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No whining on rookie wage scale, please

8/2/2010

With Sam Bradford signed, Cliff Saunders and Bryan Burwell of 101ESPN St. Louis asked what I thought about the St. Louis Rams handing out $50 million in guarantees to an unproven rookie. Conventional wisdom says that's far too much money, the system is broken and the NFL needs a rookie wage scale to stop the insanity.

A wage scale could make sense for the first eight or 10 players drafted, but there's nothing wrong with Bradford negotiating the most lucrative deal he could command. The Rams entered into the contract willingly. There's no law requiring teams to pay NFL rookies more each season.

If the teams holding the top draft choices thought the asking prices were too high, they could wait out the players. Football is a team sport. Most rookies do not transform their teams. The vast majority of high draft choices need their teams more than the teams need the individual players.

Teams have to know this, but they still pay up because they want the players in camp.

It's tough to complain about spending $50 million in guarantees when you just agreed to spend $50 million in guarantees. (The Rams have not complained, but there's been much chatter from others lamenting how much these rookies are commanding.)