NFL Rookie Salaries: My Idea Of How To Fix and Manage It

Drew RappleyContributor IApril 28, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 25:  General view of Radio City Music Hall which will host the 2009 NFL Draft on April 25, 2009 in in New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

A rookie's contract in the NFL has been recently a well-debated topic. Whether I liked it or not, I knew my Detroit Lions were going to draft Matthew "Jesus the next big thing at Quarterback" Stafford and he was to inherit a extravagant amount of money. ZERO of which he earned playing in the NFL. All of it just based upon being the No. 1 draft pick.

Sure being the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft is a huge deal. It's attached with your name forever whether you're a bust like Ryan Leaf, or a Super Bowl winner like Eli Manning.

So on this past Saturday when the NFL Draft's first round took place, as I was on my way down to Ohio for my brother's lacrosse games, I was listening to the radio and this was Matthew Stafford's contract: 6 years $72 million, $41.7 million guaranteed. He could also earn up to $78 million if he achieves all his playing incentives.

That deal is more than what Albert Haynesworth signed with Washington in the offseason, which was $41 million in guaranteed money. Oh, by the way Albert Haynesworth is a proven top level player in the NFL, a two-time all-pro selection and two time pro bowler.

What the hell are you Matthew Stafford? I know there had to be some solution to fix this problem, but I'll try to come up with one and see what the feedback is. I'll break it up in two parts.


1. A Family and or Personal Benefit Deal

A lot of the potential draftees have a family, have a stable income, and have people they can rely on when it gets tough for them. Well if your Baltimore Ravens first round pick Michael Oher, your father was murdered and your mother was addicted to crack cocaine. He bounced from foster homes to various schools.

If you are Aaron Curry, you had no relationship your father and your mother struggled through hard times including being evicted from her house.

That's why the family or personal benefit deal of the contract come into play. One part of a rookie's contract would be a family or personal benefit deal. The money would come from the rookie's base salary, which is based on their draft selection. So there's your "guaranteed money" rook. Go buy yourself an iPhone and a nice car.


2. The Base Contract for a Rookie (Rookie Performance Bonus)

A rookie will have a "base contract," which is a players salary not based on performance bonus. This is the money the rookie makes and is guaranteed at a certain date at the end of the season.

If the rookie starts for his team or plays significantly, at the end of the year or during the year the GM, Coach, and Owner will decide if the rookie has earned his "performance bonus." If not, then they will earn their base salary for that year and try their luck the following season.

For example, for the "performance bonus" we will use Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan. He had an amazing season for the Falcons earning Rookie Of The Uear honors and leading them to the playoffs. So Arthur Blank, Thomas Dimitroff, and Mike Smith would unanimously agree to give Matt Ryan his performance bonus. The performance bonus money would be based on the following:

The No. 1 Pick would have a contract for seven years and $42 million. His base salary would be $6 million, some of which he could use for his personal use, or to aid his family like my Oher and Curry examples. He could also earn up to $36 million based on performance.

The rest of the top 10 picks picks two through ten contracts would be six years $30 million, $5 million of which is base salary and personal or family benefit. $25 million could also be earned for performance bonus.

Picks No. 11-20 contract would be five years, $20 million, $4 million base salary, and up to $16 million in performance bonus.

Picks No. 21-32 in the draft would be four years, $12 million, $3 million of which is their base salary, and up to $9 million dollars could be earned for their performance bonus.

Rounds 2-7 draft picks contracts would be determined by the respective teams of which they are drafted. It would be negotiated at a later time.


3. No More Holdouts: Disrespectful to Veterans and unfair

Hi Oakland Raider teammates, my name is JaMarcus Russell. I think I'm the hot shot of the world so therefore I'm not going to go to training camp to earn your respect by knowing my place, working hard on the practice field, or study my playbook because I think I'm sweet by holding out because I'm not getting the money I want because I've played in the NFL before therefore I need a huge contract!

Seriously, how unbelievable is that? I hate the idea of a "contract holdout," especially coming from a rookie who hasn't stepped onto the field with NFL players yet. What kind of message are you sending to your teammates? Not the right one.

I think this could end all the fuss about a rookie's contract. I might be a good idea tell me what you think