Tuesday, April 28, 2009


The 2009 NFL Draft has now come and gone, but there is one thing that disheartens me. That thing is the amount of money that is given to a player that has not even stepped on an NFL surface.

Now granted, I have nothing against Matthew Stafford, the number one pick who went to the Detroit Lions in the 2009 NFL Draft, but let's be real for a minute. He is going to get paid $72 million over six years, or basically $12 million a year, and $41.7 million of that will be in a guaranteed signing bonus. Are you serious?

According to The Redzone, Stafford's $12 million a year average is more than the 2008 salaries of: Peyton Manning ($11.5 million), Eli Manning ($10 million), Kurt Warner ($8 million), and Tom Brady ($8 million). The significance of those four quarterbacks? They not only won the Super Bowl, but all were Super Bowl MVPs!

Granted, NFL contracts are back-loaded, or basically the salary increases throughout the life of a contract, and Stafford won't get $12 million each year, however the signing bonus is split evenly, and he's looking at nearly a $7 million bonus (minus incentives) each year, which falls under Alex Smith and Drew Brees, who both made $8 million due to their bonuses.

Here's another thing, 2004's number one pick, Eli Manning, had a rookie deal worth $54 million over six years with $20 million guaranteed. 1999's number one, Tim Couch, received $48 million over seven years with $12.25 million in signing bonuses. Troy Aikman went number one in 1989, and the Cowboys gave him $11.2 million over six years with a signing bonus around $2 million.

How do you think the NFL should solve this? Maybe adopting a rookie salary cap much like the NBA has could be a good idea.

The NBA allocates an amount or a scale for each pick, calls for their rookies to sign a two-year deal, and the team has an option to pick up for the third and fourth years, and then the player is free to sign a major deal after that fourth year. If the NFL can adopt that, the big contracts will be given to their rightful owners...the one's who have performed on the field.

However, until then, one can only hope that Stafford's deal will not be a bad investment for the Lions much like seven years ago with Joey Harrington, or even Smith or Couch, who floundered in the NFL. Hopefully it is a good investment, much like Eli Manning's or Peyton's rookie deal ($48 million over six years, $11.6 million guaranteed).

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