It’s time for top prospects to get paid for attending the Scouting Combine

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For plenty of players in the draft pool, the months from January through April amount to a genuine job interview. For the guys at the very top, however, the pre-draft process is no more of a job interview than the first days of free agency are.

So with the NFL taking the made-for-TV Scouting Combine workouts to prime time, it’s high time for the most significant participants in the Scouting Combine to get something more than food, lodging, a thorough poking and prodding by the assembled medical professionals, and interrogations by a bunch of teams that ask a bunch of questions aimed at trying to piss them off. It’s time for the top prospects to get paid.

The league keeps tweaking the Combine in order to maximize revenue, and the league will surely keep doing so, eventually moving the Combine to L.A. — and eventually charging good money for fans to watch the festivities from most of the 70,000-plus seats at the new L.A. stadium.

But the players will keep showing up and running, jumping, throwing, catching, lifting, turning their heads and coughing, etc. for free because they always have, and because they have no real voice in any of this. They’re not yet in the NFL Players Association (maybe they should be from the moment they become draft eligible). They have to take whatever the NFL offers.

Unless, of course, they’re willing to take a stand. Whether it’s Joe Burrow or Justin Herbert or Chase Young or any of the other top prospects now or in the future, someone needs to be the first one to say, “Sorry. I’m done performing for free. If you want me to be part of your dog-and-pony show, you’ll need to cut a check.”

And it’s not the players who should be doing this. The top agents who annually represent the top players should be the ones to come together and tell the teams that, absent compensation, the top prospects will not be participating in the Scouting Combine. Or anything else prior to the draft from which the NFL profits, including the draft.

At the college level, everyone associated with the game makes money, except for the players. From the moment the college career ends until the player’s name is called, everyone associated with the draft makes money, too, except for the players.

It will continue this way until the top prospects do something about it.

40 responses to “It’s time for top prospects to get paid for attending the Scouting Combine

  1. “and eventually charging good money for fans to watch the festivities from most of the 70,000-plus seats at the new L.A. stadium.”

    You’re dreaming if you think LA fans will fill a 70k seat stadium to watch simple player workouts

  2. I completely disagree with getting paid for this! It is a job interview, other than travel expenses you don’t get paid for interviews! I do not think they should be paid until they are employed.

  3. Makes sense. I don’t recall my employer making money off of my job interview. They didn’t even showcase my skills in action so that it could be streamed or televised and monetized.

  4. The guys who perform, are gonna see their payday. If they can’t afford a bus or car ride to Indy, and a few nights in a cheap hotel, then tough crap. They just got a free education. Not feeling sorry for them, here.

  5. Nobody has to go to the combine. If you don’t want to go for free, don’t go. It might cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars when you drop in the draft, but you’ll have your principle. Like Kap.

  6. Most top players have 4 years of game tape. What do we even need the combine for? Best thing for teams is probably the player interviews.

  7. Everyone takes the “but they are about to become millionaires” angle on these things. Yeah… if you’re part of the top 62 players taken. But there are a ton of other folks who attend and won’t become “millionaires.”

    Many of you have said “well, my job didn’t pay me for an interview.” But whether you were interviewing at Walmart or a fortune 500 company, I am sure that you can agree that something is wrong if said company profits off of your interview. I am not saying you have to agree with the idea that they should be paid, but if Walmart is permitted to take a photo of your interview and use that photo to make $100K or whatever, it is not unreasonable for the average person to say “hmm… something is not right about that”

  8. In fact, I think every participant should get a minimum stipend based on level of engagement. The top guys invited should get paid with others getting a little something, something.

    It’s more entertainment each year and to ignore the players contributions is wrong.

  9. The fanboys need to be paid too. Without them there would be no tv ratings for this contrived, made for tv garbage.

  10. I don’t know what purpose a combine performance serves, but I consider it a type of job interview.
    A bad combine will hurt you, a great combine may help.
    If you are interested then show up, otherwise stay home.

  11. This might be one of the most ridiculous ideas Ive heard of. They are all about to become millionaires in a couple months.

  12. “I have never been paid for a job interview.”

    True but I’m guessing that your job interviews didn’t run the risk of causing an injury that could end your career.

  13. Define “top prospect” . Some of these top prospects are busts at the NFL level. Who decides this? Seems most of the guys that had good college careers already don’t participate because they don’t want a sub-par 40 time or some other test to hurt their draft position. Who is responsible if one of them gets hurt? More trouble than it’s worth, do away with the combine.

  14. In the case of almost all job interviews I would agree that there shouldn’t be a monetary reward but in this case the organization is making money off of your appearance so the players should be compensated since they are what draws fans in and allows the NFL to make money on it.

  15. All expenses for anyone invited who attends. Anyone leaving a pay day behind to attend gets reimbursed. Pay for playing may be coming to college players above the table. Then player strikes will follow etc., etc.. Welcome to make America great.

  16. We all know the NFL doesn’t have the money to do this; we really can’t expect a cash strapped enterprise to pay out a couple hundred thousand, can we ?

  17. A stupid premise. What other profession to you get paid to be interviewed? None. If you do not want to show up for free and participate then live with the resulting ramifications. Except for the top few players the ramifications could be significant given the slotting of money. For the real competitor you show up and blow away your prospective employer.

  18. I don’t think they should get anything other than expenses and stipend to for food/entertainment

  19. The combine is a joke and I honestly don’t see how anyone watches it. The option you fail to mention is…just don’t go to the combine if you’re a top prospect. It can do nothing but hurt your value. If the guy does great, people will say, oh well it’s just the combine. If he does terrible it throws up red flags. Most teams are smart enough to know that game tape, leadership, and character and far more important than workouts in track gear.

  20. Many of these “poor” players already have endorsement deals so spare me all this stupid rhetoric.
    Plus, free education and zero debt.
    Not feeling sorry for the players.

  21. This is the dumbest thing I’ve read today. Nobody gets paid to show up for a job interview. Just stop. You dont have to pay the players for every little thing. What next? Pay them to breathe?

  22. Agreed, but paid by their agents. The agent is gonna get paid millions over the life of the contract if their player goes in the top 3 rounds, so the agent should foot the bill, not the league.

  23. Top prospects do get paid for attending the combine…when they are drafted and sign a contract. A lot of money has been paid out for unexpected performances from guys that get overdrafted for simply looking good in tights.

  24. PEOPLE: The Combine isn’t a normal job interview. The Network is making $$$$ millions off of showing this on TV.

    Players at the Combine ABSOLUTELY should get paid. When I interview people at work, I’m not broadcasting the interviews for money.

    Players need a cut of this revenue.

  25. How about have a dunk tank with Kaepernick on the seat? You’d get a good drill for QB accuracy, draw more fans in, and Kaep could get paid too. Win/Win/Win

  26. “kennylc2015 says:
    February 17, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    Everyone takes the “but they are about to become millionaires” angle on these things. Yeah… if you’re part of the top 62 players taken. But there are a ton of other folks who attend and won’t become “millionaires.””
    Wake up, Kenny,contracts for 7th rounders are 4 year/$2.59Mil with at least $70k signing bonus. Do well at the Combine & get yourself drafted you become A MILLIONAIRE!!

  27. Everyone has choices! I’ve never been paid to prepare for an interview or actually interview. Who would you suggest actually foot the bill for these guys to attend the combine or their pro day? Ridiculous – perform well and their day will come to cash in. If not – it’s on them

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