Rookie wage scale uncertainty could limit trades at top of draft


The expected rookie wage scale inspired a popular theory in NFL circles.   With contracts drastically reduced, we would see more trading at the top of the draft.

The only problem with this theory for April’s draft is that no one is exactly sure what the rookie wage scale will look like.

Even more important: Decision makers aren’t entirely confident there will be a rookie scale this year.’s Albert Breer explains: “Teams are operating with the feeling they might have to pay the same freight as in the recent past, which would be the case if an injunction to lift the lockout is granted and the 2011 season is played without a CBA in place,” Breer writes.

Without more certainty, the likelihood of moves is very low.  New York’s trade up for Mark Sanchez is the only time a team has moved up for a top-six pick in the last six years.

Teams just aren’t going to fork up extra picks to move up without knowing how much a top-five contract is going to cost.

“It’s a gray area,”  one AFC personnel executive told Breer. “No one knows the timetable, and there are no guarantees. And even if there is a rookie wage scale, we don’t know the numbers.”

This draft class also doesn’t have the right standout prospects to would inspire a move up.  There isn’t a lot separating the top 8-10 picks.

It’ s going to be very difficult for the Panthers to inspire someone to trade up to No. 1 overall, if that’s what they want to do.

12 responses to “Rookie wage scale uncertainty could limit trades at top of draft

  1. I always thought the reason teams would trade up is to improve. Great cap management and a solid organization you trade to improve your team. The Patroits are always loaded with draft picks, while a team like The Redskins are not. The Redskins for the 3rd year in a row have 2 picks in the first 4 rounds. The Patroits have 7. Is there a correlation?……..

  2. Not that I would agree with such action, but with no CBA and antitrust suit pending, what could stop the owners from agreeing amongst themselves to imposing their own rookie wage scale. That’s what they’ve wanted all along anyway, why not implement it for this year’s draftees? If the draftees don’t like it, they can hold out but by then, the scale will be put in place anyway.

    Unless the court lifts the lockout and orders the league to play 2011 under the old CBA, and unless the old CBA has the rookie scale in it, I don’t see why the owners wouldn’t do what I just mentioned.

  3. NFL Draft Scout, which is the gold standard of draft rankings, had Jimmy Clausen as the second rated quarterback a year ago, and the 12th overall player in the draft. This year they have Cam Newton as the second rated quarterback and 11th overall player in the draft. What is the point of the Panthers using the top pick on Newton?

  4. @hobartbaker. The point is teams do not base how they draft off the rankings of. NFL Draft Scout, Mel Kiper, Todd Mcshay, etc….SMH.

  5. so if there by some reason there was no season this year, would there still be a 2012 draft???…Now THAT would be interesting

  6. @duanethomas. The point is the Panthers “had Clausen in their top 10 and were ecstatic to get him at 40” last year. According to Hurley after the draft. This year they are “looking at 8 players at the top, one of whom is Cam Newton”.
    Detect a pattern? As in the Panthers rated Clausen higher than NFL Draft Scout a year ago, and rate Newton higher this year. It seems like duplication to me. They could go out and get a veteran to support Clausen for a fraction of the cost.

  7. How about the chance there may not be a draft next year? Typically the Patriots trade their current picks for future picks. This year they have 2 #1’s, 2#2’s and 2#3’s. Do they use all those picks this year just in case??

  8. If there is no draft next year…the players will really have killed their golden goose.

    Dallas, Wash, NYG & NE will rule for years to come while Pitts, Buffalo, Indy, Minn, GB etc will become annual also rans.

    This lockout is upheld…or even appealed successfully and the eventual CBA will not resemble the one just offered. The owners will bleed the players dry..and they can.

  9. Whatever the rookie wage scale, their ALL being paid too much. They are just not worth the contracts they’ve been getting. The TV contract is too much, ticket prices are too high and the owners are making too much profits. One of these days we’ll be talking about REAL money.

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