As an 11-time Pro Bowler, Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez has made a lot of money in his NFL career. But he’s never signed a contract as lucrative as the one Sam Bradford signed as the first overall pick in last year’s draft, before he had ever played a down in the NFL. And Gonzalez says it’s past time for that to change.
“For a rookie to come in and make $60-70 million guaranteed, I say — and everybody can agree with that — is absolutely ridiculous,” Gonzalez said on Sports Talk Radio 610 in Houston, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “They have not played a down on that field. You might as well take that money and give that to the veterans and maybe that solves some type of problem where we do give back a little bit to the ownership.”
Gonzalez says everyone can agree that it’s time for a rookie wage scale, and yet so far the owners and and the players haven’t implemented such a system. The NFL has reportedly proposed diverting $300 million from rookie pay into veteran pay, but we won’t know until the lockout ends whether such a system will be implemented.
“I don’t know what’s going on with these negotiations,” Gonzalez said. “Maybe it has been bought up. Maybe they can’t do it for whatever reason, but it seems like the common-sense answer right there.”
Gonzalez is right: The common-sense answer is for players to earn their pay, and for proven veterans to make more money than unproven rookies. If the owners and the players can’t come up with a way to reign in spending on rookies and use the savings to reward veterans, it would be absolutely ridiculous.