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Pro Bowl stats tend to support league’s position on rookie wage scale

Pro Bowl Football

The NFL has taken a more subtle approach (for a change) to its P.R. efforts regarding the rookie wage scale, a genuinely-needed adjustment to the system for which the NFL Players Association undoubtedly is seeking significant concessions, even though reform of the current windfall approach to paying players the top of the draft is in the best interests of the members of the union.

In an item posted at NFLLabor.com, the website specifically created and maintained by the league for the purposes of crafting public opinion regarding the ongoing labor drama (the union has one, too), the NFL points out that the average experience of the 2010 Pro Bowlers is 6.8 years.  Also, more than 83 percent of the Pro Bowlers have at least four years of experience.

The newly-minted AFC and NFC Pro Bowl squads include only four rookies.

The league’s unspoken message (but for the presence of the phrase “money players” in the title to the blurb) is that the best players in the league are the proven, experienced players, and thus that they’re the ones who should be getting the money, not the first-year players who, despite the hype they generate, rarely become impact players in the first year of their careers.

Of course, one of the flaws in this theory is that more than a few players earned their Pro Bowl berths not in the current season but in past ones, and that they’ve qualified for the team based only on reputation.  (Ravens safety Ed Reed spent the first six weeks of the regular season on the PUP list, for example, but he qualified for the Pro Bowl.)

Still, the combined fan, player, and coach voting demonstrates that the best players in the NFL are the ones who have played in the NFL for more than a few years.  Even if the bulk of the veteran Pro Bowlers were once first-round picks, for every first-rounder who becomes a perennial Pro Bowler, we can show you a first-rounder who currently has a better shot at becoming a professional bowler.

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26 Responses to “Pro Bowl stats tend to support league’s position on rookie wage scale”
  1. chapnastier says: Dec 30, 2010 7:48 AM

    The point is just to give rookies a one or two year deal that allows the player to make a better living than he could ever imagine doing anything else and at the same time limit the financial risk to the team. If I could earn between $250,000 and 1 million from age 22-24 then I could live comfortably while I either went back to finish my degree or established my real career.

  2. mike83ri says: Dec 30, 2010 7:49 AM

    Maybe because Ed Reed is a freak of nature and despite playing in only 9 games so far has 7 turnovers. Averaging almost 1 turnover a game from just one player is saying something.

  3. descendency says: Dec 30, 2010 7:52 AM

    Logan Mankins. 7 games, Pro-Bowler.

    He’s played awesome, but no one who plays 7 games belongs on the pro-bowl roster.

  4. mcwest1 says: Dec 30, 2010 8:03 AM

    :The league’s unspoken message (but for the presence of the phrase “money players” in the title to the blurb) is that the best players in the league are the proven, experienced players, and thus that they’re the ones who should be getting the money, not the first-year players who, despite the hype they generate, rarely become impact players in the first year of their careers.”

    Let me start by saying that I’m all for a rookie wage scale. No way should a rookie get paid more than a proven vet. Even if that vet is an average NFL player, he still proved himself to be an NFL player.

    Those top 10 rookies raise the pay scale for all NFL players, especially the top NFL veterans’ with new contractts coming up. If a pay scale is adopted for rookies, it will lower the future pay scale of the vets.

  5. toe4 says: Dec 30, 2010 8:10 AM

    An NFL team plays young players enormous sums of money not because they will play like Pro Bowlers but rather so that the team will have first shot at paying even larger sums of money if that player becomes a pro bowler later in his career.

    Think of it as a PSL for the players.

    The teams have no problems charging me enormous sums of money for the right to pay even more enormous sums of money later.

    /sympathy

  6. mcwest1 says: Dec 30, 2010 8:15 AM

    Sam Bradford signed a 6-year contract with $50 million of the $78 million guaranteed. This gives PManning lots of leverage on his next contract.

    Had Bradford only been guaranteed $15 million it would have lessened PManning’s leverage for guaranteed money.

    Because Bradford increased Manning’s money, the next tier of QBs will increase their money more than it would have increased without Bradford’s deal.

    Just like Suh’s and McCoy’s contracts will raise the money of veteran DTs coming up for new contracts.

  7. mrznyc says: Dec 30, 2010 8:56 AM

    If rookie pay is a problem – Pay them less

  8. patriotsworld says: Dec 30, 2010 8:59 AM

    It’s the same way in baseball. Paying a player who has never played a single down or inning is just plain stupid. The owners created this monster, now they have to fix it.

  9. jimmysee says: Dec 30, 2010 9:26 AM

    Limiting rookie pay could go hand in hand with three-year restricted free agency.

    The player could go out and find his market value; then his team could match the deal or lose the player.

    Seems fair to me.

  10. PFTiswhatitis says: Dec 30, 2010 9:47 AM

    chapnastier says:
    Dec 30, 2010 7:48 AM
    If I could earn between $250,000 and 1 million from age 22-24 then I could live comfortably while I either went back to finish my degree or established my real career.
    ——————————
    Dreamer.

    descendency says:
    Dec 30, 2010 7:52 AM
    Logan Mankins. 7 games, Pro-Bowler.
    He’s played awesome, but no one who plays 7 games belongs on the pro-bowl roster.
    —————————–
    Sure he does. He is consistently better than virtually anyone else. Isn’t that what the pro-bowl is about?

  11. pocketsstraight says: Dec 30, 2010 9:52 AM

    @mcwest1 — Your point is a good one. Unfortunately it also lowers the salary of the “middle of the road” guys.

    look at NFL salaries over the last 7 years, the cap rate (Salary Cap a team uses/ Total Salary Cap) has gone up league wide (i.e. on average, teams are spending closer to the cap then they were previously). At the same time, the Normalized Average Salary (Average Salary/ Total Salary Cap) has also gone up. However, the Normalized Median Salary (Median Salary/ Total Salary Cap) has gone down. Also the Median Difference (Average Salary – Median Salary) has gone way up.

    What this means is that the teams are spending more money, and the top players are making much more money. But more players are falling well below the average salary making essentially a divide between the haves and the have nots. Some people think this is good, pure capitalism. The best players are getting paid larger contracts while the average players are being paid significantly less. However the concept that, “Those top 10 rookies raise the pay scale for all NFL players”, is not factual at all. Those top 10 rookies raise the pay scale for the upper echelon of NFL vets while lowering the pay scale for everyone else.

    I am not making a judgment on this, there are very valid points on both sides of the argument, just pointing out that the economics of football do not back up your statement.

  12. cappa662 says: Dec 30, 2010 10:01 AM

    Only the top 5 picks is out of wack. Thr franchise tag is what really restricts salaries from going up

  13. patmcrotch says: Dec 30, 2010 10:02 AM

    Here is a simple way to fix the pay scale issue.

    Quit making it public what everyone is making.

    If CJ1.325K didn’t have other players salaries read to him, it would be purely performance based.

    I would love to see the NFL, NBA, MLB etc start treating their pay like real life companies do. Could you imagine if McDonalds paid employees 30K to start. Then after their 90 day evaluation was up, they went down to the more standard 19K

  14. paulieorkid says: Dec 30, 2010 10:11 AM

    “…. supports the League position ….” ?????

    Huh?

    No support needed – I didn’t know this required any support. It’s obvious – this has been inarguable in any reasonable sense for many decades.

    Unproven rooks get contracts that are either exaggerated or deflated — based on what is essentially speculation.

    Some rooks never deserve what they got initially. Ryan Leaf comes to mind; so does Jamarcus Russell, as do many others.

    Other rooks deserve a lot more than their intial contract. Tom Brady is an obvious example – one of many.

    The solution? Let the playing field serve as the proving ground. Remove the speculation. Strip it away to the extent possible.

    Of course the League position (in this particular instance) is right.

    Reward the players who have EARNED it on the field.

  15. dangeralert says: Dec 30, 2010 10:12 AM

    That pro bowl/pro bowler line at the end was great.

  16. chucknoll says: Dec 30, 2010 10:21 AM

    GO STEELERS!! Maurkice Pouncey is a 1st round rookie in the probowl..hopefully he will have to decline so he can play in the superbowl LOL

  17. bonesuggsnharmony says: Dec 30, 2010 10:34 AM

    Are you seriously knocking Ed Reed? He was out for six weeks and still more productive than any other safety in the league – 6 interceptions and 1 forced fumble — last week he also cracked Peyton Hillis with that shot in the back to keep him from having a good game. The man is a freak of nature and the best at his position — he deserves the Pro Bowl selection

  18. nesuperfan says: Dec 30, 2010 10:39 AM

    I would be in favor of limiting the guaranteed money, but allow liberal incentives, so if you happen to be a rookie standout, you get what you deserve. Even then, in most cases, a rookie standout’s numbers will not put them at the very top of the pay scale, but on par with a very good, but not great veteran.

  19. bonesuggsnharmony says: Dec 30, 2010 10:40 AM

    how come Sam Koch didnt make the Pro Bowl — dude always has the ball in between the 20yd and goalline – and he has more balls inside the 10yd line than the guy who made it over him… If he was a Patriot with those numbers he would surely have made it

  20. nsevh76 says: Dec 30, 2010 10:51 AM

    “Other rooks deserve a lot more than their intial contract. Tom Brady is an obvious example – one of many.”

    Tom Brady’s rookie year he threw 3 passes and completed one for six yards. It was his second year when he started playing. Had he gotten a huge contract as a rookie I’m sure everyone would have complained. The second year on he was underpaid.

  21. myspaceyourface says: Dec 30, 2010 10:52 AM

    ROOKIE CONTRACTS: 3 years and a payment scale depending on where you were drafted. . . .

    They can sign an extension after their 2nd year.

    They can be franchised under the current system.

    Their 2nd contract will be the big pay day if they are worth it.

    They should also begin to renegotiate contracts based on performance. . . This would further increase the quality of effort and play on the field.

  22. FinFan68 says: Dec 30, 2010 11:10 AM

    nesuperfan says:
    Dec 30, 2010 10:39 AM
    I would be in favor of limiting the guaranteed money, but allow liberal incentives, so if you happen to be a rookie standout, you get what you deserve.
    —————————–
    I completely agree with your statement but there is a nasty side to it. What would the incentives be for offensive lineman, DTs, etc.? The incentive argument is tough to do because of the scheme the team uses. Some “skill” players would benefit but others will blame everyone else if they don’t get their numbers. That will cause more d-bags like Haynesworth to refuse to play in a specific system because it will impact the stats that are required for a big-time paycheck.

  23. brazy44 says: Dec 30, 2010 12:14 PM

    The current system pays 3% of total player salary to the rookies. I think that means the rookie pool is 3% of monies allocated to player salaries. How that 3% is paid out, is done by the owners.
    The salary cap has gone up every year, because there was a provision in the CBA that said if a majority of the owners didn’t spend a specific salary floor, the salary CAP increases. This shows that most owners were not spending money on players anyway.

  24. Jack Burton says: Dec 30, 2010 12:17 PM

    Hate the Ravens but Reed deserves to be in the Pro Bowl. Other than Polamalu or Woodson he’s the biggest ball hawk in the league.

  25. 82goboys says: Dec 30, 2010 12:29 PM

    I say many position players should have incentive-heavy contracts. That way, you don’t have people that get the big money and just quit.

  26. radrntn says: Dec 30, 2010 12:44 PM

    what a crock that seabass did not go to the probowl.

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