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Last week, ESPN.com obtained documents (Insider protected) that provided the team-by-team details of the 2010 rookie salary pool. I'm not quite sure what it means to "obtain documents" in this instance. It makes it sound like Deep Throat provided them!
Anyways, the documents they obtained indicated that the 49ers rookie pool for 2010 is $5.979 million. That pool is used to pay the team's eight draft choices and also any undrafted free agents. The Rams have the highest amount of pool money at $7.596 million. The more picks and the higher your picks, the more money you get. Obviously the Rams will be spending a lot more than $7.596 million just on Sam Bradford, but the pool only counts for a limited portion of a given rookie contract.
NFLLabor.com gave a breakdown of what the rookie pool counts for:
[T]he rookie salary pool counts ONLY the base salary, pro-rated signing bonus and "likely-to-be earned" incentives (such as roster bonuses) earned in a player's rookie season. The rookie salary pool does NOT take into account option bonuses exercised in future years, base salary guaranteed in future years, the remaining pro-rated amount of the rookie-year signing bonus, or "not-likely-to-be-earned" incentives (such as playtime that is coupled with team improvement in various statistical categories) earned under the rookie contract.
After the jump we look at the issues surrounding getting the rookies signed.
The 49ers had their issues last year getting Michael Crabtree signed, but obviously there were some rather extenuating circumstances in that instance. One would imagine all things being equal, the 49ers should be able to get Davis and Iupati into camp on time. Or, at the very least, they better bust their butts to get them in (don't wanna jinx it).
However, things might not in fact all be equal because of the current labor situation. I've seen it mentioned several times, but could only find a Pro Football Weekly link on this issue. Basically, the Rams appear to be taking their time getting a deal done with Sam Bradford. Part of it might be due to the ownership issues they've got going on. However, part of it also might be related to the labor turmoil:
Another interesting potential wrinkle in the Bradford negotiations is the possibility that the Rams may be biding their time because of the outside shot a new labor agreement could be reached later this offseason that would include a rookie wage scale, which would obviously scale down the rookie salary structure dramatically. We hear the Rams' hierarchy has indeed taken this scenario into account, claiming that any whispers at all regarding a new deal are something they would be compelled to take into account. That said, it's worth noting that there's appears to be very little progress in the negotiations on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement at present.
Personally, I'd be shocked if a labor deal was worked out by training camp, or even at any point in the upcoming season. However, the Rams decision to take their sweet time locking up Bradford is arguably slowing down the rest of the teams' attempts to sign draft picks. The general slotting system that we often see with first round picks can be helpful in getting deals done, but if there's a deal somewhere, it can add some time to the process.
Of course, the 49ers took forever getting Crabtree locked up, and everybody around him was signed in short order. And, given that the Rams are dealing with a quarterback, the guaranteed money will be pretty hefty, and won't be as big an issue for the non-QB draft choices. Whatever the case, we'll just have to wait and see how long it takes for the teams in general, and the 49ers in particular, to get rookies signed and delivered by training camp.
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