NFL Rookie Cap?

This was dscussed on Mike and Mike this morning… thought it would generate some decent discussion.

Would it do the NFL good to have a rookie “salary cap”, along the lines of the NBA? Guys sign an initial deal, knowing that it is worth $X amount based on their draft position, then in 3 years or so they are able to “get what they can get” in their next contract based on their performance.

Here are a couple thoughts I had initially:
– Seems like it would end this hold out crap that always happens in the NFL. (Heck, most of their money is guaranteed anyway, whereas their actual yearly salary is not - and is beans compared to the overall deal)

– The long term money/next contract would be more performance merited - rather than signing a guy for 7 years for 49mil with a ton of it in a signing bonus/guaranteed, then finding out in year 2 or 3 that he is a bust and couldn’t really play at Independence. (that in no way suggests that I think Indy is paying their players).

– Would have to be a “restricted free agent” situation in the renewal year, i.e the original team can match all offers to retain the player. But what does that do to the overall salary cap? (Which I think is a good thing)

– Would it cause more - or fewer - early defections to the NFL? Doesn’t seem to prevent in the NBA, but you don’t typically have all that many leaving for the NFL early (because of the maturity factor I believe)… if Junior knows that he would only make $X when he gets to the NFL, would that ecourage him to go ahead and leave early to “get his while the getting is good”? Or stick around for his senior year and help the team win out?

– Would it work because the average NFL career is somehting like 3.3 years, whereas the NBA avg career is much longer (I presume that to be the case as far as the NBA is concerned - someone feel free to provide info)

Feel free to discuss…

I would think that the NFLPA would never go for it. Based on the length of the career and the chances of a major injury in the first few years I think that would fight it.

With that said I think it would be great and would free up money for established stars that right now gets funneled to unproven rookies. That is the only way the NFLPA could possibly go along with it. I do think the rooking pay scale would have to be pretty high for their buy in.

I do think it would be good for the game.

It will never happen. Makes way too much sense. Also, the NFL still has pipe dreams that teams can keep players for 7 years, whereas in the NBA after that rookie contract a lot of people try to cash in, and if the team won’t pony up the dough the player moves on. The NFL has enough player movement as it is.

The only way the NFLPA would ratify something like that is if the NFL owners agreed to guarantee or at least partially guarantee all contracts, meaning, you couldn’t just cut someone like you can now.

That would be an interesting debate. Very.

Another potential drawback is that this could give legs to a possible start-up league that Mark Cuban was talking about starting. If the start-up league offered unlimited rookie salaries … Ok nevermind, no one can ever challenge the NFL.