We’ve done several lockout-related polls, and the outcome has shown much more support for the owners’ positions and interests than would be expected from the average fan.
It’s time to do one on the rookie wage scale.
On Monday, we obtained a copy of the memo breaking down the respective positions of the league and the players. As to the critical question of paying first-round draft picks, the owners want the first 32 players selected to be required to sign four-year contracts, with 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 floor of $6 million and a ceiling of $12 million. For the next eight players in round one, fifth-year salary would be 125 percent of the average starter, with a guaranteed minimum of $5 million and a limit 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 pay figure.
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. 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.
Since the problem the league purports to be addressing relates to the payment of gigantic amounts of guaranteed money to rookies who never earn it, we continue to be confused by the league’s reluctance to reward in year five a player who has earned his pay in years one through four. It makes us think we’re missing something.
So we’ll leave it to you to let us know whether we are. Cast your vote in the poll pasted below.