Goodell says veterans want rookie pay scale changed

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has made clear that he wants the next Collective Bargaining Agreement to reform the system that makes highly drafted rookies some of the highest-paid players in the entire league.

And Goodell says he has an important ally on that front in veteran players who agree with him.

“Yes, we’ve had a lot of discussion about it and I think there’s a recognition that the system is out of whack. I hear this from veteran players,” Goodell told Sal Paolantonio on 97.5 The Fanatic, per Sports Radio Interviews. “Veteran players want this changed. It’s hard to see a rookie player who hasn’t played in the NFL make that kind of money when guys have performed at a high level on the NFL level. That’s where the money should be going.”

The question is, if Goodell and the owners want the pay scale changed, and the veteran players who make up the membership of the union want it changed, why hasn’t it already been changed? Sure, there are some opponents to changing the rookie pay scale, such as players currently in college and the agents who plan to represent those players, but neither college players nor agents are members of the NFL Players’ Association, and therefore the union doesn’t represent their interests.

Ultimately, the union may be resisting change because it sees rookie salaries as a bargaining chip that can be played during negotiations. But if Goodell is right about how veteran players feel, there’s no good reason for the rookie pay scale to remain out of whack much longer.

45 responses to “Goodell says veterans want rookie pay scale changed

  1. all of a sudden the hypocrite owners care about what the players think about money paid to players!
    give me a break roger!

  2. The question is, if Goodell and the owners want the pay scale changed, and the veteran players who make up the membership of the union want it changed, why hasn’t it already been changed?”
    give and take policy MDS, league implements rookie pay scale, veterans get something in return

  3. Umm maybe because changing the rookie pay scale is not the obstacle. It will be changed when agreements are come to on the real issues and a new CBA is ready.

  4. Lowering rookie pay scales for the most sought after rookies could give a rival league an opening for the top new young talent.

  5. How can the free market possibly be “out of whack?” Economics 101 tells us that if rookies weren’t putting new butt$ in the $eat$ at NFL games, they wouldn’t be receiving all those gotterdammerung pay offers.
    You don’t want the newbs to get paid more than established players, Mister Team Owner? Fine – then don’t offer the bonus babies so much. This is not rocket surgery. But be aware that your competitors will likely be more than happy to take up your slack, and you’d best hope that your unhappy and jealous veterans make for viewing compelling enough on their own to keep your football operations in the black.

  6. The union understands that if highly-drafted rookie pay goes down, then raises on top of that rookie level will never be as high, either. As it is, top rookies (who are overpaid) make even more money if they prove themselves over a few years. Low draft picks or street free agents who make little money as rookies climb the pay scale when they become free agents if they succeed as well as top draft picks. Knocking down top draft pick money will knock down pay throughout the system. The only option to fix the problem is to have a strict, high salary floor.
    Florio should know this.

  7. This is way too obvious. When Laron Landry comes in and as a rookie makes more than Polamalu, Reed, and Bob Sanders: there is an obvious problem.
    The NBA has this right. Get it figured out for goodness sake.

  8. I don’t buy it for one moment, unless he’s talking about MARGINAL veterans because those overpaid rookies set the standard for the guys that WILL get the big paydays.
    BTW, has any of the people who claim that the veterans want it changed ever stopped to think that many workers hate two-tiered hiring because they know that when push comes to shove, the guys that were hired at the lower tiers stand a better chance of staying around and that they have NEVER increased the salaries for the people who around before the system was implemented with the savings that they got from that?
    I know that Roger Wormtongue is whispering sweet nothings into the ears of the marginal players and they’re listening but the others should know better because they haven’t seen the owners ever do anything that has made their salaries to higher unless they were forced to by the CBA.
    Some people here actually believe that owners but remember that when the owners won’t renegotiate a contract and they get their PR people out there to get the fans to believe that these players should honor their contract and they didn’t have to sign a long term deal, they have no compunction about throwing a guy off a team if HE won’t renegotiate his contract and the club won’t honor the long term deal because they’re strapped for cash with the bad deals that they made.

  9. I agree that the rookie pay scale system needs to be altered, however I’m assuming many of these vets who are speaking against it, benefited from an out of whack rookie pay scale as well. Kind of a double standard don’t you think?

  10. Hey Bob S……why don’t you go find a crowbar. This article indicates that Goodell is thinking in the right direction. It’s logical, and more fair, to redistribute the wealth to the people who have proven themselves in the league over time, instead of paying ridiculous money to worthless rookies (ie: Gholston, Russell, etc, etc, etc). A revamped pay scale would make the league stronger and more competitive.

  11. These rookies coming into the league should just be grateful to even get drafted. Make these young punks earn their money!!

  12. Actually, the NFLPA does represent college player’s , just ask Jusice Sotomayor, re: Clarett v NFL. Though college players are not a part of the collective bargaining, it was ruled that their interests were represented by the NFLPA.
    It is true that their interests are not actually represented by the union, but if you are assuming that, then the real story is the massive antitrust violation by the NFL (and NBA w/ age limit). Unilaterally manipulating the market for college players for the economic benefit of others within their own union just screams injustice. However, the league side doesn’t mind because it will save them money AND give them more bargaining leverage.

  13. Way to think the obvious out loud MDS. I’m sure De wants nothing more than to give up a bullet in his gun.

  14. I agree that there should be a rookie payscale change. Case in point, how is it justified that if Eric Berry goes to Cleveland, that he gets a richer contract, without playing in the NFL, than Troy Polamalu, or Ed Reed??? It’s not justified at all. The thought that he’s a top 10 pick shouldn’t justify him getting such a high deal. That’s just my thought on this subject…

  15. These “veterabs” who want a rookie pay scale, did not want one when they were rookies!

  16. Goodell is promoting the only part of a new CBA that Players and Owners can agree upon. You can count on a lockout!

  17. I believe in the performance pay program. It gives incentive and rewards for being a 3-7 round guy, undrafted FA, etc. That outplays his peers.
    I would also believe in a salary pay program that rewards players who consecutive starts, years in the league, etc. Not unlike the veteran minimum but similar in theory to performance pay.
    rookies should make rookie minimum and money relating to their draft status but no where close to what they are currently able to receive as 1st round draft picks. i think last years 1st round pick could have paid for the entire payroll or a few MLB baseball teams.

  18. Dixon29 says:
    April 10, 2010 1:23 PM
    This is way too obvious. When Laron Landry comes in and as a rookie makes more than Polamalu, Reed, and Bob Sanders: there is an obvious problem.
    The NBA has this right. Get it figured out for goodness sake.
    Bob Sanders? Is he ever even on the field?

  19. The current system is retarded.
    But if it is ever fixed, please make it such that the players in each round are paid the same. Everyone drafted in round 1 is a team’s first pick. There shouldn’t be a huge drop off in money between the top 10 and everyone else.
    Just because someone fit a need on a bad team they shouldn’t be paid huge $$ over someone who went to a better team later in the same round. No matter what, those players were still drafted in the same round.

  20. Get rid of restricted free agency, franchise tags and etc and you will see NFL salaries explode.

  21. Only the high draft picks benefit from the big contracts. Those lower picks and undrafted players receive very little. It doesn’t make allot of sense to see a big contract on someone could be a bust where as when a player that has played into a starting position and shows he is going to contribute to the team should get the big contract.

  22. Someone mentions a rival league is going to steal away players? For god’s sake people please stop apologizing for the current system. It’s total bullshit and if you can’t see that you’re a ruh-tard.
    And it’s not just the “marginal” players. It’s all players. NFL players are proportionately underpaid in general except the top 1o of each draft and Peyton Manning basically. There is a fixed amount of money (percentage of sales) that goes to the players and it’s divided up in a completely moronic fashion today. The stars don’t even make that much compared to other sports because the current system allows guys like Jamarcus Russell to rob you while Bruce Gradkowski works for relative peanuts, for instance. If you look at sports in general, with football being far and away the most popular, the stars of this league make about the same as Joe Average Baseball player (granted it’s due in large part to there being only 16 games to generate ticket sales vs 162).
    Here’s a novel idea though… ALL athletes are overpaid, why not put some back in the fans pockets via lower ticket prices? Oh wait, because we continue to pony up at whatever price they give us.

  23. I agree with the nba type of situation. That means guaranteed contracts. There has to be a trade off. Or find a way to the have the money that is being saved from having a rookie scale to become earmarked for retiring/retired players. That would be the only way i would agree if i was Head of the Union.

  24. I don’t understand how these IDIOTS didn’t see this problem coming from a mile away, about 15 years ago, which is more or less when this thing with rookies making tons of money started.
    They’re trying to do something about it now, but it’s way too late. What did Stafford get in signing bonus, $40million?
    Even if the league were EXTREMELY lucky, and got the rookies/agents to give them a concession, what is the most they can hope for? Dropping the bonus down to $30 mill?

  25. Who is Mike Jones says:
    Goodell is promoting the only part of a new CBA that Players and Owners can agree upon. You can count on a lockout
    He’s promoting a LIE. Why in the hell would they want a rookie pay scale unless they’re a marginal player who’s deluded into believing that the owners will actually pass down that money to them. I’ll bet you that if he ever came out and named real names that they won’t be Peyton Manning, Marion Barber or any star in the league. Most likely that they’re the 48th-53rd men on their teams.

  26. Dixon29 says:
    The NBA has this right. Get it figured out for goodness
    Does the NBA pay their rookies pennies on the dollar like the owners and many of the fans want to do? The top NBA rookies make a lot more than many guys who have put in more time in the league and “proved” themselves. What it DOESN’T do is screw the rookies and force them to take it or leave it; it gives them a good salary and gets them into camp as soon as possible.
    BTW, can anyone here tell everyone with a straight face that the rookie pay scale in the NBA has reduced the number of first round busts? The only thing that the pay scale did was get these guys into camp ASAP so they could be honestly evaluated instead of having a lost rookie sesson because they showed up late and weren’t able to work their way out of their coach’s doghouse for not being their when camp opened or they got injured when they tried to play catch up without being in game shape.

  27. What I think some veterans haven’t realized is as soon as the rookie pay scale change is implemented (meaning lowering rookie pay) less veterans will find they have a job.

  28. IF there is a bigger snake among Comissioners than Roger Goddell, I haven’t seen him [i’m including Bud Selig]…he doesn’t want DSmith to negotiate in public, about the collective bargaining agreement, mentioning things they find objectinable, yet he has no problem running his yap to Sal Palantonio, …off course they want to lower rookie wages, so they have an even bigger incentive to cut veteran players and keep rookies [look at how much payroll the Eagles slashed this off season],…rookie wagscale should be a trade off for guarented contracts,…IF Goddell wants to cut rookies wages WHAT guarentee do the players have that the money will be funneled to them? NONE,…IF Comissioner DOUCHEBAG wants to bring up veterans who agree w/him about rookie wages, you would think he’d show more concern about players issues, so that they could hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement. …the problem is when Comissioner DOUCHEBAG goes on ESPN radio, no one has the nuts to ask him tough questions, & he knows that so he used those times to be a BS mouthpiece for billionaire owners to try to convince the public that the players AND NOT THE OWNERS are the greedy bastards

  29. JoeSchmoe says:
    The stars don’t even make that much compared to other sports because the current system allows guys like Jamarcus Russell to rob you while Bruce Gradkowski works for relative peanuts, for instance
    Uh, Bruce is a star? He’s making what he makes because if he were on the Vikings or the Cowboys or any team other than Oakland, he wouldn’t even come close to being a starter. He started in the past because of injuries and NOT because he blew everyone away with his performance. He’s been waived by three teams and Oakland will make it four.

  30. The way the NBA does it is perfect.
    Teams can spend big money on people more proven then rookies
    It makes ZERO sense giving someone almost $100 million dollars to a rookie while All-Pro’s make 1/3rd that

  31. Bious says:
    Teams can spend big money on people more proven then rookies
    It makes ZERO sense giving someone almost $100 million dollars to a rookie while All-Pro’s make 1/3rd that
    Who told you that, the ownership fairy? It ain’t going to happen.
    The NFL has NEVER given $100 to a rookie but they have to several veterans. Get your facts straight before you try to ham fist your way into the argument.
    Let’s look at how grateful the NFL has been to their veterans in the past. Now, I don’t think that anyone but a moron would say that LaDainian Tomlinson cheated the Chargers out of his rookie contract or that there were a lot of NFL running backs during those first years of his contract that deserved more money than him. For that money, he gave the club more than most veterans that “proved” themselves and he got a new contract after that. He would later sign another contract BUT last year, he HAD to restructure it in order to stay in San Diego and as a thank you, the club told him this year to hit the bricks. Yeah, the NFL owners really reward the veterans that have proven themselves, so far and you believe that a change in the system will make it even better for them — how naive.
    LT hit the magic 30 and at that age, a RB had 1-5 years left and few, if any, big pay days left (0 for a guy like LT with a lot of wear). On the other hand, an OL has 7-10 more years left and a good one will have a lot more good pay days left.
    It irks me to see people make such blanket statements about these players without any thought about the REALITY of the situation. Honestly, do you guys believe that it was greed that drove the players to form a union or are you not willing to understand that it was the owners who denied them benefits and paid for the bare minimums in healthcare just to get them on the field and then ignored them after they retired and even fought their efforts to get worker’s comp to help pay for the surgeries that they needed just to walk because the owners wouldn’t help them? NOT ONE PENNY will be going to the veterans that Goodell may or may not have heard from.

  32. “It’s logical, and more fair, to redistribute the wealth to the people who have proven themselves in the league over time, instead of paying ridiculous money to worthless rookies”
    Only problem with that is it takes them forever to get to unrestricted FA. What if a 3rd-round pick turns into a superstar and gets injured in his 5th year? That guy never really gets his due.
    Might be fair if they also limit the length of rookie contracts to, say, 3 years. Otherwise you’re giving the team the league the right to tell the player 1) what team he plays for, 2) how much money he gets, and 3) how long he has to play there. Seems a bit much.

  33. I don’t see how anyone can argue that the veterans won’t see any of the money.
    Teams that aren’t cash-strapped from having to overpay rookies will have more money to hire free agents and renegotiate the contracts of (read: “give more money to”) the veterans they want to keep.
    It also makes no sense to argue that implementing a rookie salary cap would be unfair to this year’s rookies, after last year’s rookies got paid. That argument, invalid as it is, could be used every year.
    How much of a shame is it that teams that truly need to rebuild can’t trade out of the top ten and gather more draft picks because no other team wants to pay that kind of crazy money to unproven rookies? The teams that need the most help are the most likely to get screwed by a rookie who busts and still gets paid $50M for it.
    Right now, the system is self-defeating. Bad teams are forced – FORCED – to pay ridiculous money to players that will probably never be worth it. This means they have less money (and less bargaining power, unless they want to go into cap hell) to go after proven players that might actually, you know, HELP the team.
    The current system is screwed, and it has been for a long time. Fix it, Roger. Fix it now.
    How about this: if you get drafted in the first round, you get $1,000,000 per year for three years. Period. No signing bonuses; no roster bonuses. No escalator clauses; no incentive clauses. No guaranteed raises or any guaranteed money other than that $1M.
    You wanna earn more than that? Play well and get a raise (or hit the free agent market) after your third year.
    Afraid you might not make it in the league? Stay in college long enough to finish your education. Have a backup plan.
    Everyone wins.

  34. Cash strapped? My God, there is ONE draft choice per team that’s making any money and the further you go down the list, the more likely that they’re going to get the league minimum for rookies, which is LESS than what veterans get. When a rookie makes the team, it means that a veteran ends up getting cut and even when that means a net gain for the owners on salary, they don’t turn around and pass it on to the rest of the team (Ask the guys in Tampa if they got a taste of the money that the Glazers saved by dumping veterans and going with all those rookies).
    Unless the team turns over management, it doesn’t matter how many draft choices they have. Seriously, do you believe that Matt Millen would have done better if he had 15 or 20 draft choices at his disposal? With the exception of the teams that end up there because of a bad run of injuries, most teams EARNED their way to the bottom and they stay there for years to come because they make bad decisions and they do it in the first or the seventh round.

  35. Sure teams make bad decisions – I’ll accept that. But more often teams make good decisions that turn out bad – most of the players that bust don’t display any obvious signs beforehand.
    But when your first rounder busts AND walks off with $40,000,000 of your dollars? That’s what kills teams and keeps them at the bottom.
    And anyway, long-term team effects are secondary to the main issue: the idiocy of making unproven prospects the highest-paid players in the league.
    Zero experience + unproven talent should not = high salary.

  36. Strick says:
    April 11, 2010 9:55 AM
    Zero experience + unproven talent should not = high salary.
    Unless you’re a union hack. Then it’s performance be damned, pay me.

  37. Strick says:
    But when your first rounder busts AND walks off with $40,000,000 of your dollars? That’s what kills teams and keeps them at the bottom
    Baloney. There are many teams that make mistakes at the top and unless it’s QB that they drafted, they’re NOT putting out that kind of money for them. The Rams have been in decline for years after they dumped Martz and there’s no $40 mil bust to blame for that. Arizona was bad for years and the only QB that they took that high in that time, Leinart, was a relative bargain. You wanna blame Russell for Oakland – well, you gotta know that they were bad several years before he even hit the team and they continue to draft badly because of Al Davis and not some $40 mil bust.
    You’ve been listening to the ownership fairy far too much. In an average year, more than 280 rookies make teams and 98% of them don’t make big money NOR are they a impediment to their team. AT BEST, 32 first rounders make the “big money”, which means that 258+ make far less. Most sign for the minimum with NO signing bonus but some kind of incentives, which might double their salaries, if they hit them all. I would bet that you could identify at least ONE veteran on every team that is overpaid and it WASN’T because of his draft position. What has hurt Snyder more, his mistakes in the draft or his mistakes in free agency? People talk about bad $100 mil rookie contracts but that has never happened (Stafford’s $78 mil is the best so far) but there have been several veterans that have signed for them much.
    If you do a critical look at what rookies REALLY make and not listen to the ownership fairy, you’ll see that most are at the bottom of the payroll for their teams and many of the top picks are actually closer to the middle of their payroll than they are to the top.
    I guarantee you that the mythical veterans that support Roger Wormtongue will NOT see a single penny if a rookie pay scale is implemented. The owners have proven in the past that they will keep as much as they can and give as little as they can when they are able to do so. The reason for all the restrictions and tags aren’t because of the greedy players but because they’re trying to protect themselves from each other and the rookie scale is anothe way that they want to protect themselves to save themselves the money that might be spent if they didn’t have that protection.

  38. The veterans aren’t the only ones. We, the fans, wish there would be one as well. I’m sure it’s easy to understand why a Raider fan such as myself supports such an option. Paying players the kind of money Russell got before even proving himself at the NFL is just absurd. Some these kids might get a little more motivated if they weren’t given so much cash up front. One shouldn’t become an instant millionaire when drafted into the NFL. One should have to work hard for it, and earn it.

  39. @ joe
    “NFL players are proportionately underpaid”
    Are you kidding me? Making hundreds of thousands of dollars for playing a “game” is hardly being underpaid. I do see your point, but when compared to those who bust their rear ends for a living, doing jobs they hate, these guys should be glad they get paid a lot of money to do something they truly enjoy.

  40. Raiders757 says:
    The veterans aren’t the only ones. We, the fans, wish there would be one as
    Well, the one thing that people overlook is that the moron didn’t sign Russell before the draft. Whether he would have been any better or not, the one that they makes it harder for your team is draft a guy #1 and NOT sign him before you do so. At that point, the leverage became Russell’s and he didn’t show up until after the first game of the regular season.
    The ONLY people who really want a salary scale are the commish, the owners, the fans and those increasingly mythical veterans that Goodell claims to have support from. Don’t you think that every time that a JaMarcus Russell signs for big money that Tom Brady and Peyton Manning aren’t adding zeros to their next contract demand? Wouldn’t you be upping your demands if you were a 1,000 yard receiver for 3 years in a row and Darious Heyward-Bey’s contract became common knowledge.
    No matter how you slice it, Al Davis was going to screw up and a pay scale wasn’t going to make it any better. These guys make mistakes because they’re STUPID and not because of the money that they have to pay.

  41. People complaining about Russell should look at the fact that the holdout affected his contract. All the other top rookies signed for a rookie base, a signing bonus with performance but since he reported so late and there was no chance of him making any dent that year, he had more upfront money as his base. His second year kicked in a higher base for his third year because he was able to get most of his incentives, which had a higher value in his second year than normal. On the other hand, Brady Quinn’s base really didn’t rise much because he never made his incentives and a lot of his salary is signing bonus. He may not have done all that well but Cleveland didn’t get hurt as much by his contract as some would think.
    You can complain about Russell all you want but remember, what he’s earning is because Oakland was too stupid to sign him before the draft and they agreed to so much money for his second season.

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