Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth, regarded by many as the likely heir to Kevin Mawae as NFLPA president, made a couple of solid points in a recent interview with reporters.
But he also swung and missed on one very important point.
On the issue of the adoption of a rookie wage scale, something the league, many veteran players, and the fans believe to be a critical aspect of the next labor deal, Foxworth prefers the status quo.
“As far as a wage scale is concerned, it’s not something
that I support,” Foxworth said, as transcribed by Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times. “This is a pay-by-potential league. If guys got paid
off what they did on the field, then guys like Tim Brown would have
made a lot more money. If the team believes in rookies’ potential,
then that’s what they should get paid. It’s kind of an unfair
concept to change the way the league works now for those young guys
just because they’re young guys and can’t defend themselves because
they’re not in the league yet.”
But then Foxworth undermined his own position, admitting that the union would be willing to change the “pay-for-potential” model if the veterans would get all of the money that would be saved. Foxworth failed to mention that the union also insisted on a three-year path to free agency and no franchise tags or restricted free agency tenders.
“I think players should get paid on potential,” Foxworth reiterated. “The onus
falls on General Managers to make the right decisions on draft
picks. They get steals in many cases.”
He’s right on the last point — the teams do get steals. And the system not only should prevent the JaMarcus Russells of the world from getting millions for failing to realize even 1/100th of his potential, but it also should reward the players like Titans running back Chris Johnson and Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson, who become great players despite being picked later in the process. (More on that later today.)
Either way, Foxworth comes off as grossly out of touch on this issue. Fans don’t want their teams to continue to pay player based on potential. They want them to pay for performance. And if the union pushes the “pay-for-potential” argument too hard, they’ll alienate the people they need in their corner the most — the paying customers, who happen to double as the constituents of the politicians whom the NFLPA already is actively courting.