McKay calls spike in early draft entries “surprising and disappointing”

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The NFL has a problem.  The new rookie wage scale, while eliminating the Powerball prizes at the top of the draft, has placed a premium on getting to the NFL and putting in years toward the all-important second contract.

The number of early entries has been going up each year since 2011, and this year it spiked from a record high of 73 in 2013 to 102.  (Four of the early entries have graduated from college.)

“I think the two words I would use to describe the amount of juniors coming out early this year are surprising and disappointing,” Falcons president and CEO Rich McKay, the chairman of the league’s Competition Committee, told PFT via email.  “The lifetime value to a collegiate athlete of completing his education and his college career should never be underestimated.  Our College Advisory Committee has worked extremely well in giving potential entrants a very accurate prediction of where they may be drafted.  Hopefully, this will be a one-year anomaly.”

The last sentence implies that the NFL currently has no plans to tweak the system that was launched in 2011, with rookie pay flattened out and teams unable to renegotiate contracts of draft picks for three years.

If it’s not an anomaly, the NFL will have to do something in order to keep the curators of the league’s free farm system happy.  If enough college coaches become unhappy, it could become much harder for NFL teams to scout the emerging talent.

It’s not clear what the NFL could do to discourage early entries short of the nuclear option of increasing the collectively-bargained threshold for entering the draft from three years after high school to four.  Under federal labor law, an agreement by the league and the NFLPA to raise the bar by a year would be largely bulletproof, if challenged in court.

18 responses to “McKay calls spike in early draft entries “surprising and disappointing”

  1. Someone please tell Rich McKay that a player can return to school and get his degree after his playing days are over.

    The NFL *MINIMUM* is $480,000, which takes the average college graduate eight years to earn. Again, that’s the MINIMUM. For just one year.

    Rick McKay needs to go back to school and take Economics 101.

  2. It’s not an NFL problem. It’s an NCAA problem. Maybe if players were more properly compensated at the college level, they’d be less inclined to leave early.

  3. Stay and get potentially injured or kicked out.
    Join and get paid, even if you’re cut, still paid a good sum of money.

    I like the latter, I like the latter a lot. Then can invest, make more money and go back to school.

  4. The NCAA has all sorts of ridiculous rules against athletes earning money while they’re in college (even though ironically, the NCAA is all about the bottom line: $$$). There’s no incentive for them to stay if they can get drafted and remove themselves from a hypocritical double-standard system.

  5. Rich McKay lecturing college athletes about the value of their education. A lot of these kids come from terrible backgrounds and are not in a position to take advantage of their situation, a lot of them don’t have the foundation from their earlier education to build on like a ‘normal’ college student who excelled in high school. It’s so obnoxious seeing McKay and others with this singular view of how every college athlete should view their situation. Not everyone is a self starter with a great work ethic. Not everyone can wait 4-5 years.These kids know they have one shot and they’re all in unique situations. Rich McKey is not suffering from the terrible economy we’ve been dealing with for the last 5+ years.

  6. what they need to do is educated the incoming players on money management and drill home the reality that most of them will be out of the league in 5 years and can not count on the 6 figure paychecks forever.

  7. No system,EVER, is going to make both sides happy. But one thing is true the rookie pay scale before 2011 was ridiculous. The early entries will level out after awhile and it’ll be fine.

  8. Would it be possible to require all drafted players who haven’t yet graduated to complete their bachelor’s degrees by the end of their rookie contracts?

  9. You could do that kevpft.

    Just make it simple though and pay all of the college players. Maybe some of them will start to take an extra year and spread out their studies on purpose so they don’t have to move up to the NFL until a year later.

    Life in college is so great now, or at least it was until some of those NFLers started coming back to school, who let these guys in?!

  10. Please stop this horse and pony show! The NFL should create a minor league and the colleges could just have college students play football. It’s no secret that over 70% of college football players are only there to go to the NFL and are not college material. It is criminal that the Colleges are taking advantage of these young people.

  11. They could limit the number of early entry players each team is allowed to draft. Say two per team. Meaning that no more than 64 could be drafted in a given year. That would hold the line at least, if not reduce the number of declarations.

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