Mr. Goodell, Tear Down These Rookie Contracts

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Mr. Goodell, Tear Down These Rookie Contracts
(Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

TO: Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner

FROM: Daniel Price, NFL fan

Dear Sir,

After three years at the University of Georgia, Matthew Stafford will be the No. 1 pick in the 2009 NFL draft today, April 25, 2009.

If he turns into Ben Roethlisberger and (somehow) leads the Detroit Lions to a Super Bowl or two while making every Pro Bowl, he could earn as much as $78 million over the next six years.

If he turns into Ryan Leaf, verbally abuses the media, and throws more interceptions than completions, he still will rack up $41.7 million.

Do you see a problem with this? In today's economy, any team spending that much money on a yet-to-be proven quarterback is ludicrous—especially when that team plays at FORD Field in DETROIT.

Remember the recession? The fizzling American auto industry? Apparently your League doesn't.

Now, you have done a lot of things right, including cleaning up the NFL's faltering image with your iron-fist style of discipline.

But before you perform any other duties, including this whole Super Bowl-to-London idea or meeting with a soon-to-be-free Michael Vick, do something about the ridiculous amounts of money being thrown at 20-, 21-, and 22-year-old kids.

This is one of (many) areas where the NBA has the NFL's number.

There is no negotiation for drafted rookies. The pay scale is set well in advance, and if the kids want to play in the NBA, they (and their agents) have to take what David Stern says they will take.

I'm not completely stupid, though. I do realize top NBA rookies are still making mad bank.

Rookie contracts, which can't exceed four years—something else you should look into—still pay the top picks very well.

But the $4 million the Bulls' 2008 No. 1 pick Derrick Rose earned in his rookie season still puts him more than $10 million per year outside of the NBA's top 30 salaries.

The same cannot be said about JaMarcus Russell or Jake Long, nor will it be said about Stafford.

So, Roger—you, like Junior Bevill in Cool Runnings—have pride! You have power! You are a bad*** mother who don't take no crap off of nobody!

So do what your League needs you to do, what your country needs you to do. Get these rookie contracts under control.

Then you can worry about moving America's game to London.

But when you start doing that, I'll be back.

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