Should the NFL Have Rookie Salary Caps?


Should the NFL have a rookie salary cap? Answer in the poll to the right.

Each year a discussion of whether or not the NFL should have a rookie salary cap is debated.  This year at the start of training camp 21 of the 32 first-round draft picks were unsigned.  As of August 5, 2009 nine players drafted in the first-round are unsigned, six of the players were drafted in the top-ten.  This seems more urgent to me being as a Niner fan and wanting Michael Crabtree to get into training camp as soon as possible.  With the NFL owners opting out of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement in May of this year you have to think with this year’s rookie class holding out, a rookie salary cap will be part of the negotiations.  The NBA has a rookie salary cap scale that pays first round draft picks according to the number they were drafted.  The first pick receivers more than the second, the second more than the third and so on.  All NBA rookie contracts are for two years with team options for the third and fourth years.  The NBA and any other sports league can impose rookie salary caps because, well, the only people they affect are those still in college which have no voice in the bargaining agreements.  You can bet NFL owners will bring this up in negotiations and the NFL players union will say yes to give a concession to the oweners as they negotiate better terms for contracts of players already in the NFL.

The most talked about position in the NFL is at quarterback.  QB’s more often than other positions get the highest contracts regardless of when they were drafted.  The most difficult position for college players transitioning into the NFL is also at QB.   With a rookie salary cap teams can sit potential NFL stars without having to worry about the pressures from the front office on getting a palyer in which the team has so much money invested onto the field to produce results.   This goes for any position on the roster but the QB position produces the most draft busts.  Remember Ryan Leaf, Heath Shuler, Akili Smith, Andre Ware, and Jim Druckenmiller (drafted 26th in first-round by the Niner’s )?  The only thing these players are remembered for are NFL draft busts and the millions invested in them that were wasted.  There have been plenty of other busts at other poistions most notably running back and wide receiver which compounds the issue.  The NBA has shown the way for the NFL when how to deal with bloated rookie contracts and the potential for teams to lose millions of dollars on a player who has never proven anything in NFL.

Keep updated automatically through email on 49ers news at Niner Noise. Subscribe here:  http://feeds.feedburner.com/NinerNoise

Tags: 2009 Nfl Draft Class Akili Smith Andre Ware Heath Shuler Jim Druckenmiller Michael Crabtree NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement Ryan Leaf Should The NFL Have Rookie Salary Caps?

  • http://www.baycoastcp.com Sher Graham

    Yes, there should be a rookie salary cap. They should have to prove themselves as any other employee does in any other business to gain a higher salary. Giving them too much in the beginning does not guarantee success on the field nor in their personal lives. Too many make unhealthy choices and live life on the edge and end up on the edge their first five years. They need to be given incentives based on performance and being a part of the team, not just because they had a great college career. Salaries in the NFL are not consistent with ability and performance and it needs to be changed – for the good of all players.

  • Odquest

    Rookie salary cap (about 75% of the AVERAGE of what they’ve been getting over the past THREE seasons), maximum 4 years on ANY rookie deal, and raise the veteran minimums!!

    This will probably have the immediate effect of reducing the number of underclassmen who declare early. I can live with that. BCS schools will LOVE it.

  • http://viksports.blogspot.com Vik

    The current rookie pool measure means that all rookies are paid out of the same pool of money. So, when Michael Crabtree(for example) gets 25 million guaranteed, someone else gets shorted.

    I think that the NFL needs to cap these top end salaries, but that lower round picks should actually get raises. They are underpaid when their historical pay increases are compared to the cap increases.

  • bwalk1154

    The bigger issue regarding football player compensation relates the lack of compensation provided to college football players. As it stands, these top round NFL draft picks are making millions of dollars on behalf of university athletic programs, and media outlets, but their compensation is limited to a scholarship (which except for the most disciplined student-athlete can rarely be taken advantage of because their time consuming schedule of practices and meetings), a couple free pairs of shoes, and a track suit. No wonder, when the time comes for them to be paid, they want to make as much money as they possible can. Especially in a dangerous profession such as football, where the only guaranteed money they’ll ever get is a signing bonus. The biggest travesty is the fact that so few college football players are drafted, and thus compensated for value they created in college.

    So, do I think a rookie salary cap in the NFL is necessary? I generally agree with Vik above, who says that later drafted rookies probably deserve more compensation, and earlier drafted rookies are way overvalued by the current system. However, this fix still leaves out a huge class of football players (un-drafted college football players), whose hard labor supports that system that holds these NFL draft picks up as top performers.

  • http://[email protected] DAVID HOOPINGARNER

    YES,THERE NEEDS TO BE A ROOKIE SALARY CAP,EVERY YEAR IT GETS OLD QUICK THAT THESE ROOKIES ARE DEMANDING BIG MONEY,AND THEY HAVE NEVER PROVEN THAT THERE WORTH THE BIG MONEY.AND IF THEY DON’T GET WHAT THEY WANT THEY HOLDOUT.IT’S NOT FAIR TO THE TEAMS AND OLDER PLAYERS,AND FANS,THAT THESE ROOKIES GET THESE OUTRAGOUS CONTACTS.IT’S HURTS THE FANS POCKETS, WE ARE THE ONE PAYING THE PRICE. WITH SKYROCKETING TICKETS, $6 HOTDOGS,$8 HAMBURGERS,$8 AND $9 BEERS AND $10 PARKING.THAT’S WHY FANS ARE NOT COMING OUT TO THE GAMES,MANY STADIUMS ARE HURTING,THEY CAN’T SELL TICKETS AND THE ECONOMY IS BAD MANY FANS ARE UNEMPLOYED NOW AND CAN’T AFFORD ALL THE PRICES!!! THE COMMISSIONER NEED TO STEP UP AND PUT A CAP ON ROOKIES SALARYS NOW.IF THEY PROVE ON THE FIELD,THAT THERE WORTH MORE MONEY IN THE SECOND YEAR PAY THEY MORE,BUT NO MORE OUTRAGOUS CONTACTS,AND COMPENSATIONS.LOOK AT WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO COMPANYS IN THE US.THE DAYS OF BIG SALARYS IS WHAT IS KILLING ALL COMPANY NOW!!!!!