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Rookie pool could drop in 2012

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There’s a Baby Ruth in the NFL’s rookie pool.

Yes, at a time when everyone connected to football is making more and more money, the incoming class of players could be making less.

Per a league source, it’s currently believed that the rookie pool will drop in 2012.

The problem, as the source explained it, comes from the original calculations that would have put this year’s salary cap as low as $113 million per team.  When the NFL and NFLPA agreed to bump the 2012 cap to $120.6 million per team, the NFL and the NFLPA didn’t include within the agreement the rookie pool.

Last year’s rookie pool was based on a per-team cap of $120.375 million.

A rookie pool has existed since 1993.  In 2011, the NFL and NFLPA agreed to a real rookie wage scale, which dramatically reduced the money to be paid to the players at the top of the draft.

In 2011, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton signed a four-year, $22 million contract.  The team has an option for the fifth year at a salary equal to the average of the five highest-paid players at the quarterback position.  In 2010, Rams quarterback Sam Bradford signed a six-year, $78 million deal.

This year, the likes of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III will make even less on their first contracts.

It’s apparently a new kind of hazing.  They’d surely prefer getting their heads shaved or being taped to the goalpost.

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42 Responses to “Rookie pool could drop in 2012”
  1. jm91rs says: Apr 18, 2012 10:14 AM

    Hopefully players like Bradford feel lucky. The new scale makes much more sense and doesn’t handicap teams picking high. Give the current rookies the short deals and let them negotiate if they play well in the league.

  2. eaglessuperfan says: Apr 18, 2012 10:17 AM

    The lower the better. They need to earn it first. This makes high first round picks worth more and more.

  3. Soulman45 says: Apr 18, 2012 10:18 AM

    They will be rich and that is a good thing.

  4. atw34 says: Apr 18, 2012 10:24 AM

    That is the way it should be. They haven’t played a down, so their money pool should be small. After they prove themselves, then they can sign the megadeals!

  5. trollhammer20 says: Apr 18, 2012 10:26 AM

    Oh, the indignity of having to sign a contract that, by the time you’re 25, earns you ten times what most people make over their entire lifetime. How shall they endure the shame?

  6. hammerjacker says: Apr 18, 2012 10:26 AM

    Makes sense, these guys should never have been coming in day one making more than the elite veterans at the position. Even veterans are getting outrageously overpaid these days, no doubt partly resulting from what these rookies in the top 5 or 10 were getting on their rookie contracts.

  7. suhnum1fan says: Apr 18, 2012 10:28 AM

    The new breed will have to earn their pay. The big money will be their in the end, you just have to EARN it.

  8. Patriot42 says: Apr 18, 2012 10:31 AM

    Let those that prove they are worthy of the high salaries. This is beginning to smell of entitlements.

  9. choocho says: Apr 18, 2012 10:31 AM

    Why lower the cap when the league is making BILLIONS? it doesn’t make much sense.

  10. teamobijuan says: Apr 18, 2012 10:32 AM

    I’d hold out after 8 games of doing well if I was a top 5 pick forced to make less than “proven” mediocre veterans.

    For every Ryan Leaf and Jamarcus Russel you would like to not have paid a ton, there’s a Peyton Manning and Michael Vick. Imagine Peyton getting a 4 year $22M deal. Sheeeeeeeeeeeeit.

  11. nflanalyst says: Apr 18, 2012 10:32 AM

    If the league does anything it should be something along the lines of

    1st Pick- 3 years at 5.5 mill
    2nd Pick- 3 years at 5.3 mill
    3rd pick- 3 years at 5.1 mill

    And so on and so on until the get to the league minimum in the 4-5 round

  12. jwcarlson says: Apr 18, 2012 10:35 AM

    Poor Luck and RGIII. They’ll be so poor making 5+ Million per year… they might have to get a job using those hard earned degrees.

  13. Grulks says: Apr 18, 2012 10:37 AM

    I think this is a good thing, in the sense that teams won’t be incredibly set back if they experience Jamarcus Russel like draft picks. It basically allows them to evaluate their rookies longer, which is nice because the draft is more or less a crap shoot anyhow. It also (hopefully) impresses on incoming rookies that they truly have to work hard to get that second contract. No more “I’m 22 and have $40 million guaranteed, I can practice however I want” attitudes.

    However, the flip side to this is predicated on teams recognizing their hard working veterans, and rewarding them appropriately with a second/third contract.

  14. timsmooth says: Apr 18, 2012 10:38 AM

    Unproven talent should NEVER make more than proven veterans!

  15. westampa says: Apr 18, 2012 10:45 AM


  16. profootballwalk says: Apr 18, 2012 11:01 AM

    trollhammer20 says: Apr 18, 2012 10:26 AM

    Oh, the indignity of having to sign a contract that, by the time you’re 25, earns you ten times what most people make over their entire lifetime. How shall they endure the shame?

    Typical of the talentless. The reason they get paid that much is that their talents bring in that much money to their employers. In other words, they are worth every penny. Just as you are worth every cent you earn at Burger Heaven.

  17. nycoccet says: Apr 18, 2012 11:02 AM

    They can all thank Jamarcus Russell for this. The amount ofmoney he got and being such a bust scared them enough to finally get this done. This is going to make the league even more competitive and will stop from crippling the the crappy teams

  18. mcconnellrules says: Apr 18, 2012 11:04 AM

    Yes, All of us peasants are jealous we don’t make even a fraction of most of the players, even back ups. But, if you look at other players in their respective sports… football players are not paid as well as less dangerous sports (baseball, basketball, tennis etc.) which should be at least on par with sports that wont have adverse effects on their body and minds in the future.

    IMO All Professional sports personnel are overpaid, its a game. But it is what it is. If/When I have a kid he WILL be kicking field goals at age 3, gotta get em primed early.

  19. exhibits5 says: Apr 18, 2012 11:08 AM

    aww poor RG3 he will only be making 5 million a year what joke this guy he doesnt stand in the pocket for more then 2 seconds before he panics and starts running like a damm fake he is. this guy is another vince young

  20. sepl12 says: Apr 18, 2012 11:12 AM

    If you look at the numbers the contracts for Newton and Bradford aren’t really that different. The only real difference is the team now has options. Without renewing the contact in any way the panthers can give Newton 22 mill for his first four years, about 24 mill for year five and 29 via the franchise tag for year six. for a total of 75 million over six years. All Newton has to do to guarantee that money is live up to being an icon.

  21. themage78 says: Apr 18, 2012 11:13 AM

    teamobijuan says: Apr 18, 2012 10:32 AM

    I’d hold out after 8 games of doing well if I was a top 5 pick forced to make less than “proven” mediocre veterans.

    For every Ryan Leaf and Jamarcus Russel you would like to not have paid a ton, there’s a Peyton Manning and Michael Vick. Imagine Peyton getting a 4 year $22M deal. Sheeeeeeeeeeeeit.
    Peyton had to play out a 6 year deal. So does Bradford and the like. So while Bradford is still making $13 mill a year for the Rams, Cam could be getting 15-16 mill in a year or two when they tear up his contract. So basically, these rookie deals are better for the rookies because they hit their 2nd contract much earlier, therefore have more potential to earn

  22. dowhatifeellike says: Apr 18, 2012 11:14 AM

    This is a good thing. Not for the players, obviously, but for the franchises overall. I’ve always thought it was dumb to put so much cap space into unproven rookies, many of whom will not play for a few years or may never contribute in a meaningful way. I’m sure if you ask the Rams about Bradford’s contract they’ll tell you he wasn’t worth it even if he IS their guy for the next 10 years.

    MLB at least has their drafted player wages under control. Matt Wieters is making $500k this year. He will rake it in on his next contract, but it’ll be for playing well in the Bigs, not for having potential.

  23. yahmule says: Apr 18, 2012 11:22 AM

    It doesn’t matter how much they make. 50% of them will be broke or deep in debt five years after they leave the NFL.

  24. winskins says: Apr 18, 2012 11:22 AM

    Clearly Sam Bradford is making too much money. I’m willing to help him out with that, though, and take some off his hands, if he feels bad about it.

  25. txxxchief says: Apr 18, 2012 11:27 AM

    Do you know how much a tune up on a Lamborghini costs?

  26. teamobijuan says: Apr 18, 2012 11:33 AM

    You all are so worried and vitriolic about how much the players make who can get injured and be done and cut at any time but completely gloss over the amount of money the Billionaire owners make off of them. Billions, with a B.

  27. granadafan says: Apr 18, 2012 11:35 AM

    The rookie wage scale is the best thing to happen to the NFL. These guys are rookies and haven’t proven a thing. There are no sure things in the NFL and what you did in college surrounded by superior talent and in the perfect gimmick system means squat in the pros.

    That said, if they’re going to limit rookie contracts, then they also ought to decrease the years so young guys who outperform their initial contract will get a fair shake at earning market salary commenserate with their production.

  28. jmc000 says: Apr 18, 2012 11:38 AM

    Wow my heart is breaking for guys will be making multi-million dollars a year coming out of college. Especially for some who 4 years down the road will probably be getting contracts that total 80-150 million dollars

  29. teamobijuan says: Apr 18, 2012 11:47 AM

    Make the rookie contracts 100% guaranteed for injury if you’re going to make them be smaller, IMO.

  30. mullman7675 says: Apr 18, 2012 12:04 PM

    This truly protects every team blessed/cursed with the top pick. The cap money is for proven veterans, that is the way it should always be

  31. CKL says: Apr 18, 2012 12:08 PM

    Yes, coaches, this level of cap understanding fail can be YOURS too if you just accept DeSmith as your leader!

    I do agree with rookie salaries being lower, but every day we see more and more reason to believe Smith was a bad choice for the players. He either didn’t understand what he was signing/agreeing to or he misled the players to get it voted in. OR, maybe the players simply are protecting him by not complaining. I just can’t think of any scenarios that let De Smith off the hook though.

  32. jimmymcnultysbottleofjameson says: Apr 18, 2012 12:28 PM

    I was good at crushing in college but don’t pay me like TT Boy before my flight lands in The Valley.

  33. matthewcarlson1 says: Apr 18, 2012 12:29 PM

    Lets lower ticket prices, merch prices, and lower food and drink prices at the stadiums. The whole industry is making too much money in this economy.

  34. chawk12thman says: Apr 18, 2012 12:36 PM

    I agree that the rookie pool should be restricted as it was getting out of hand. However, it perhaps might help if the rookies were allowed to become free agents one year sooner. It would allow the real talent to get their justified increased salary, before they lose their abilities due to injury/wear and tear……..

  35. guitarmaninks says: Apr 18, 2012 1:04 PM

    How is it hazing ? Do you start new employees out at a top wage for what they do? Wait until all the former lawyers that worked for you band together and take you to court for not properly informing them concerning losing their souls to Satan

  36. diehardtwinsfan says: Apr 18, 2012 1:35 PM

    The problem I have is the committment. I feel sorry for guys at the lower end of the scale who will not make all that much and will get cut suddenly if they have a nasty injury. If the NFL wants to limit rookie wages, then the players should have asked for shorter contracts…

    That way, a pro-bowler drafted in round 5 will get paid as such sooner rather than working for peanuts, getting hurt, and never getting his pay day.

    The issue here is one of exploitation. NFL gets an anti-trust exemption so that it can basically run like a trust, but to be fair to the players, they need to be able to make a buck too. Everyone concentrates on the Jamarcus Russel busts, but they forget that there’s lots of guys who way over perform their salary and the teams will continue to under pay them for as long as possible.

  37. kidfootball says: Apr 18, 2012 1:40 PM

    Is there proof that the rookies get that second payday?

    Take for instance RB’s, they have even a shorter career than say, a lineman. Are teams willing to give them a big payday for a body that may be seen to have a lot of “miles” on it?

    I think of Matt Forte, he is a big part of that Chicago offense and it’s been an uphill battle for him to snag that multi-year deal that he’s been seeking.

    I don’t agree with giving untested guys large deals, that handicap a team if they are a bust, but I don’t see teams paying Vets much either because of the mileage factor.

    I see this as a huge win for the the owners, they have justification to not pay rookies AND seasoned vets, and they just pocket the difference.

  38. EJ says: Apr 18, 2012 1:51 PM

    Aww, too bad. So these poor rookies will be making 21.2 million instead of 22.5 million. I guess they’ll have to suffer and only buy two Cadillac Escalades instead of three.

  39. theytukrjobs says: Apr 18, 2012 2:12 PM

    Classic union influence right there. Players get a say in how the money is split up and of course they want the funds diverted away from new players entering the league (because those guys have no say).

    When you can lock down a guy like Cam Newton for 4 million a year and you can’t get John Carlson for that, it really adds tremendous value to the draft picks. A few years ago having the worst record in the NFL meant you get a mediocre QB (Bradford) for top 5 money. It buried teams deeper. Once Bradford is really good (assuming he reaches potential) he’ll be hitting the market anyways.

    Now when you finish with a terrible record you can get a great player at reasonable cost. Panthers have now only 3% or so of their wage tied up in a top 5 QB in Newton which positions them extremely well for the next few years. A team like Denver spending 6 times that money on their QB is not in nearly as good of a position.

    With the new wage scale I think you’ll truly see team strength cycling more. Good year, bad year. And you’ll also see teams forced to trade marquee players for draft picks to stay competitive.

  40. cometkazie says: Apr 18, 2012 2:17 PM

    The Raiders could have saved some money on JaMarcus.

  41. raideralex99 says: Apr 18, 2012 2:54 PM

    All the rookies will like to say … “Thank-You JaMarcus.”

  42. detroitcityryda says: Apr 18, 2012 4:39 PM

    Some dudes are really lucky i tell ya Jamarcus Russell is still sippin on that lean and spending his guaranteed Al Davis paper ,and so is Charles Rogers aka I smoke erry day playboy .

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