Sources: Disclosure of rookie scale formula by NFLPA nearly blew up settlement

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Football returned on Tuesday, featuring an unprecedented string of deals done in an ultra-compressed time frame.  An accidental disclosure by the NFLPA has contributed to the madness, by expediting the process of getting draft picks under contract.

But that came after the blunder nearly blew up the brand-new labor deal.

According to multiple sources, the NFL and the players agreed when crafting the rookie wage scale that the slot-by-slot formula would be kept confidential, and that agents and teams would know only the total rookie dollars allocated by team.  This approach would make the process similar to past years,  when the CBA utilized a rookie salary cap, which provided teams with limited money for all rookies but no restrictions on how it would be divvied up.

Despite a new name and far fewer dollars to go around, the same concept applies. Teams get a total amount that can be paid to all rookies, and the teams can decide which draft pick will get how much of the money.

Previously, the pick-by-pick formula used to determine each team’s rookie salary cap never had been disclosed to agents or teams.  This year, in the first season of the new rookie wage scale, it was.

As best we can tell, a low-level employee at the NFLPA inadvertently sent the formula out to agents.  The agents initially were confused by what they had received.  When some started to rely on the formula when negotiating deals, the league became aware of what had occurred.

The sources, who requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the issue, told PFT that the league responded by accusing the NFLPA of breaching the settlement agreement, and threatening to scrap the deal.  Cooler heads quickly prevailed, and the league decided to remedy the situation by sending the pick-by-pick formula to all teams.

Thus, every agent and every team have a comprehensive list of the year-one rookie allocation, the total rookie allocation, and the year-one minimum allotment for every single pick in the draft.  As a result, the deals are being done for nearly the exact numbers specified in the pick-by-pick formula, making a simplified process even more simple.

“The deals are taking five minutes to do,” one agent told PFT on Saturday afternoon.

For example, the formula that has been disclosed to the agents and the teams indicates that the total four-year value of Cam Newton’s contract as the first overall pick should be $22,025,500.  The actual number?  $22,025,498.

Though the information has made the process easier for everyone, it has limited the ability of some agents to negotiate a larger chunk of the per-team allocation.  Since the new wage scale isn’t technically a firm slotting process, some agents could finagle extra money for their clients, even if it may come at the expense of one of the team’s other draft picks.

Thus, the speed of the process in 2011 has been fueled both by the sense of urgency and by the ease with which the teams and the agents can get the deals done, given the inadvertent disclosure of the pick-by-pick formula to everyone involved.

26 responses to “Sources: Disclosure of rookie scale formula by NFLPA nearly blew up settlement

  1. The low level employee was described as “some goof named Smith”, with no further details revealed.

  2. Good job by the NFL, putting an end to these leeching agents who convince their high pick rookie clients to hold out for more than they deserve.

    Top 10 picks go to teams with great need, and they are needed in camp on day 1.

  3. Mike, enlighten us… does this fall under the ‘anti-trust’ laws that the two sides have been brawling over and that’s why the NFL was upset, since they are technically restricting the marketplace and could be sued for this by any incoming player?


  4. Seems to me that it would make sense for the NFL and NFLPA to agree to a set contract with set pay for each slot. Eliminates hold outs and the need for agents for rookies. Saves the rookies up to 30% that they would pay the agent and helps solve some of college footballs “slimy agent” problem.


  5. Apparently the agent for Watkins didn’t get the memo because he’s playing game apparently wanting to wait to see what the player around him get.

  6. I see that Huge Gleaming Hologram is pimping Under Armpit Athletic Apparel.

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  7. For example, the formula that has been disclosed to the agents and the teams indicates that the total four-year value of Cam Newton’s contract as the first overall pick should be $22,025,500. The actual number? $22,025,498

    Anyone remember that movie “Better Off Dead”? Think Cam is gonna get on his bike and start screaming “WHERE’S MY TWO DOLLARS?”

  8. ok enough of freakin labor talks please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! im already getting pissed off about it please JUST GET THE FINAL 3 DETAILS DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. The way that dude let it slip then gets bailed out in the end reminds me of that guy from the commercial who gets told by his buddy that he inadvertently hit “reply all” to an e-mail instead of just sending it to his buddy and the dude basically roars around the earth snatching up everyone’s computer.When he makes it back to his desk exhausted, his buddy says something like, “OH MY did reply only to me.”

  10. Didnt the guys asking about Watkins listen. Its not a set slot by slot position. Agents can try to negotiate for their player at the expense of the teams other draft picks. The slot numbers are just suggestions. You also have to consider perks work bonuses etc. Also bc every one else signed for the Eagles and the agent knows how much money the Eagles can spend he is probably trying to get every cent of the difference the Eagles are probably not trying to spend every cent of the difference . Hence, they hit a wall. So now both sides are probably waiting to see what everyone around them signed for to get a better since of what is fair.

    Also you gotta take into account Watkins age. He isnt going to get 3 contracts like most players. He will probably get his rookie deal and 1 more and thats it. So you cant blame him or his agent for trying to get as much as they can for him now bc hes not gonna have the same opportunities as other players to make it up later.

    For that reason it will probably take him longer then most. Plus you might not have noticed but Roseman has been a little busy.

    So relax its not that big of deal its only been 4 days. Its not gonna be like years before where they argue over it for weeks bc they have the guidelines to work with. The deal will get done with plenty of time to spare for him to get ready for the season.

  11. this is irrelevant it didnt hurt the deal so move on about the lock out stuff.heck a source told me that if they hadnt reached a deal by now we would have lost some preseason games.

  12. The tempest in the teapot was the agents collectively crying out loud – as they see the need for their services evaporating/steaming into thin air.

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of blood suckers.

    And yes, lower level should get a huge bonus.

  13. Why not just make the amounts hard for each pick? That eliminates any possible holdout by rookies, nobody gets screwed over by the “mean” crafty owners and agents are not needed until the FA deals are looming. These guys are still “entry level” but their initial value is determined by draft slot. They will get their big paydays if/when they earn a new deal.

  14. Is there anything that prevents Cam Newton or anybody else from holding out next year? Couldn’t the #1 pick sign the slotted deal, play his rookie year, and then hold out next year for that Sam Bradford type contract?

    I like the rookie scale concept, but it seems like a few greedy players/agents can/will exploit it at some point.

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