Von Miller’s presence in antitrust suit focuses on rookie salary cap

The 58-page antitrust lawsuit filed by various players against the NFL (we’re up to page 36) includes former Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller as a plaintiff.  His presence has prompted some to speculate that the lawsuit is aimed at scuttling the draft.

It’s not, at least not yet.  The CBA contemplates a 2011 draft, even if the CBA will be expired when the 2011 draft commences.

Miller’s presence in the action allows an attack on any type of rookie salary cap, either via a rookie wage scale or the “entering player pool” used in past years under the labor deal.  The lawsuit alleges that the CBA makes no provision for the use of the entering player pool in 2011, and the lawsuit contends that any restriction on the pay received by incoming rookies constitutes an antritrust violation.

If the lawsuit is still around in 2012, there’s a good chance it will be amended to include another incoming rookie, with the goal of attacking the draft as an antitrust violation.  (Indeed, the complaint mentions that a less restrictive draft was found to be a violation of antitrust laws by a federal court in 1976.)

Since the league consists of 32 separate businesses, the players will argue that a system of allocating potential employees violates the antitrust laws.  For now, though, the argument isn’t ripe.

Eventually, it’ll be riper than a spotted plantain.

All that said, it’s hard not to wonder whether Miller’s decision to become one of the thorns in the side of the league before he even enters it will hurt his draft stock.  Apart from whether players could be blackballed, some could view Miller as a rebel or a loose cannon, and it could be a factor in the final assessment of him as a prospect.

57 responses to “Von Miller’s presence in antitrust suit focuses on rookie salary cap

  1. Kevin Mawae was destroyed by league owners when he became presidente of the NFLPA, they didn’t even give him a chance to tryout for their teams.

    Von Miller is an idiot an he’ll soon learn that

  2. Not even a rookie and he is participating in the destruction of the league. Even NFLPA supporters (of which I am not one) have to agree this is lame.

  3. The end of the NFL as I know it.

    What a sorry state of affairs. With 20% of people out of work in this country, with the USA in financial trouble with talk of ending Medicare and Social Security we are all focused on whether there will be football this year? What the f.

    I have been an NFL fan for many years but this makes me sick enough to say screw it – I will find better things to do with my time and money.

    The fans are what makes the NFL – So the owners and players better get their priorities in order. You stand to loose millions of loyal fans along with all the money you make ON US.

    You all better fix this before it’s too late – like now!

    PS: I will still be fishing with you Pete and John this spring.

  4. robert kraft was right the lawyers on the players side destroyed the negotiation and now the players are the ones looking really bad in all of this . lawyers don’t care whats in the best interest and the long term health of the game .

  5. How, if at all, does the report that the entity formerly known as the NFLPA agreed upon a rookie wage scale during negotiations factor into this lawsuit?

  6. This is the same league that employs Pacman Jones, T.O, Big Ben, Perrish Cox, Mike Vick, and soon will welcome back Plaxico and Tiki.

    Von Miller will find a team if he can play.

  7. This will, in the end, teach us much about the league we love and much about such things as labor law, anti-trust and litigation.

    Interestingly enough, it may take us so far from first downs and touchdowns that some of us will never look at the game…or America the same way again.

    I once loved baseball as much as the pretty, nordic blonde who sat only a few feet from me in 9th grade English class…

    My childish naivete about baseball is gone. I still occasionally wonder about her…

  8. So will I get lucky and see him fall to the Eagles at pick 23? Probably not. Mawee was probably hurt a bit by the owners around the league but he was also like 38 years old.

  9. Maybe the players had the bright idea of putting the highest-rated-senior-prospect’s name on it to add as much “credibility” to it as they can.

    and rezen- the wage scale, I guess, would only be upheld if the league could prove that, before decertification, the NFLPA put enough consideration into or agreed to the rookie wage scale. That would then probably need to be testified to by the mediator, the league, and the NFLPA (who would probably refute it given Miller’s name in suit). If the issue isnt thrown out because the NFLPA gave up all representative rights for collective bargaining (and it was never formally signed off on), it will probably stay in play. Thats just how I see it though

  10. Von Miller has a good point, but even though the NFL is 32 separate businesses, they operate within a specific set of rules and regulations as agreed upon jointly. The separation begins after those rules are met, and there is enough proof for this. This includes the possibility of a rookie wage scale.

  11. Owners lied and played games trying to get the players to miss the decertification deadline. Now the thrown together a proposal so they can say see we tried to get it done. I’m on the players side and want the deal done. I love football free agency,path to the draft, draft,camps preseason etc. Get it done. In the words of the late Gene Upshaw You don’t give it back!!!!!!

  12. Non von draft! If he thinks the game of football will not exist without him, he has truly learned from the idiotic socialist yoyos at Texas Aye und Em.

  13. As for Miller he won’t get past Dallas and if he does he won’t get past New England… Steelers won’t. Pass on him.

  14. boblavoie says:
    Mar 11, 2011 10:11 PM
    The end of the NFL as I know it.

    I will find better things to do with my time and money.


    No you won’t.

    You’ve been kicked in the teeth a hundred ways to Sunday over the last 20 years, and here you are.

    Believe me, the last thing either side is worried about is you walking away.

  15. How dare Von Miller fight with his future business partners!

    Now, let me get back to creating WWIII in my office because I didn’t get off on Good Friday.

  16. “Kevin Mawea was past hospital prime. Way past his prime.”

    Yeah, as a player. But he kicked ass today.

    Name me a lawyer who was drooling to go to court that didn’t know he could win. One.

    PS – D Smith is a lawyer.

  17. So does this mean there won’t be a rookie cap? LOL I’m no lawyer so I may be totally wrong here but my gut tells me there will be a season.

  18. PFTiswhatitis says:
    Mar 11, 2011 10:10 PM
    Not even a rookie and he is participating in the destruction of the league. Even NFLPA supporters (of which I am not one) have to agree this is lame.

    Do you guys have any idea what goes on in this country?? When I came out of school I had four (4) offers from around the country. Surprisingly I took the one that paid the most money in a part of the country in which I desired to live. The draft is legal ONLY if it has been bargained collectively. DeMaurice Smith is indeed a lawyer. What is the commissioner? The owners signed the TV contracts with a lockout in mind! And you blame the players?

  19. realitypolice says:
    No you won’t.
    You’ve been kicked in the teeth a hundred ways to Sunday over the last 20 years, and here you are.
    Believe me, the last thing either side is worried about is you walking away.

    I used to believe that working on a Sunday was bad because I’d miss NFL football. Suddenly missing time, and extra dough, to watch others “work” isn’t nearly as appealing

  20. You do kind of have to like the employees sticking it to management.

    College Football games on Sundays.

  21. Believe me, the last thing either side is worried about is you walking away. You will be back.

    I think this statement may represent the feelings of many fans, but NOT ALL of them. There are many differences comparing 1987 to 2011.The economy is much worse, ticket prices ,parking, consessions, psl’s etc. ,have increased many fold Wages & benfits have been going down the last 10 plus years with staggering unemployment.Add to that, the power of the social media[via internet]. where everybody instantly knows what everyone else is thinking. I believe a work stoppage is going to generate a great amount of fan backlash that is going to have a lasting affect on the game.When the NHL and MLB did this some years back, I for one, have not watched either league since and believe we could have many NFL fans losing interest and not garnering their financial support..Time will Tell.

  22. moochzilla says:

    Name me a lawyer who was drooling to go to court that didn’t know he could win. One.

    I’ll give you two: Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden

    Also, Von Miller was not yet a member of the NFLPA, so it doesn’t matter whether or not they negotiated a rookie pay scale. He’s suing as a player trying to gain entry to the league, and saying that the draft is an unfair labor practice.

    I love that he has the stones to take a stand, and now hope more than ever that he lands on the Niners.

  23. I still say the best way to deal with the problem of rookie salaries is to just eliminate the draft all together and let teams pay players what they think they’re worth. It might be messy but with 800 free agents and 32 teams the salaries should find a nice equilibrium.

  24. You do kind of have to like the employees sticking it to management.

    Reminds me of that commercial where a guy puts money into his wallet and says to his assistant “Just my way of sticking it to the man” The assistant says “Sir, you are the man”

  25. Calm down guys you gotta think of it from Von Miller’s P.O.V. –
    “This may be the only shot I have at being on any list with company like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, You better believe i’m doing it! Now i just have to prove to everyone I can play :(”
    yes if the 49ers draft him I will support him..ugh!…but you don’t see Patrick Willis’ name on that list do you Von Miller?

  26. I hope these current players never play again.

    I couldn’t careless if they ever put on the uniform again. Greedy bastards.

    The owners are the ones who put hundreds of millions of dollars out there. The players play becasue they’re getting paid. It has nothing to do wit ha love of the game…its simply for the great paycheck. Well have fun missing them. I know this will end, but I prefer scab player to any of the current NFL players.

    Von Miller who do you think you are? If I was your father I’d be disappointed in you.

  27. First let me state that anyone that blames one side or the other isn’t mature enough to understand that it’s PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL. Owners GET MONEY and Players are PAID MONEY to put on a football game. This ain’t your “for the love of the game” kumbaya amateur crap. It’s elite Football for Elite money.

    Okay, I’ve been one of the only people I know of that has been against the proposed rookie salary cap. It’s not fair to rookies. Think about it, how would you like to come out of college and have no choice in how much you could be paid, despite your talent and skills and that you wouldn’t have the opportunity to make real money for 5 years (and the average NFL career is 3 years). We’re all outraged out the cost of high round rookies, sure and it seems too easy to dump on them and say we’ll just cap how much they make. But shouldn’t the teams be responsible for how much they’re willing to pay for rookies? Instead of the absurd slotted system the NFL currently uses to manage the costs for rookies (and proposes to continue to use along with a cap) where a draft # and position equals a certain compensation then next year the same draft pick and and an approximate of that position and +a % increase. Just let the free market decide rookie compensation. Give teams in a draft like order first right of refusal tags to apply to players. That way a player is guaranteed to receive the maximum value they’re worth on the open market but the NFL gets to maintain a form of parity by allowing weaker teams to have an advantage in signing players.

  28. Any fan who is taking the owner’s side is grossly uninformed of the situation.
    The owners want it their way and in the months preceding this debacle they invented ideas like 18-game seasons, rookie salary caps and other revenue-generating ideas that ultimately requires player sacrifice to give the greedy owners more money. It’s like the owners were saying, “Since you don’t wanna give us more money from our present agreement then we’ll let you earn it another way.”
    NOW… on the last possible day, the owners offer up what they call “concessions” which are not because they are nothing more than the crap they just invented and don’t really even exist.
    How the hell can you call an offer of no 18-game seasons concession? You cannot negotiate something that does not exist.
    Idiot owners. They must be tea party jock straps.

  29. @drgreenstreak:

    OH MY GOD you mean the Owners are trying to make the most money they can from their business investment in their franchise????? GASP!!! I’m SHOCKED!!!! I’m HORRIFIED!!!!

    just as much as I’m shocked that the Players want more money.

    Wow, employers are trying to keep more money and employees want to make more money…hmm…that never happens in other businesses…..but wait….the NFL isn’t a business it’s about the love of the game of Football. So I should be outraged at all this talk about money and pick a side to be outraged against.

  30. Von Miller hasn’t proven jack s– in the NFL but he wants to jump on the litigation bandwagon and hopefully hit the lottery.

    I hope he gets blackballed to the 7th round.

  31. Von Miller was the second coming of Vernon Gholston before this. All this does is further solidfy that fact. He’s a workout warrior looking for a payday, and as soon as that happens he’ll never be heard from again other than in a “top busts of all time” NFL Network special.

  32. Draft is stupid, he should be a free agent and sign to the highest bidder. That’s a true free market. The draft rewards poor teams. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? The super bowl team should get the first pick.

    Our society rewards failure.

  33. Collusion can be costly, ask baseball. Without any antitrust protection, it’ll be trebly expensive.

  34. All the people who claim that the “market” should dictate how much everyone is paid in the NFL, including rookies, is just plain moronic. Let’s look at some facts:

    1) The NFL is a single entity, not 32 completing entities. If the league were 32 individual economic entities, and the top 5 drove all the others out of business, would anyone pay to watch those games? Of course not. The league thrives on having numerous teams from all over the country competing (on the field only). The profit sharing arrangement keeps smaller market teams afloat, and the entire league benefits from the increase in viable playoff teams.

    2) NFL owners are “the market” for NFL players. If the owners say “We need a rookie wage system with slotted salaries”, then guess what you clowns: the MARKET is telling rookies that they are worth whatever a slotted system pays. Having the government put a gun to the head of the owners and forcing them to pay more than they would otherwise be willing to pay is EXTORTION.

    I want the owners to lock out the players for a year. They can learn what living in the real world is like for a change. They’ve been pampered their whole life and a rude awakening is in order. Unions need to go away forever. I will always fall on the side of the owners of any business to run the business the way they want to run it for simple sake of property rights.

    To H – E – double tooth pick with the NFLPA!

  35. This has no effect on his draft status. Manning, Brady, and Brees also filing law suits. I think they will be fine too. Von Miller won’t fall out of top 10. Look for AZ to snag him at 5.

  36. Miller is setting himself up farther down the road for big money – remember that the plaintiffs for the lawsuit that resulted in the last work stoppage got exemption from ever being “franchised”. If that plays out again, Miller will be able to collect big money at the end of every contract. Provided he gets drafted in the first place…

  37. @deadeye

    uhm…who determines market price for Free Agents? I think it’s those 32 teams that bid against each other. I’d say that’s the definition of a (relatively) free market.

    If the owners ban together to set a price system for the rookies that’s called COLLUSION. Which is a key component of proving ANTI-TRUST cases.

    so speaking of clowns…i’m not sure what your clown logic is here about the owners collectively setting the market worth of the rookies.

    it’s simplistic thinking that has people up in arms about how overpaid rookies are. there are plenty of free agents that overpaid. that’s the nature of the system. but because rookies are unproven gambles people seem willing to take away their right to receive fair market value for their perceived value. Is it that much of a difference between a player that was signed for a few games and never played (and is no longer by definition a rookie) and a player out of college or off of the street? we’re talking about mitigating risk here. signing players off of practice squads? from lower leagues (CFL, UFL, AFL)? Why are we so willing to take the responsibility of effective talent evaluation and fiscal responsibility away from the teams?

  38. I’ll tell you what’s moronic…taking the side of the socialist and communist owners. In their world all make a profit, but the bosses don’t have to work and make the biggest profits. Why aren’t there teams for sale? Why hasn’t anyone else put another team in Detroit or Cincy? What did all of the PSL owners get for their money the last two years in Carolina? Why shouldn’t anyone with money in San Antonio, Birmingham or Sacramento start their own NFL team? Because the owners have a monopoly! The CBA is the reason you have a draft, drug testing etc. These guys know about the AFL because some of them were there. They want no competition with guaranteed profit. Go ahead and side with an oilman like Jerry Jones. Who can’t trust oil companies?

  39. I know this will end, but I prefer scab player to any of the current NFL players.

    No you don’t because if you did you’d watch ANY professional football instead of the NFL. You’re saying that you’d want your team to be composed of scabs and the other teams could sign the best players?

  40. Drgreenstreak – I side (mostly) with the owners. When we recently went through layoffs, the loss of one of the managers that works for me meant I had to take on even more responsibility. I didn’t get a raise, but I got to keep my job. Same applies here. The employer gets to change the job description if they deem it needed (or wanted). if the employer doesn’t like it, they can get another job. Problem for the players is there aren’t a lot of million dollar jobs available out there – so shut up, say thank you, and start playing.
    Capslockkey – You must not watch football if you think Von is a workout warrior only. He led the nation in sacks over the past two years (in college football). He did that against double and at times triple team blocking most of the time as the rest of A&M’s defensive line was certainly not exceptional. You look idiotic when you post ignorant comments like that.
    Dontcallmepete – The most socialistic/communistic element here is certainly the players (and union). It isn’t even remotely arguable from you view that it is the owners.

  41. @don’tcallmepete – do you even understand what socialism and communism is???? Owners wanting to make more money off of their businesses is PURE CAPITALISM. United workers is SOCIALISM.

    I guess you’ve never been in a place of ownership of a business. In business ventures, it’s the owners that have their money at risk as capital. All workers risk is their time. Now in the NFL’s case the workers also risk their bodies/health so they have a greater stake than most workers. But to totally side against the Owners because they’re the ones in charge is just stupid. They’re the ones with the financial risk. Players are just employees trying to be fairly compensated…and that’s fine…that’s they’re prerogative to seek fair compensation like any other worker.

    @aggiejosh – I have not watched much film on Von Miller. The reviews on him are mixed but mostly positive. Some scouts are afraid of pass rushers that succeed in College primarily on their speed. One scout claimed that Von Miller got lots of “air sacks” where no one blocks him. In the NFL traits like hand technique, counter-moves and bend/balance are even more important than speed/explosion. The NFL is littered with hyped failed pass rushers that were pure speed rushers: Quinton Groves and Everette Brown are two that come to mind in the last few years. Again, I don’t know much about Miller but his reliance as a pure speed rusher is the only knock I’ve heard about him.

  42. @allforfunplay – I agree that Miller is primarily a speed rusher and will need to improve in several areas to be special at the next level. However, saying he is only a workout warrior is so far off base it is ridiculous.

  43. Okay all you football people. Why the hell are we still supporting these over paid idiots? If it was’nt for us, they would have nothing. We are in the worst finacial shape in our nations history, our president is a used car salesmen, we are fighting other peoples wars while allowing our own security to be compromised, and yet we still support these greedy owners and players. I know it is next to impossible, BUT, if we united, and as a whole, stopped “feeding thier kitty”, then I bet you and me could actually afford to go see a game, and not feel like we had just been raped. Dont get me wrong, I am a die hard fan, and have been all my life. But enough is enough, and I am tired of hearing them make this about money and not the game. Please join me, as hard as it will be, and boycott the whole dang mess.

  44. So who is going to start this ball rolling? If I had the money I would start running spots on all the major networks to try and get support on the “boycott” of all NFL fan supported events. Starting with training camp, sunday ticket subscriptions, season tickets, t-shirts, caps, jerseys, everything that has anything to do with the NFL. Then, I bet they will come to thier collective senses, and quick. Without OUR money, they would have absolutley nothing to bicker about. And I would suspect, they would have thier asses out there practicing, and paying more attention to us, the fans, quicker than we ended desert storm. I know I am not the only one out there that has had this idea, but right now we need to come together for a common cause. If they can’t see it, then it is up to us to hit them where it hurts the worse. right smack dab in that wallet. Think about a superbowl with a half empty stadium. Or commercial slots going to Joes Roofing Co. just to fill space during the blessed event. We need to take back control and make the over paid gluttons really appreciate us, the fans, that make it possible for 19 million dollar 4 year contracts. Think about it fellow football fans. We really do have the power, if we can all get on the same page. I would love to hear others thoughts and ideas about how this could be done. Please, by all means, spread the word, and lets figure this out, without the help of the folks that have been running the show thus far.

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