After NBA free agency kicked off with a billion dollars in contracts extended to players in the first week, NFL players took to social media to voice their displeasure with the salary discrepancy between the leagues. Niner Noise takes a look at why NFL players are misguided in comparing the two leagues’ salary structures.
More money. Less work. It is what we all would like.
Apparently NFL players would especially like that to be the case. After the first wave of NBA free-agent contracts were given out — to the tune of $1 billion, including Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry’s five-year, $201 million contract — many pro football players jumped on Twitter to weigh in on the exorbitant money being doled out to NBA players.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins tweeted his thoughts regarding the matter:
While I could lament on the irony of the oft-injured Watkins speaking on getting more money, when he has not lived up to the money given to him as the fourth overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, I’ll just move on.
And while others, like Seattle Seahawks corner Richard Sherman, spoke about players needing to strike to get guaranteed money, that thought process is off-base.
For starters, the number of players on rosters for each league are so disproportionate, that the numbers can’t be similar.
Yes, quarterback Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders recently signed a five-year, $125 million contract, but there is a premium on quarterbacks in today’s game. But the average NFL starter should not hold his breath waiting for similar money to be thrown his way.
NFL teams typically have between 16 and 20 coaches on their staff with a 53-man roster and a practice squad to pay out. In comparison, NBA teams have five or six coaches and a roster of roughly 12-15 players.
While the NFL is a money-making machine, the television contract the NBA has, with an 82 game regular-season schedule as opposed to the NFL’s 16-game schedule, does help to offset some of the difference between the two leagues’ revenue streams.
Not to mention, the NBA has the luxury of paying guaranteed money to its players because the inherent risk is much greater in the NFL than it is in basketball.
And finally, one of the more glaring differences may be in the players unions of each league.
The NFL Players Association, with DeMaurice Smith at the helm, is arguably the worst of the three major sports (NFL, NBA and MLB). After the league’s collective bargaining agreement was negotiated, the consensus was that the NFLPA got steamrolled by owners.
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Along with a misguided emphasis on fewer practices and a rookie salary cap, that was intended to free up more money for veterans in free agency, the end result was actually more detrimental than helpful.
With an increase in injuries during training camp and early season games, teams also began to realize rather than pay big contracts to veteran free agents, they could draft rookies who will be locked in to a lower salary for the first three years they are in the league. That put more money back in the owners’ pockets. After all, these are billionaire executives with an eye always on their bottom line. They honestly could not care less about giving up a few practices in order to keep a bigger piece of the pie.
Ultimately, Sherman may be right in stating that the players may have to strike to get more guaranteed money, but I simply do not see that happening. The owners’ pockets will always be deeper than the players on their roster, and guaranteed money to anyone other than quarterbacks will be tough sledding in a league that will always have substantial injury risks.
And with the current CBA in place until 2021, the wait for these potential changes is still quite a ways in the distance.