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NFL Labor Negotiations: Back To The Rookie Wage Scale

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When the NFL labor battle was just starting to gear up a year or two ago, one of the early topics of discussion was the owners belief in the need for a rookie wage scale. The players gave some push back on the subject but given the chance to move more money away from rookies and back to the veterans, I've got to think the current union/trade association members would not lose sleep over re-arranging the chips.

Over at PFT Florio discussed the arguments made by agents about a rookie wage scale. Well known agent Tom Condon made the argument that contracts at the top of the draft helped veteran players get bigger deals of their own. Of course, as Florio points out, those big contracts at the top of the draft can often lead to busts down the road. In some sense it becomes a chicken and egg issue because some of these players would have washed out even without the big money.

Jason Lisk over at The Big Lead put together some interesting thoughts (with some informative links) about the basis for a rookie wage scale and why the situation is not as bad as the owners would have you believe. At the same time, he acknowledges that there are legitimate reasons for instituting some sort of rookie scale, whether it be potentially reducing holdouts or getting rookies to free agency that much soon.

I've got to think there will be some kind of rookie wage scale in the new CBA. While it has a significant financial impact, that impact is hurting a small number of players at the top of the draft while benefiting veterans in terms of more money being available for them. Furthermore, the scale could be a valuable bargaining chip for the players. Conceivably if the players are going to be accepting a deal with a small percentage of the tv money, the money removed from the top of the draft would seem to satisfy some of that void.