The current Collective Bargaining Agreement has streamlined the process of signing draft picks by establishing a slotting system for rookie salaries along with establishing uniform lengths of contracts — four-year deals for all players drafted after the first round and team options for a fifth year on all players drafted in the first round — for every player selected.
The CBA also says no drafted player can negotiate an extension until after their third year, which is something that Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier would like to see change in the future. Shazier, who was a first-round pick in 2014, believes that players “should be able to re-up whenever” they and the team agree to a new contract.
Shazier’s option was exercised, so he may not be talking about a new deal until after the 2018 season and said he’d like the players to take another look at that when they work on the next CBA.
“Yeah, that kind of sucks,” Shazier said, via ESPN.com. “Sometimes guys have to wait five years. Other guys don’t. But that’s what they agreed on in the past. Next time we’ve just got to do a better job of structuring what we want to do. At the end of the day, if you play at a high level, things should pan out for you.”
Any change the players want is likely going to have to come by giving the owners something they want. Changes that would benefit players not yet in the league doesn’t seem like something that would be a major priority in such an exchange, so Shazier’s hope may go unrealized.