Rookie wage scale could be the first step toward guaranteed veteran contracts

Getty Images

As we pointed out at some point before all transactional hell broke loose, the rookie wage scale gives rookie draft picks less reason than ever to hold out.  There’s little reason to hold out because there’s not much to negotiate.

That said, there’s one fairly significant factor that remains negotiable — the extent to which the rookie contract is guaranteed.

It hasn’t been a hard sell for plenty of the teams who have signed first-round picks.  Several of the contracts are fully and completely guaranteed.

And that makes us wonder whether agents, once in the habit of negotiating fully guaranteed contracts, will start asking for fully guaranteed veteran contracts.  The teams, once in the habit of granting fully guaranteed contracts, may start agreeing to fully guaranteed veteran contracts, in some cases.

Given Bengals owner Mike Brown’s stance on quarterback Carson Palmer, players may start clamoring for a two-way “commitment.”  Now that first-round picks are getting that two-way commitment, other players may want it, too.

16 responses to “Rookie wage scale could be the first step toward guaranteed veteran contracts

  1. Thats what I thought when I started seeing the rookies get less money, but have their contracts fully guaranteed. Its only a matter of time before veterans demand the samething. Then you are going to see a true shift and the power will transfer from the coaches to the players, just like the NBA. Its already happening with the limited contact practices and off-season. Not a good thing.

  2. Funny how Mike Brown has been pointed out in the media and by some PFT fans, but here he is noted as a potential precedent in “bipartisan fairness.

  3. I don’t get it. Why would teams ever want to give a player a fully guaranteed contract?

    Can you imagine if the Redskins did that with Albert Haynesworth?

  4. Football contracts should never be guaranteed,not with the current cap system in place. All it takes is one hit to turn a team’s fully-guaranteed multi-million dollar investment into a paraplegic. Baseball and basketball can get away with it because the teams are smaller and because there’s way less violence involved.

  5. Interestingly enough, the Bengals were the one of the first, if not the first team to sign their first round pick this year. They guaranteed all the of the $19+ million they signed him for. It’d be kinda funny if things change and guaranteed contracts become the norm and Brown rails against them.


  6. LOL, football finally gets up to speed with the rest of the sports world. Next thing you know they’ll be letting the kids play football for a living at the same age they’re allowed to go to war.

  7. If the owners cave to the agents and set that precedent, they are idiots! Owners: Tell the agents to GFY!

  8. Step in the right direction. Gotta love the double standard here. Fans get angry when a player outplays his contract but holds out for more money, but don’t have a problem with the owners cutting a player that’s under contract, even if the player is injured.

    I never understood the man crush some fans have on a bunch of greedy old billionaire owners. We should make a separate league for you guys where the owners play each other for all the losers that supported them during the lockout.

  9. “And that makes us wonder whether agents, once in the habit of negotiating fully guaranteed contracts, will start asking for fully guaranteed veteran contracts.”

    I thought they or ready did. Panthers are still paying Jake Delhomme.

  10. A good size signing bonus accomplishes the same thing as guaranteed money. And it works for both sides by getting the player money up front while still allowing the owners to recover if there is a problem.

  11. I respect Mike Brown’s stance that Carson Palmer gave his word and signed a contract, and that he should honor that. Although Palmer’s retirement is a big loss for the Bengals in trade value, Brown has set the precedent for the future.

    That being said, I would like to see a PFT post that identifies all of the times that the Bengals (and Brown) have cut a player mid-contract or forced them to renegotiate a contract. That post would expose the hypocrisy of Mike Brown that the players should honor their contracts but the team could do whatever the heck it pleases.

  12. The only reason these contracts are fully guaranteed is because:

    1. They’re first round picks
    2. They’re for relatively low amts. of money (up to $22 million, not $75 million)
    3. These are the first four years in each players career, and usually, 1st-round picks stick for at least 3 years.
    4. It prevents hold-outs
    5. It’s low risk. Imagine if Nnamdi gets a 6-year $75M contract and suffers a career ending injury in year one. That team has to pay all $75M. They’re screwed.
    6. There are other ways to guarantee two-way commitments, like player options. If instead of a 6-year deal, Carson Palmer signed a 3-year deal with player options for years 4, 5 and 6, he could be outta there.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!