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Rams trying to have it both ways, but Jenkins has no real options

Janoris Jenkins AP

After cornerback Janoris Jenkins finished his slide out of round one and commenced a possible free-fall that some thought could end in round four, the Rams intervened at pick No. 39.  But now the Rams want to act like Jenkins was taken much lower than that.

As MDS pointed out on Wednesday, Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Rams want to divide the $2 million signing bonus to which Jenkins is entitled by virtue of his slot into four annual $500,000 roster bonuses.  (Technically, the signing bonus should fall between $2.03 million and $2.14 million, based on the guys taken immediately before and after Jenkins.)

This approach would protect the Rams against Jenkins doing the kind of things that got him kicked out of Florida — a place where if you’re talented it’s fairly hard work to get kicked out.  But if the Rams wanted insurance against a reefer relapse, they had a much better way to protect themselves.

They could have passed on Jenkins with the 39th pick.

Once a team takes a guy with a specific selection, the team buys the contract that goes with the slot.  If the kid has red flags that would arguably justify paying him less, then don’t take him with a selection that requires paying him more.

It’s really that simple.  Especially under a rookie wage scale that now tilts so heavily toward the teams.

So what if the Patriots did it with tight end Aaron Hernandez in 2010?  It doesn’t make it fair and it doesn’t make it right for Jenkins or anyone else, including Hernandez.

The problem is that the player has no real options, especially under the new CBA.  Prior to 2011, the player could simply accept the one-year, minimum-salary tender, playing year to year and hoping to get a long-term deal by holding out while not under contract.  Under the new CBA, the alternative is agreeing to a three-year deal for the minimum salaries.  Which makes it impossible to hold out as an exclusive-rights free agent.

The other alternative for Jenkins is to sit out the season and re-enter the draft and hope that he’ll be picked at least that high in 2013 by a team that will pay the full signing bonus.  With no income in the interim.

And so, as a practical matter, Jenkins has no other options.  And so the Rams are squeezing Jenkins because they can.  But they shouldn’t.  If they didn’t want to pay Jenkins what he deserves as the 39th player taken in the draft, they should have picked someone else and hoped Jenkins would still be available at a time when the financial risk would have been much lower.

Instead, the Rams are trying to have it both ways.  Given that the NFLPA was poised to push the frivolous proposition that the Saints were screwing Drew Brees because of his union activities in 2011, let’s see whether the union scours the CBA for ammunition to support an argument that the Rams are trying to railroad Jenkins.

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13 Responses to “Rams trying to have it both ways, but Jenkins has no real options”
  1. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Jul 19, 2012 11:32 AM

    Well said. If you don’t want to pay him, don’t pick him. The rookie wage scale is a great thing but it isn’t going to work if the teams aren’t going to play by the rules.

  2. dcsween says: Jul 19, 2012 11:37 AM

    Trent Williams and Fred Davis earned starting spots on the Skins. That slot is not just a gift to each guy, it includes a responsibility to his teammates. Each had to sit out four games and it hurt the team. The team shouldn’t have to pay them for it twice (on the field and at the bank).

  3. granadafan says: Jul 19, 2012 11:46 AM

    It’s like spreading out the lottery winnings over 20 years. It’s to protect the people from themselves as they cannot control their spending habits or say no to friends, family members, or financial “advisors”, baby mamas who all have their hands out.

    The Rams are doing Jenkins a favor here and not just being cheap (which they are).

  4. lorddarkhelmet says: Jul 19, 2012 11:56 AM

    It isn’t like we are talking about a $10mil bonus here. Teams regularly throw away more than 2 million. Suck it up and get the player in camp so he can contribute immediately. Then do everything you can to help him become a man rather than another name on the police blotter

  5. wallypecans says: Jul 19, 2012 11:58 AM

    They want to change HOW they pay what the slot is owed. They haven’t said they’re not going to pay what the slot is owed. Jenkins has no one to blame but himself for the lack of trust. He should be grateful a team took him in the top 40, play well, stay out of trouble, and all will work out in the end.

  6. iced107 says: Jul 19, 2012 12:00 PM

    Love how everyone makes the Ram’s out to the be the bad ones here. They’re protecting themselves. All the kid has to do is play to his potential and keep his nose clean…. Don’t really know what to think about the financial advisor thing we heard awhile ago – but if Jenkins agreed to that and backed out of it then, then I don’t blame the Ram’s for breaking up the money over 4 years (kills more than just 2 birds with 1 stone, baby mamas get paid, they protect themselves, etc.)

    If Jenkins misses any time in camp, he’s only going to hurt himself and his playing time. What’s often overlooked is Bradley Fletcher is coming back from his ACL injury – sure it’s his second one, but when healthy w/ Bartell, Fletcher and Bartell lead were the best duo of corners in the NFC West ( and the less than 60% completion percentage when thrown at reflects that).

    Bottomline – Jenkins is going to need the money, especially for his kids – this deal will get done before camp… Jenkins had better to start if he wants to hit that incentive money, otherwise it could be Finnegan and Fletcher starting (great by me!)

  7. metalhead65 says: Jul 19, 2012 12:10 PM

    how dare the rams protect the kid from himself and not give him all the money to blow at once. how will the poor guy and his kids do with only a half million a year to live on. guess he will have to use that degree he earned in college to get a real job while he sits out the year right? oh wait he didn’t earn one did he? I hear Mickey D’s is hiring on the night shift.

  8. nflofficeadmin says: Jul 19, 2012 12:11 PM

    Ja-Jenk take their offer and play some ball. It’s the same total cash at the end of the day. Let’s see what you got.

  9. jbl429 says: Jul 19, 2012 12:15 PM

    Jenkins best bet is to take the offer, outplay it, stay out of trouble, and get a big second contract. He should let the Rams know that if they try to squeeze him, he plans on signing with a division rival as soon as he gets the chance.

  10. buddysguys says: Jul 19, 2012 12:15 PM

    lets think about his red flags again….weed and a few different children from different women…no different than any other player in the league now. Its not like he was getting into fights and using guns or drunk driving.

  11. catquick says: Jul 19, 2012 1:22 PM

    As much as it pains me, I have to disagree Mr. Florio. The Rams only drafted him AFTER he AGREED to hire a financial consultant to deal with his fiduciary responsibilities, not wanting them to be a distraction, nor a wedge point in future negotiations. HE AGREED!! Then, like the character he is, reneged. The Rams would have said “pass” on him when the pick came up if he would have drawn this line in the sand before the draft. Jenkins is the bad guy. He’s already become more of a problem than he’s worth. He not only looked a gift horse in the mouth, but shot it when he didn’t like its teeth.

  12. thekiddone says: Jul 19, 2012 2:10 PM

    If they wanted to protect themselves, they should have waited until the 5th round. Slotting is the rule both sides use. The only reason the Rams are dividing the pot is to hold back dollars when/if he gets busted. Cheap. Work with the player and develop him into something. Or hold him up and have him sign as disgruntled.

  13. canjura says: Jul 19, 2012 4:02 PM

    I liked the Jenkins pick when they made it. With that said, he did agree to hire a financial advisor and then reneged, so how is that the Rams fault? That’s like promising a company you’ve completed a degree in school and then when you’ve been hired, “did I forget to mention I didn’t graduate..?” He was given a job interview, in which he blatantly lied in. If I’m the Rams, I twist him as long as it takes. He’s the one who can’t miss the season because after this, there’s no way ANY team takes him anywhere close to the 39th pick and he misses his money. Rams aren’t trying to give him any less money than he deserves, they just want to spread it out. In baseball, you have players who are still being paid even 10 years after their contract expires.

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