As the NFL owners are meeting this week in sunny Palm Beach, Florida(for fans of my blog who live in the Northeast...I am enjoying the weather: it is 80 degrees and sunny), I think they should start thinking about junking the current salary system.
I agree with Mike Florio of Profootballtalk.com. Florio thinks the current system in place for high draft picks is ludicrous. At this time, a team must commit at least $30 million dollars guaranteed to a top five draft pick. I think this is ridiculous too. A future player who has not played a down in the NFL is going to receive $30 million dollars! I think the NFL should implement a rookie wage scale. Furthermore, I think this would help teams who are foundering. They do not have to commit a ton of money to a potential player and focus on using money on current players or free agents.
I would take this a step further.
With a looming work stoppage in 2010, instead of thinking about changing the rules for a players' length of hair, I think the owners need to focus on creating a salary system which rewards players for their performance on the field and not on potential.
If I had the microphone at a meeting today, I would suggest the following:
1. Keep the salary cap system in place. I would require a ceiling and a floor. A team cannot go over the cap and a team has to spend their money above a "floor" number.
2. Come up with a revenue sharing program which will help all teams. In the next few years, Dallas and the Giants and Jets will have new stadiums. These stadiums will replace the older stadiums because they will have more luxury boxes. With more luxury boxes, a team will collect much more revenue than a team in a smaller market.
Teams like Dallas will have more money to spend. I think by sharing revenue will help keep the league viable. I do not want the Buffalo Bills or any other small market team be forced to move. Although there is sharing of the television money, there is no sharing of luxury box money.
According to a Washington Post article, some owners such as Steelers' owner Dan Rooney fear the following: What extra cash can do is enable teams to spend their way around the restraints of the salary cap -- at least over the short term -- by restructuring players' contracts by putting cash in the players' pockets in the form of one-time bonuses in exchange for lowering their immediate salary impact against the cap. There is a saying in the league that "cash solves cap," and the NFL's salary cap is a soft ceiling that can be exceeded. I share the same fear as Rooney.
With baseball starting up for the 2008 season, I think only a handful of teams can win the World Series. I think baseball is in †financial shambles. I would not want the NFL becoming like the MLB. With the NFL, next year, there are more than a handful of teams which can win the Super Bowl. I can only hope the NFL owners can come to an agreement in this area.
3. I would suggest putting more money into the NFL retired players fund. Over the past year, former players Mike Ditka and Kyle Turley have been very vocal about the current system. They feel more money and energy needs to be addressed to take care of former players.
4. Current players under contract can receive performance and team incentive bonuses at the end of the season. Let us take, Giants defensive end Osi Umeniyora as an example. According to New York Daily News writer Ralph Vacchiano, although under contract until 2012, Osi through a source may consider holding out of training camp for more money. Umeniyora signed a extension in 2005. Although he has received guaranteed money, I think Osi like other players in the NFL should be rewarded each year if they play at a high level and meet required benchmarks. I would suggest the following using Osi's situation as an example:
1. Individually-Use the following as criteria- games played, tackles, sacks. Where did he rank with the rest of the defensive ends in the league?
2. Team- Use the following as criteria- ranking of total defense in NFL, yards allowed rushing and passing, team sacks.
I know this is crude and can be reshaped. I would want to create good will amongst the owners and players. With the current system, I think the owners have the upper hand, they can cut or release a player and are not required to pay them the remainder of their salary. In the NFL, a player only receives guaranteed money.
Hopefully, by implementing a new player compensation system, this would limit the amount of player hold outs, revamp the rookie salary structure,and dissolve the bellicose franchise tagging.