Last year at about this time, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made it clear that college football players with remaining eligibility should not rush into the 2009 draft due to concerns that a rookie wage scale would be adopted for 2010. Goodel said that there would be no change to the current system until 2011 at the earliest.
Now, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that a rookie wage scale would not be implemented until 2012 at the earliest.
So if underclassmen are thinking about coming out due to concerns that the windfalls will evaporate in 2011, think again. The big money will still be there.
And Mort made a blunt plea to the players who might give up their last year of eligibility in order to chase money that might not be there if they wait another year: “Do not listen to agents who are scaring you into a rookie wage scale or a rookie cap. . . . Don’t let agents deceive you and lie about this rookie wage scale and rookie cap that would affect you into coming out early.”
That said, there’s still a chance that there won’t be football at all in 2011, which means that players drafted under the current rookie payroll structure might not be getting paid at all for possibly a year. So if agents are using that angle to persuade players to give up any remaining eligibility, the agents wouldn’t be lying.
Mort also mentioned the possibility that a rookie wage scale would be phased in, which could make any reductions in the amounts currently paid to the players at the top of the draft not sufficiently significant to be the determining factor in whether a player leaves college early in 2011, 2012, etc.