With the 75th annual draft in the books, there are going to be a lot of very wealthy rookies out there, some of whom will garner considerably larger contracts than their veteran teammates.
The question is, will this be the last season that we see rookies command such large salaries? The new CBA, whenever it is established, is likely to have a structure to regulate rookie salaries, which up to now have continued to grow without any sort of ceiling.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke about this issue Saturday and had some pretty strong words on the matter.
“I love Sam Bradford, and I hope he’s great, but he probably made somewhere between $40 and $45 million the night before last,” said Goodell, speaking to a group of select fans who won a random lottery to ask the commissioner questions. “He has not even hit the field yet and that’s a guaranteed contract. So if Sam Bradford can’t play, what good does that do any other NFL player? As much as I like these young rookies, and I do think they’re terrific, it’s crazy to give someone who hasn’t proven themselves on the NFL field $45 million.
“I think over these three days, we will give $600 million in guaranteed money to these rookies that you’re hearing their names. $600 million. And if let’s just say half of them don’t make it and the money is equivalent to this, that’s $300 million out the door. It doesn’t go to veterans, it doesn’t go to owners. It goes to somebody who couldn’t play the game. That’s wasting money.”