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More than 100 underclassmen could enter the draft

NFL logo and set are seen at New York's Radio City Music Hall before the start of the 2013 NFL Draft Reuters

The rookie wage scale isn’t working.

Well, it’s working in one way.  First-round draft picks make far less money than they used to, especially at the top of the process.

One of the arguments in support of robbing from the rich and giving to the ultra-rich was that removing the gigantic lottery prizes would help kids choose to stay in school.  Which is exactly what the league wants to encourage in order to preserve the delicate relationship with the folks who run the NFL’s free farm system.

In that respect, it’s not working.  And it’s no surprise.

The new system doesn’t remove huge contracts.  It delays them.  To get a huge contract, a player must have at least three years in the NFL.  And so it now makes sense to get to the NFL ASAFP, and to put in the time necessary to get the second contract.

The players understand it, thanks to the agents who are explaining it to them.  Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports that 80 underclassmen already have applied for early admission to the draft.  That’s seven more than last year’s record high of 73.

Brandt expects the final number to exceed 100 by next Wednesday’s deadline.

Three years ago, in the last draft before the rookie wage scale was adopted, only 56 underclassmen entered the draft.  There’s a chance that twice that number will file for early admission to the draft in 2014.

It’s unclear whether the curators of college football have expressed dismay to the NFL regarding this trend.  We’ve heard, however, that college coaches aren’t happy with the efforts of the league-owned media conglomerate to spend so much time talking about underclassmen who may enter the draft — especially since NFL rules prohibit teams from saying anything about players who haven’t been certified as eligible for the draft.

While Brandt added a perfunctory word of caution to college players in his latest item regarding the record number of players leaving college football early, the cat’s out of the bag and it’s ripping up the upholstery.  Staying in school to improve draft stock no longer matters; it’s far more important to get to the NFL and to start putting in time toward the second contract once the player is ready to compete for a spot on an NFL roster.

Which also hurts veteran players, since it creates a glut of younger, cheaper players who’ll then battle it out among themselves for the chance to become the elite veterans who are then surrounded by a glut of younger, cheaper players.

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33 Responses to “More than 100 underclassmen could enter the draft”
  1. mrlaloosh says: Jan 8, 2014 8:25 PM

    Money talk, education walks.

  2. thegregwitul says: Jan 8, 2014 8:29 PM

    It’s working, trust me. Nobody wants those ridiculous cap killing rookie contracts that had players like Sam Bradford and JaMarcus Russell enter the league as one of the highest paid players in the league.

  3. nyyjetsknicks says: Jan 8, 2014 8:33 PM

    But if a player comes out early, when he’s not ready, they may get drafted but unable to beat guys out to get on the field to get that next contract.

  4. vavikingfan says: Jan 8, 2014 8:35 PM

    Who can blame a college kid for going after the money?

  5. fdugrad says: Jan 8, 2014 8:37 PM

    Apparently not much fear of future concussion injuries and their effects with the next new batch of players.

  6. bowdowntopeyton says: Jan 8, 2014 9:03 PM

    This is America…home of the (mostly) free market. Its working just fine.

  7. chc4 says: Jan 8, 2014 9:03 PM

    Yet if the NFL removed the 3 yr rule and players could declare immediately after high school it would be decried as exploiting kids that aren’t old enough to make their own decisions. It would be played up as the evil Roger Goodell preying on 17-18 yr olds. To some, like the writer of this article, the NFL will always be in the wrong.

  8. mack1212 says: Jan 8, 2014 9:11 PM

    I actually think there may be a correlation back to the concussions “issue”.

    If you’ve only got only a set number of concussions or set number of violent hits to take before serious or long term injury, get the money (and any potential lawsuit settlement and/or nfl pension) to help support yourself and family as early as possible.

    This is especially true with running backs/linebackers/safeties who are constantly giving/receiving these high-speed hits.

  9. johnnyjagfan says: Jan 8, 2014 9:18 PM

    If you asked one of these illiterate college students to tell you what ASAFP stood for, they couldn’t. Whatever. Let ‘em play football. Can’t read @ UNC? Imagine what it’s like at non-top 10 academically rated public colleges. Athletics to pay. It’s why they go to school.

  10. jessejames182 says: Jan 8, 2014 9:19 PM

    College is getting more expensive and the job market sucks. Why would players stick around and get free concussions for a degree in “classes football players vs n pass to stay eligible” when you could get paid more than other college graduates to play a game?

  11. RavenzGunnerz says: Jan 8, 2014 9:20 PM

    Consider a RB.

    Your usefulness in the NFL, is only about when you are 28, till a young and upcomin rookie comes in a takes your lunch.

    Stay in college till you are 24, and you might never see that second contract.

    can’t blame em.

  12. douglasgreenbriar says: Jan 8, 2014 9:25 PM

    College players should be able to at least make money through endorsements if not be paid by the college itself.

  13. jdphx says: Jan 8, 2014 9:29 PM

    And Goodell continues to drive the ship into the ground…

  14. gibbyfan says: Jan 8, 2014 9:29 PM

    Any decent player would be crazy not to declare early—if the NFL does or doesnt work out you can always go back to school…….

  15. scarletmacaw says: Jan 8, 2014 9:31 PM

    Maybe what happened to Marcus Lattimore and Matt Barkley has something to do with the decisions.

  16. ytownjoe says: Jan 8, 2014 9:38 PM

    Everybody has a right to earn a living. And take a risk with their future.

  17. footballschoolnot says: Jan 8, 2014 9:39 PM

    “Which also hurts veteran players, since it creates a glut of younger, cheaper players who’ll then battle it out among themselves for the chance to become the elite veterans who are then surrounded by a glut of younger, cheaper players.”

    Or you might look at it a different way, rookie players are taking up less cap space leaving more money for veteran players.

  18. thestrategyexpert says: Jan 8, 2014 9:48 PM

    But isn’t everything perfect now? I complained about the money system in the past, and I complained vehemently when this new CBA was passed. All the owners and the players and the league and the lawyers, and everybody liked that deal and loved it. I hated it and still think it is a terrible deal with lots of problems and it doesn’t make sense. So either things are perfect as they should be, or somebody should admit that my noted concerns about the economics of the game were in fact relevant.

    There’s still LOTS of problems with the money in this game. Not just the distribution, but the creation of the profits in the first place. It’s easier to distribute the money when you have more of it. But they can’t even figure out how to get the money, let alone how to use it and share it a logical way.

  19. The League's Crusade Against The Steelers Continues says: Jan 8, 2014 9:50 PM

    Who can blame them? Get the money now and go back to school when you retire from sports.

  20. guachosporlife says: Jan 8, 2014 9:52 PM

    Some of these kids are not helping themselves at all. It’s not the NBA, you need your body to get as strong as possible at the next level. By leaving early, they may not yet be strong enough to make it…and out they go from the league–along with their college eligibility.

  21. rcali says: Jan 8, 2014 10:02 PM

    All I can see is 100 new guys who can’t wait to retire and then sue the league for supporting a rough job.

  22. bert1913 says: Jan 8, 2014 10:04 PM

    most of these guys will be cowbows

  23. onlyopinionthatmatters says: Jan 8, 2014 10:04 PM

    This isn’t that serious. There’s still only so many draft selections available..the only number this really might raise is the amount of undrafted FA’s..but even still, look at how many good players make the undrafted to impact player leap

  24. jollyjoker2 says: Jan 8, 2014 10:08 PM

    Three years – the life of an average running back before the knees go…Seems kind of raw deal.

  25. navigator24 says: Jan 8, 2014 10:11 PM

    It was so ridiculous when players were holding out before they ever played a snap.

  26. carpi2 says: Jan 8, 2014 10:20 PM

    Apparently not much fear of future concussion injuries and their effects with the next new batch of players.
    __________________
    Fdugrad,

    One could argue just the opposite, as to why the kids are entering the NFL earlier. If you are an NFL caliber player, why stick around college for another year; which would just add (unpaid) wear & tear to the body. Might as well make $600k-$2 million that year, while solidifying your future diagnosis of CTE.

  27. ttommytom says: Jan 8, 2014 10:43 PM

    How are there more younger players? The draft is still 7X32. The UDFA will still be around 20 per team.

    What is the average age of those declaring (add them up and divide by 100) vs other years? Many a RS Junior is 22. Not too many 20 y/o players in the NFL.

    Do the math and get back to us…

  28. deathonwings410 says: Jan 8, 2014 10:46 PM

    This one of the deepest drafts since 2008. Can’t wait for the combine and the anonymous rumor mongering. Lol.

  29. swagger52 says: Jan 8, 2014 11:08 PM

    This is just a measure of confidence in Obama find them jobs . If I could throw like Peyton Manning, I would never wait for Obama to find me a job either.

  30. bobulated says: Jan 8, 2014 11:20 PM

    I truly believe that football players only have so many snaps in them and I can’t hold it against anyone for coming out early and getting paid for as many of those as possible, especially at high impact positions like RB and LB . The big elephant in the room will always be how much money the football factory schools make off these kids and what a comparative pittance goes to guys actually putting their health on the line on the field. If you can go early and get paid, by all means do so.

  31. droyer85 says: Jan 9, 2014 12:13 AM

    Great article, I feel bad for the middle of the road veteran players who will continue to have to take pay cuts like we saw last year.

  32. grantsbuds says: Jan 9, 2014 12:31 AM

    The horror.

  33. bucforever says: Jan 9, 2014 9:56 AM

    Take the money and run, pass ,punt! Opportunity only knocks once or twice!

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