Fifth-year salary a factor in trade talks

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Last night, we took issue with the general belief that the rookie wage scale will promote trades at the top of the draft.  While the reduced contract value has made the top-10 picks more attractive (or, perhaps, less unattractive), the teams that hold the picks know that it’s now cheaper to occupy into one of the top spots in the selection process.  Which could increase the price for a trade up.

There’s another dynamic that, we’re told, will be an issue in any trade talks.  The difference between the calculation of the fifth-year option payment for the first 10 first-round picks and the next 22 makes a top-10 pick somewhat less desirable for a team that doesn’t already hold a top-10 pick.

As explained on Friday, the first 10 picks now sign four-year contracts.  The team can retain the player’s rights for a fifth season by offering a one-year salary equal to the average cap number of the 10 highest-paid players at the same position.  For picks 11 through 32, the year-five option is determined by averaging the cap number for the third through 25th-highest paid players at the same position.

Last year, the cutoff came after the Jaguars selected quarterback Blaine Gabbert with the 10th overall selection.

For now, the gap between those two numbers isn’t dramatic.  Per a league source, the difference at the quarterback position currently would exceed $3 million.  Four years from now, however, the split could be much wider — especially since fewer incoming quarterbacks will be driving up the average from No. 3 through No. 25 with monstrous rookie deals.

It’s simply another factor to consider when discussing first-round trades.  If anything, it could serve to make it harder, not easier, to get deals done.

But yet there continues to be story after story regarding an expectation that trades will increase.

13 responses to “Fifth-year salary a factor in trade talks

  1. I really don’t think this is a huge factor. Take a guy like Gabbert, for example. If he continues on the path he is on, the Jags will just let him walk after his 4th year. Meanwhile, a stud top-draft pick (like Cam Newton) will obviously have his 2nd contract done by the time that 4th year is completed. It is the in-between guys (Ponder, Locker, etc.) who make this a potential issue.

    But, basically, if anyone is trading up into the top-ten for a guy they are looking for him to be a franchise guy. Therefore, they will be expecting to sign him to that 2nd long-term deal at the conclusion of their 4th year anyway. So, the fifth year option in the first contract probably won’t even cross their mind… at least not this far ahead.

  2. duanethomas says:
    Apr 22, 2012 6:43 PM
    D. Smith is horrible. The players got it handed to them
    Stop it…….. these players including the ones with minimum contracts make phenominal money. The best thing the players association could do for the players would be to make it mandatory that all players contribute 10 percents of their salary to their own retirements accounts. Even the players that only last 4 or 5 years would be in decent financial shape for the rest of their lives.

  3. It will only matter for developmental top 10 picks and for guys that get injured. Any good GM will use it to his advantage in trade talks, so it is relevant to a degree I suppose.

  4. @bchapman2011.

    You’re making my point, D.Smith despite the evidence of 76% of players ending up broke didn’t even try to put any provision in The CBA for the future welfare for players. Not financially or health care. So I’m not stopping because their salaries are like water in 76% of their hands. Don’t believe me??? Ask Luther Ellis or Warren Sapp.

  5. sterilizecromartie nailed it….

    Do you honestly think that a rookie contract will go longer then the third year for a player like Cam Newton?

    Do you think Bruce Allen was wavering on the fifth year of the rookie contract when the Redskins traded to the #2 slot in this years draft?

    I also don’t believe it was an issues for Atlanta last year when they bet the farm to trade up to #6 for Julio Jones.

    Nut then again what do I know?

  6. The 5th year will do nothing to stop teams from making increased draft day trades . Every team will long know if their pick warrants extensions or the boot by year 4… I personally would love to see more player & draft pick wheeling & dealing during draft weekend . Trades always enhance the entertainment , given us fans plenty to celebrate or mock our teams & other teams moves….

  7. Your right duanethomas. That pimp needs to find a new line of work. All this, the walk out last year causing the lockout and the new CBA could have ALL been avoided if he wasn’t in the picture.

  8. If you think the players got it handed to them your nuts. They hardly even have to practice anymore. There are
    so many rules to offseason and in season practices now if they take it any farther they ll only be suiting up on Sundays. They make a lot of money and are doing less and less. I wish they would keep football the way it is and stop forking with it. Eventually they’re going to ruin the game we all love. You know the game it cost me a little under a grand to take my daughter to a game. If anyone gets hosed its the fans. It’s like there’s an inside joke that the players nd owners are in on and leave us out and giggle there ass off in front of us to rub it in. Just joking….but seriously, what the fork….really

  9. “So I’m not stopping because their salaries are like water in 76% of their hands. Don’t believe me??? Ask Luther Ellis or Warren Sapp.”


    If players who earned millions of dollars become broke after retiring from the NFL, it’s not because D. Smith is an idiot, it’s because THEY are an idiot. There’s no excuse for any human being with two functioning brain cells to neglect putting ten percent of their paycheck into savings accounts. Only a fool goes broke with that kind of money.

  10. This doesnt make a difference because it only affects teams that make mistakes in the draft, and are terrible at handling contracts.

    1. The teams that don’t screw up their drafts are also teams that normally don’t pick in the top 10-12, and never really find a need to- so they don’t trade up.

    2. 1st round picks that outperform their rookie deals will most likely be taken care of by the time their 5th year would start (unless the current RB trend continues, then the’d be stuck in a 5th year).

    3. Thus you can really conclude that the only teams involved with these types of decisions will be teams that currently alternate from the bottom 25% of the league to the bottom 50% of the league

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