Could Pay Performance Standards Benefit the NFL?

Raider Card Addict@RaidercardadictSenior Writer IJune 17, 2010

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 21:  Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants passes the ball in the first quarter against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on December 21, 2009 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

This is one of those topics that if ever muttered in the NFL Headquarters, the person would probably be burned at the stake for his or her actions.

But likewise, after seeing players ink contracts that are not panning out or are becoming part of a revolving door for contract re-negotiations, maybe it's about time for something severe to be done.

Sure, we all love watching the draft and seeing this player sign a contract with about $20-40 million in secured money, no doubt. It's also amusing when the said player bombs with spectacular effect, leaving both team and fans wondering, "Who signed this joke? Al?"

With names like JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf as two draft examples, other forms of insanity have popped up in recent weeks. Albert Haynesworth, who profited off of a fat contract, now is whining and complaining about how the defense in Washington is going to be set up, stating that he wants out. Last seasons' CB top secret weapon burst out, made a name for himself, and is now unhappy with his situation...one Darrelle Revis.

And of course, Andre Johnson wants to be paid more...don't we all?

Don't get me wrong. If I player is making $200,000 for a good season and $2 million for a great season, fine and dandy. But whatever happened to settling down and honoring a contract at the time of signing? If you were to work for six months, do you stop at four and ask for more money?

Part of the problem that started the mess is the Christmas gift teams give first round, high-rank draft picks. These players, coming out of college without any solid way to tell if they'll be stars or not, are paid like royalty. In truth, these teams are playing a millionaires' version of roulette, hoping to make it big but with little to go on.

For example, look at the draft class in 1999. In the first round, the quarterbacks picked were Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, Akili Smith, Daunte Culpepper, and Cade McNown. Into the second round, Shaun King was picked up, and in the third round, Brock Huard.

We know how McNabb and Culpepper's careers have progressed...Culpepper is now in the UFL, and McNabb is starting over with the Washington Redskins. The other five were either painful to watch or simply never materialized.

Do you think all five of the first-rounders were deserving of high-money contracts?

One solution that has been banded around was putting down a cap on rookie draft pick salaries. Of course, agents would scream that this punishes stars who do perform well, such as Adrian Peterson. But does anyone besides Russell and his agent like when he signs a fat contract?


The other option, which would be fun to see in action, is base the player's salary off his performances. Have each team set aside a pool of money, say $5 million. Then, say in week one the player catches 10 passes, has 90 yards, and a touchdown.

Give him say, $1,000 for the touchdown, $100 per yard for $9,000, and $50 per catch.

This player just earned $10,500 his first week of playing.

Likewise, a team could dial it up if he proves his value. Obviously some statistics would be difficult to come by—how would you measure Nnamdi Asomugha's standards? Percentage of passes thrown to him?

It would be a system that would be interesting to implement...but don't bet on the Players Union approving the idea.


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