Rookies, what have you earned lately?

Dennis Towle Jr.Contributor IOctober 2, 2009

SANTA CLARA, CA - MAY 01:  Michael Crabtree #15 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on during practice as quaterback Alex Smith #11 practices during the 49ers Minicamp at their training facilities on May 1, 2009 in Santa Clara, California. Crabtree was the 49ers first round draft pick.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

You know what?  It's a damn game people!  It's entertainment, people!  So why are we paying these “athletes” so much money to entertain us?  Their salaries go up every year… does yours?  Some of us have the same wage as 3 years ago, do you think any “athlete” would sit still for that kind of nonsense?

I'd love it if the sports entertainment world would mirror the real world – how refreshing would that be.  But, that's not the case, nor will it ever be.  

You take that Michael Crabtree character for instance.  This young man thinks that he should get paid a huge amount of dollars for an unknown commodity – himself.  Jim Brown said an athlete's career is measured by the way he plays, not the contract he signs.  But, I think that Mr. Crabtree thinks it’s the other way around.  

San Francisco is offering a 5-year deal to Mr. Crabtree with $16 million guaranteed… a guaranteed $16 million and he hasn't even played a down in the NFL.  There are myriads of NFL Hall of Famers who never made just the signing bonus, let alone the contract money they are offering.  Mr. Crabtree hasn't proved that he is any better than any of those guys, so why, before he sets his pinky toe on the field, would you pay him that ridiculous amount of cash?

And here's the kicker… he thinks that he's worth more than that!  Are you loony, man?  Apparently he and his agent don't think so.  So, their plan is to sit out this year, and then reenter the NFL Draft next year.  Their banking that he will still be a top ten pick.  

Okay Mr. Crabtree, did you stop to consider a few minor details on this grand scheme of yours?

First, what are you going to do for money for the next year?  Are you going to leach off of the family?  I'm sure that they are looking forward to that.  

Second, what makes you think that out of the 32 NFL teams, that anyone is going to want the prima donna attitude and melodrama that going to come with signing you. You're like Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, and Chad Ochocinco’s psyches all rolled into one.  

Third, you've already priced yourself off of 20 or so NFL teams.  Of the remaining dozen or less, maybe 3 or 4 NFL teams may want to take a chance and could “afford” you.  The question is: When it comes to draft time next year, how long do you think that those NFL teams will wait before finally selecting you?  Don't count on being in that top ten… they may let you drop just to bring the price down!

But you already knew that, right?  A smart guy like you must have contingency plans already made… so what, pray tell, might they be?  Endorsements?  I don't think that Nike or Gatorade is gonna want an athlete that's done nothing, and you ain't old, so Wrangler isn't going to come knocking.  I guess that leaves male enhancement or baldness products in your immediate future. Good luck with that!

Yet, there are so many Mr. Crabtrees.  They all think that they are worth more than the next guy.  

When the NFL and the Player's Union sit down to hammer out the next Collective Bargaining Agreement, how about putting in a rookie salary cap?  Structure it however you want, but the top limit should never be more than a vested veteran makes… those players have proven themselves and “earned” that money.  Rookies, what have you earned lately?