Given the recent economic woes can top draft picks expect to receive more money than their counterparts in previous years? It's a question yet to be asked but could be making headlines soon.
The NFL draft has always been an expensive process for teams. Fans are anxious to see their top pick in uniform. Teams heavily depend on the drafted player to build optimism and sell tickets for the upcoming season, especially the bad teams holding the highest, most highly touted picks. Annually agents successfully hold their clients ransom for 2-5% pay increase over the previous year's offering. NFL teams have little negotiating room and risk a huge lose if they don't get their player into training camp.
The price of top draft picks has grown to be astronomical even in good economic times. The question of who to draft is no longer about the best player available. It's who is the best player the team can afford. Previous top draft picks Mario Williams and Jake Long were selected because teams felt they could reach an amendable contract but were not considered the top prospect entering the NFL.
Many experts speculate the economic system of the NFL draft has been teetering on collapse for years. Well this just might be the year it happens. You only have look at the bearish payrolls of the NBA to see what awaits. NBA teams have struggled mightily to sell tickets in this current economic climate. As a result the majority of NBA teams have used the trade deadline to gut their payroll, even if it means giving up top performers for little value or cash.
Come fall it will the NFL's turn to deal with economic hardship. You can bet GM's have already been given orders to trim payroll as owners are already flush from economic losses and visions of saging ticket sales on the way. The question remains how will agents and their highly drafted clients react? Are we going to finally see a break in the draft payroll uptick? Or are we in for a brutal battle between teams and agents with many top draft picks missing camp, possibly part the season holding out for the status quo?