In many cases, it’s better to not be drafted

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Bad news, you weren’t drafted. Good news. You weren’t drafted.

With the NFL doing such a great job of marketing the draft, players have become brainwashed to believe that getting drafted or not getting drafted represents the ultimate moratorium on their football careers. But that’s not the case.

For many players, it’s better to not be drafted than to be drafted, especially when otherwise being drafted in round seven.

Players who aren’t drafted get to pick their first NFL teams, not the other way around. They get to, with the help of their agents (assuming they have good agents . . . and good luck working this out without an agent), scour depth charts, consider coaching staffs, assess offensive or defensive systems, and find the best place to try to make the 53-man roster.

If the player is in demand, his agent can negotiate a great deal. For example, quarterback Tyree Jackson reportedly received $75,000 guaranteed to sign with the Bills.

Based on last year’s contracts, 15 drafted players received less guaranteed money than that. Besides, the signing bonus in round seven is hardly a windfall. The first pick in round seven last year received $104,000 guaranteed, which after state and local taxes will be far less than that. It’s far better to be able to pick a place where there’s a better chance to earn the rookie minimum salary of $495,000.

So, yes, for plenty of players it’s much better to not have your first NFL destination determined by the team but determined by the player. Few think of it that way, however. If more did, more would realize that it would be far better for all players to have no draft at all.

Unfortunately, anyone who points out this ultimate example of capitalism is immediately labeled a communist.

20 responses to “In many cases, it’s better to not be drafted

  1. Don’t agree; I think it’s better to be drafted by a team that wants you and has a need at your position otherwise they would select someone else/some other position. Sure; some will make a few dollars more and may even get to pick between several teams, their own spot, if they are a bubble player. However, I’d rather be selected.

  2. All I know is, 1 player that BB calls as an UDFA, of the 8 or so they bring in, 1 of them will be good, make the team and turn into a very good player.

  3. That seems to make sense with the only caveat being perhaps teams are more reluctant to cut a player they actually drafted in the seventh round as opposed to a free agent signing which goes under the PR radar.

  4. Most football people understand that there’s very little that differentiates most guys drafted in rounds 6-7 from priority free agents…and if a UDFA outplays a late draft pick, they understand that you keep the better player. The draft pick will usually be placed on the practice squad if he passes through waivers, and perhaps he’ll improve enough to eventually make the 53-man and contribute. If not….well, by next year they’ll be a herd of new guys battling to make the team, and nobody will obsess much that last year’s 6th rounder didn’t make the team.

  5. If the NFL truly embraced capitalism there wouldn’t be a draft or a limitation on who’s eligible to play. The draft is a socialistic concept not a free market one.
    7th round is for drafting special teams specialists or guys you likely can’t persuade to leave their geographic area for another.

  6. It makes sense, especially considering the draft used to have a lot more rounds and there are also more teams than there were back when there were more rounds, so there are more roster spots.

  7. I think the draft is good for keeping a competitive balance. What happens if the players get to choose their teams instead of being drafted? They go to the good ones. What’s Alabama been able to accomplish doing that? Not the same situation, but good players have gravitated to New England and took less to be on a good team.

  8. Players get drafted because of their play in college (call it their job application). They can still choose not to play for that team but just like people that put in applications for work they take the job offered to them. Did you get to “choose” where or what your first job was or did they choose you?

  9. The Chargers will have one UDFA make the team this year for the 23rd straight year….the Punter – Tyler Newsome from Notre Dame

  10. Capitalism has nothing to do with how private businesses handle their internal business. Getting rid of the draft would be a terrible decision for the NFL that would decrease revenue for the league which in turn decreases revenue for the players. Sure, in the short run it would be better for the players, but they get paid tremendously well. Nobody would feel sorry for an engineer/lawyer/teacher that graduated and was “forced” to go to a certain city to make millions of dollars for a few years before they ultimately get to choose where they work. They players know what they are signing up for and are not forced into this profession.

  11. Devout capitalist here… perfectly fine with heavy league regulation/socialism in sports. Makes a better product in this very unique set of circumstances. The capitalism comes in where you have different values per positions, competition for fans entertainment dollars vs MLB/NBA/NHL, etc.

    Baseball is wrecked because you know certain teams have ZERO shot each year, simply based on economics of geography. Tampa can’t go head on vs New York I’m spending. They could in the NFL. The league has come so far since the days of Cowboy/49er monetary dominance.

    The capitalistic value add should only be represented in perks and facilities, teams spending their excess wealth in caring for their players.

  12. The draft isn’t capitalism because the players don’t get a choice in the matter. Capitalism = voluntary participation in transactions by all parties involved

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