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On rookie wage scale, league, players don’t seem to be squabbling over much

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It’s now widely accepted that the last remaining major issue to be resolved between the league and the NFLPA* relates to the rookie wage scale, a formula for paying players taken at the top of the draft far less than they’ve been otherwise making.

The two sides really aren’t all that far apart.  Based on a summary of the situation that the NFLPA* recently provided to player reps, a copy of which we have obtained, three main points need to be ironed out.

First, the owners want first-round picks to be subject to a maximum of four-year contracts plus a team option for the fifth year.  For the first eight players in round one, the fifth-year pay would be 150 percent of the average salary of a starter at the player’s position, with a minimum of $6 million and a maximum of $12 million.  For the next eight players in round one, fifth-year salary would be 125 percent of the average starter, with a minimum of $5 million and a maximum of $10 million.  For the second half of round one, pay in the fifth year would be the average salary at the player’s position, with no minimum.

The players have proposed instead as to the first 16 rookies picked a fifth-year option salary based on the average pay for the 10 highest-paid players at the position, which essentially is the same formula used for the transition tag.  For the second half of round one, the players have proposed an option-year salary based on the average pay for the 20 highest-paid players at the position.

Next, the owners have proposed an overall dollar limit on rookie contracts of $840 million.  This would result in no additional money for players taken in rounds two through seven above minimum salaries (and, presumably, a slotted signing bonus).  The players, in contrast, have proposed a total dollar limit of $884 million, which would provide players taken in rounds two through seven a chance to negotiate salaries higher than the minimum salaries.

While the owners want to spend $44 million less per year on rookies, that’s $44 million that would go to veterans and retired players.

Finally, the league wants to impose penalties on rookies who hold out at some point during the term of their rookie contracts.  The players oppose this proposal.

The players’ financial proposal would result in savings of $157 million per year, and $1.099 billion over the expected 10-year term of the new CBA.

We’re told that, on Friday, the talks bogged down over the issue of how to pay the first eight picks.  Call us crazy, but it seems like the two sides are pretty close to a deal on that point.

It also seems like the league should accept the players’ offer.  Why shouldn’t a player taken in the top half of the draft who has played well enough in his first four years get top-1o money at his position if the team wants to keep him for a fifth year?

Again, the owners seem to be banking on the rest of the players eventually selling out the top eight draft picks.  And maybe in the end they will, especially since they’re really not fighting over all that much money.

Either way, if this is the only issue left, the two sides aren’t at the five yard line.  The ball is practically kissing the plane of the end zone, and both sides simply need to find a way to avoid pulling a DeSean Jackson.

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44 Responses to “On rookie wage scale, league, players don’t seem to be squabbling over much”
  1. trbowman says: Jul 11, 2011 6:56 PM

    Owners should give in a bit on this….

  2. 7370355q says: Jul 11, 2011 6:57 PM

    I can’t take it anymore, please don’t get my hopes up!!!!

  3. tonymission says: Jul 11, 2011 6:59 PM

    Either way — when all this is over — it looks like we’re all going to be in for a better overall NFL. I like the direction this is headed… as far away from the NBA model as possible. Seems very logical.

  4. imatulsadawg says: Jul 11, 2011 7:00 PM

    Finally some actual details instead of innuendo and nut dropping or lack thereof.

  5. jakek2 says: Jul 11, 2011 7:06 PM

    The ball is practically kissing the plane of the end zone, and both sides simply need to find a way to avoid pulling a DeSean Jackson.
    ————–
    You mean not being hypocrites by speaking out against bullies in one breath and making dumb gay slurs in another breath?

  6. tbbucs09 says: Jul 11, 2011 7:07 PM

    Months and months ago I thought a rookie wage scale was considered an easy task to accomplish? Now it’s the sole reason this thing has been and will continue to be held up?

    Come on.

  7. gimmeabruschi says: Jul 11, 2011 7:12 PM

    Rookie money being a stumbling block didn’t make a lot of sense when it was reported.

    Thus the equation:

    greedy current players + greedy owners + greedy retired players = nobody gives a damn about the rookies

    You cab check my math, but I think it’s solid.

  8. pantherspaul says: Jul 11, 2011 7:13 PM

    I just want free agency and football to start.. I am tired of reading about which player picked his nose, or which one fell and scrapped his knee…

  9. footballfanatic3431 says: Jul 11, 2011 7:15 PM

    I don’t get it. If the rookie wage scale is the last big hurdle and they are practically done with it then why is everyone targeting July 21st as the date to get an agreement?

    There is no reason why they can’t get this done by Friday, July 15th, as they always had as an internal deadline.

    Don’t delay the inevitable. Get the damn thing done.

  10. Soulman45 says: Jul 11, 2011 7:17 PM

    Will I got my feel good story for to day all is well.

  11. pftstory says: Jul 11, 2011 7:19 PM

    Ironically Dyson in the picture did not score.
    And appeared closer to scoring in pictures then he really was.

  12. ninerslady says: Jul 11, 2011 7:23 PM

    Gah! Happen! I’m so ready!

  13. movieman5 says: Jul 11, 2011 7:24 PM

    The ball is practically kissing the plane of the end zone, and both sides simply need to find a way to avoid pulling a DeSean Jackson.

    What do you mean? runing along the goalline with 00:00 on the clock to win the game? Or slowing down, stopping on a dime at the goalline, spinning around, and falling backwards like it’s a posturepedic mattress commerical. Love him or hate him he is very entertaining.

  14. tonyinmd says: Jul 11, 2011 7:24 PM

    “Why shouldn’t a player taken in the top half of the draft who has played well enough in his first four years get top-1o money at his position if the team wants to keep him for a fifth year?”

    Well, that’s not fair IMHO because a team may want to keep that player for the 5th year and while they want him to start, he may not be a top 10 player at his position.

    Say the Packers want to keep AJ Hawk under this system (pretend he didn’t re-up with them yet). If they want to keep him that 5th year, they’d have to commit to paying him top 1o position salary? He is clearly not one of the top 10 LB’s in the game…yet the Packers would have to pay him as such.

    And vice versa…a guy like Haloti Ngata should not be stuck getting paid average of the top 10 DT’s when he is clearly one of the 3 or 4 best DT’s in the game.

    There needs to be more creative thinking here…I don’t really like either proposal.

  15. irisht53 says: Jul 11, 2011 7:27 PM

    I am generally pro-owner for many of the issues, but if these are the two options, I am much more in favor of the Players proposal than the owners. If a player makes it to year 4 in the league, the team should have plenty of knowledge on that Player on whether or not sign him long term or cut him loose. If the owners have the option to keep a player for a 5th season, that player should be well compensated, and getting paid in the top half or better of the league at their respective postion seems plenty fair to me.

  16. KIR says: Jul 11, 2011 7:27 PM

    Is the purpose of the rookie wage scale to eliminate paying bust. Or to underpay the future stars and Pro Bowlers?

  17. mathsimillion says: Jul 11, 2011 7:31 PM

    It seems strange to me that the veterans want to the overall pay to rookies to be higher. I would imagine they would rather have that money go to the veterans and the retired players.

    I doesn’t make any sense other than the fact that by paying rookies higher they will have more leverage to bargain higher paying contracts for the elite players or starters when it comes time for their contract to be up.

    I’m not sure why the vets would care more about the rookies who are taking their jobs than the guys who paved the way for them to make the outrageous contracts that they are making now.

  18. buc13jcs says: Jul 11, 2011 7:32 PM

    Oh, Ok…So you mean a deal still isn’t done…I know I’m going to get punched in the face, but I can’t stop checking in!

  19. 3crowns says: Jul 11, 2011 7:35 PM

    Can someone tell me why the owners care so much about this? It does not affect their bottom line at all – it’s simply how to divide money between rookies and veterans. Seems like they should just go with the players on this one. Lower rookie salaries make sense for everyone but why do the owners feel the need to try to lock up and underpay successful rookies? They’ll still have to pay their minimum salary cap anyway?

  20. rambo08 says: Jul 11, 2011 7:42 PM

    So in the past twelve hours we’ve gone from the NFL is close to a deal to the NFL is not close to a deal and back to the NFL is close to a deal again?

    They really know how to drive traffic to this site. You’ve got to hand it to them.

  21. Boola says: Jul 11, 2011 7:44 PM

    Can’t help but wonder whether the anonymous “drop his nuts” player is a 2011 1st-round draft pick…

  22. grandsonofcoach says: Jul 11, 2011 7:46 PM

    Okay PFT. Please make up your mind. Two articles ago you seemed to believe that an un-named player could be right that the league was feeding the media “were close” talk when the sides may not be All that close. Now were at the 1 inch line?!? Talk about having it both ways.

  23. eaglesnoles05 says: Jul 11, 2011 7:46 PM

    Then obviously that’s not it, bro.

  24. greenbay4ever says: Jul 11, 2011 7:54 PM

    This should be the easiest issue of them all. Just get it done already.

  25. bradjames33160 says: Jul 11, 2011 7:58 PM

    So if they’re not far apart, they just need to do what I do every day in the morning: get your work done! If these players ever finished college while playing collegiate football, they’d know the value of eschewing procrastination.

    It is interesting that many of the savvy, erudite veterans, such as Brian Dawkins, know procrastination is bad.

    At the end of the day, if we have our deal with all things intact, you can’t really complain, especially when the NFL and CFL play games concurrently. That’s a great time of year my friends!

  26. hobartbaker says: Jul 11, 2011 8:00 PM

    Players doen’t want to throw the rooks too hard under the bus. Who will carry their equipment in training camp?

  27. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Jul 11, 2011 8:04 PM

    “While the owners want to spend $44 million less per year on rookies, that’s $44 million that would go to veterans and retired players.”

    Can PFT please explore why a union that represents, you know, current players what to give more money to guys that aren’t even members of the union yet vs. to their own members(vets)? That should be a 100% vote in favor for, unless maybe you had a little brother coming out next year.

  28. dave20109 says: Jul 11, 2011 8:06 PM

    Way too close not to reach agreement. But, once again, why are the owners wrong? Why don’t they just meet in the middle of their proposals? (I know they are based on different numbers, but it would be simple enough to figure out a formula that would be close to the middle of where they are)

    The only thing that would really change my opinion is knowing where they started. Which side- if either- has given more in the negotiation?

  29. thephantomstranger says: Jul 11, 2011 8:07 PM

    If this is really the last major hurdle, they’re just stretching it out to mess with us. They could hammer this out in a couple hours.

  30. tntitansfan10 says: Jul 11, 2011 8:27 PM

    Go titans!

  31. rugdog100 says: Jul 11, 2011 8:41 PM

    Did the lawyers get paid any less because they didn’t squabble over much? Nope… another full day’s pay the the leagal teams. What a joke.

  32. laeaglefan says: Jul 11, 2011 8:42 PM

    “both sides simply need to find a way to avoid pulling a DeSean Jackson.”

    Even DeSean Jackson eventually does a back flip (or other cutesy maneuver) into the end zone. Except for the time he flipped the ball away in Dallas before he crossed the goal line. Let’s hope the owners and players don’t go that route!

  33. tommyf15 says: Jul 11, 2011 9:08 PM

    thereisalwaysnextyear says:
    Can PFT please explore why a union that represents, you know, current players what to give more money to guys that aren’t even members of the union yet vs. to their own members(vets)? That should be a 100% vote in favor for, unless maybe you had a little brother coming out next year.

    I’d like to think the NFLPA and it’s membership would have more integrity than to do that.

    During the 1981 baseball strike the owners made an offer that severely limited the free agency rights of the players, but would keep the current system in place for the current group of players, “grandfathering” them in a sense.

    God Bless ‘em, Marvin Miller and the MLBPA refused to sell out it’s future members. I hope the NFLPA acts in a similar nature.

  34. dangonavyboy says: Jul 11, 2011 9:27 PM

    yeah i would hate to be an owner and give a 1st rnd rookie like 50million upfront and him turn into russell..i dont get why they wont just be like look rookies you get a 5 year deal..1 million for first 2 years..then 2 million last 2 years..and a 5th year option is up to you..like a franchise tag..or you can test the market..or resign..im sorry its just football to me and sports..these guys in general dont need to be making a crap ton of money anyway..thats why i dont care for them losing money..its sad that i have done 4 combat tours to the middle east(2 iraq-2 afghan) and i think total combined i made out at 150,000…thats after 3.. 1 year long deployments and a 15 month long deployment..but i guess running fast and catching and throwin is more important than protecting our country..who knew..

  35. pocketsstraight says: Jul 11, 2011 9:36 PM

    The fifth year is not about how much the owners will have to pay a player in the fifth year…..

    It is about where the long term contract talks begin.

    You cannot tell a fifth year player to use the average salary at his position as the starting point for a new salary if he get either top 10 or free ageny…

  36. tomwill21 says: Jul 11, 2011 9:37 PM

    What happened to right of right refusal?

  37. goawayeverybody says: Jul 11, 2011 9:39 PM

    Oh that photo of Dyson is classic. So close yet so far. That was one of the best Super Bowls of all time and it isn’t given its due.

  38. 00reo says: Jul 11, 2011 9:46 PM

    Why ya gotta go w/ the 1 yd short picture?? :)

  39. barronhastoholdorakpo says: Jul 11, 2011 9:56 PM

    I didn’t think the Union existed. When was it reformed? Oh yeah….that was an illegal labor dispute tactical move…..although the players said there was no labor dispute….I’m confused.

  40. nfceastisbeast says: Jul 11, 2011 10:09 PM

    If you’re going to throw in the cheap shot DeSean Jackson reference, throw in the Brian Westbrook play where he fell down at the 1yd. line to run out the clock instead of scoring and giving the (Cowboys, if memory serves) a chance to get the ball back. It goes both ways.

  41. mikei2 says: Jul 12, 2011 12:43 AM

    They do seem close.
    Owners will still siphon money out of the game and into their lifestyles.
    Agents will still drain money out of franchises for unproven college phenoms.
    So everybody’s happy, right?
    Play ball!

  42. mkdave23 says: Jul 12, 2011 4:18 AM

    @nfceastisbeast, you surely can’t think those two plays were the same thing? Brian Westbrook taking a knee at the 1 was in order to preserve a victory, scoring a TD would have put 7 on the board but this gives the opposing team a chance to recover an onside kick. A comeback would have been hugely unlikely but not impossible. Jackson started his celebration early in a game that was very much a live ballgame. It was pure jackassery.

  43. deeppurple23 says: Jul 12, 2011 7:34 AM

    You mean I’m miss football for this BS. Sad.

  44. arcaero says: Jul 12, 2011 8:27 AM

    Waiting patiently now for today’s bad news post. Over/under is 4pm EDT.

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