allow for individual contract negotiations. Contracts would have a fixed length of four years for players chosen in the second through seventh rounds and would not affect salaries for those rounds, the league said.

"From a fairness standpoint, the simple concept to drive this should be that the players who contribute the most to the league should get the most money," Banner said. "What this system does is ensures players playing well in the NFL and bringing in fans and driving TV (ratings) will get the money that went to players who turned out not to be so good. And that is good for everyone."

The NFL Players Association was not immediately available for comment.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Steelers

  1. Inside the Steelers: Rookie linebacker Chickillo continues to excel
  2. Steelers’ reserve quarterbacks vie to secure spot behind Roethlisberger, Gradkowski
  3. Steelers stress improved conditioning in attempt to play past injuries
  4. Steelers notebook: Tomlin says Latrobe session won’t differ from normal practice
  5. Memories of Steelers fan from Beaver Falls go beyond simple recall
  6. Starkey: Garoppolo baffles Steelers
  7. Inside the Steelers: Williams’ quickness out of backfield evident in drills
  8. Steelers notebook: LB Dupree sits out backs-on–backers drill
  9. Tight ends’ role in Steelers passing game continues to lessen but players remain selfless
  10. Steelers notebook: Rookie CB Golson still dealing with left shoulder pain
  11. Steelers LB Timmons has grown into leadership role on defense