How NFL Owners Save a Penny Here, a Billion There...

 Like the rest of us in the current economy, the NFL team owners are looking for ways to save a buck. They came up with an idea: "Why not pay a few people less money. In fact, let's start with the young players... We'll save them from the perils of sudden abject wealth. Their parents will thank us... Maybe the whole world will thank us? We may even get one of those Nobel Prizes for helping the football playing youth of America dream in smaller $$$ numbers... Plus, "CBA" will look great on a t-shirt... Is it great to be us or what!"

 I've thought for a long time the rookie contracts were just the other side of absurd. The Russells and Leafs of the draft have shown me that and more. The more being that the owners actually thought it was smart to pay those ludicrous dollars to unproven college players. I laughed when the new CBA included a rookie pay scale. The NFL owners had to put it in a contract that a player couldn't ask for too much money and a team couldn't bend to the will of an agent no matter how much they wanted...

 Agents must be witches. They cast spells over what would appear competent business men to make them think paying jillions of dollars to their clients made sense. The counter spell? Boolah - Boolah - CBA - Boolah and a wave of their Goodell wand... Poof! It was like Voldimort suddenly became a street vendor instead of an agent for the dark side. Agents rolled over faster than a Willy's Jeep. In fact, it is fair to state the need for an agent to negotiate a 1st round draft pick's contract may actually be no longer necessary. While an agent may be needed to find endorsement deals, agents may very well have lost a good deal of their money stream... Wait for it... Nope, I don't hear any fans crying. I mean, it's not like Rosenthal action figures were all that big at Christmas time anyway. Sports agents aren't ever going to garner sympathy. If Dickens had pressed a few orphaned agents noses against a steamy window it would have somehow lacked any literary emotion, though food scraps may have been thrown in their general direction...

 Have a look at what this year's rookie 1st round crop will make versus 2010. I applied relative math, meaning a straight division for an average 4 year contract amount. The actual contracts often have varying or escalating yearly payments, but for the purposes of comparison, my way should serve.

 The Top 10 of the rookie crop of 2010 had a combined 4 year payroll of $391.8 million. Their 2011 breatheren? $149.6 million... So in the first year of the new CBA, the owners have saved a whopping $242.2 million!!! Over the course of the new 10 year CBA - $2.4 billion and that's just on the Top 10 draftees. The $2.4 billion almost doubles with the rest of the first round picks included.

 So the lockout's first CBA benefit for the owners is a savings of close to $5 billion over ten years on the draft alone.

 

 2011 First round payroll (Lists courtesy of NFL.com)

 

1. Cam Newton QB Carolina Signed Four years, $22M guaranteed
2. Von Miller LB Denver Signed Four years, $21M guaranteed
3. Marcell Dareus DT Buffalo Signed Four years, $20.4M guaranteed
4. A.J. Green WR Cincinnati Signed Four years, $19.6M
5. Patrick Peterson CB Arizona Signed Four years, terms undisclosed
6. Julio Jones WR Atlanta Signed Four years, $16.2M guaranteed
7. Aldon Smith DE San Francisco Signed Four years, $14.3M
8. Jake Locker QB Tennessee Agreed to terms Four years, $12M
9. Tyron Smith OT Dallas Signed Four years, $12.5M guaranteed
10. Blaine Gabbert QB Jacksonville Signed Four years, $12M guaranteed
11. J.J. Watt DE Houston Signed Undisclosed terms
12. Christian Ponder QB Minnesota Signed Undisclosed terms
13. Nick Fairley DT Detroit Signed Four years, $10M guaranteed
14. Robert Quinn DE St. Louis Signed Four years, terms undisclosed
15. Mike Pouncey C Miami Signed Undisclosed terms
16. Ryan Kerrigan DE Washington Agreed to terms Undisclosed terms
17. Nate Solder OT New England Unsigned
18. Corey Liuget DT San Diego Unsigned
19. Prince Amukamara CB N.Y. Giants Unsigned
20. Adrian Clayborn DE Tampa Bay Signed Four years, $8.2M
21. Phil Taylor DT Cleveland Unsigned
22. Anthony Castonzo OT Indianapolis Unsigned
23. Danny Watkins G Philadelphia Signed Four years, terms undisclosed
24. Cameron Jordan DE New Orleans Unsigned
25. James Carpenter OT Seattle Agreed to terms Undisclosed terms
26. Jonathan Baldwin WR Kansas City Signed Four years, terms undisclosed
27. Jimmy Smith CB Baltimore Signed Four years, $7.46M guaranteed
28. Mark Ingram RB New Orleans Signed Undisclosed terms
29. Gabe Carimi OT Chicago Agreed to terms Terms undisclosed
30. Muhammad Wilkerson DT N.Y. Jets Signed Four years, terms undisclosed
31. Cam Heyward DT Pittsburgh Agreed to terms Undisclosed terms
32. Derek Sherrod OT Green Bay Signed Undisclosed terms
The contract statuses of all 32 first-round picks in the 2010 NFL Draft:
Pk Player Pos. Team Status Contract
1. Sam Bradford QB St. Louis Signed Six years, $78 million ($50M guaranteed)
2. Ndamukong Suh DT Detroit Signed Five years, $68 million ($40M guaranteed)
3. Gerald McCoy DT Tampa Bay Signed Five years, $63 million ($35M guaranteed)
4. Trent Williams OT Washington Signed Six years, $60 million ($36.75M guaranteed)
5. Eric Berry SS Kansas City Signed Six years, $60 million ($34M guaranteed)
6. Russell Okung OT Seattle Signed Six years, $46.5 million ($29.5M guaranteed)
7. Joe Haden CB Cleveland Signed Five years, $50M million ($26M guaranteed)
8. Rolando McClain LB Oakland Signed Five years, $40 million ($23M guaranteed)
9. C.J. Spiller RB Buffalo Signed Five years, $37 million ($20.8M guaranteed)
10. Tyson Alualu DE Jacksonville Signed Five years, $28 million ($17.5M guaranteed)
11. Anthony Davis OT San Francisco Signed Five years, $26.5 million ($16M guaranteed)
12. Ryan Mathews RB San Diego Signed Five years, $25.65 million ($15M guaranteed)
13. Brandon Graham DE Philadelphia Signed Five years, $22 million ($14M guaranteed)
14. Earl Thomas SS Seattle Signed Five years, $21.1 million ($12.32M guaranteed)
15. Jason Pierre-Paul DE N.Y. Giants Signed Five years, $20.05 million ($11.629M guaranteed)
16. Derrick Morgan DE Tennessee Signed Five years (financial terms undisclosed)
17. Mike Iupati G San Francisco Signed Five years, $18.25 million ($10.8M guaranteed)
18. Maurkice Pouncey C Pittsburgh Signed Five years (financial terms undisclosed)
19. Sean Witherspoon LB Atlanta Signed Five years, $17.5 million ($10.5M guaranteed)
20. Kareem Jackson CB Houston Signed Five years, $16.3 million ($13.35M guaranteed)
21. Jermaine Gresham TE Cincinnati Signed Five years $15.8 million ($9.6M guaranteed)
22. Demaryius Thomas WR Denver Signed Five years, $15.5 million ($9.35M guaranteed)
23. Bryan Bulaga OT Green Bay Signed Five yeras, $14.75 million ($8.76M guaranteed)
24. Dez Bryant WR Dallas Signed Five years, $11.8 million ($8.3M guaranteed)
25. Tim Tebow QB Denver Signed Five years, $11.25 million ($8.7M guaranteed)
26. Dan Williams DT Arizona Signed Five years, $13.2 million ($8M guaranteed)
27. Devin McCourty CB New England Signed Five years, $13.2 million ($7.825M guaranteed)
28. Jared Odrick DT Miami Signed Five years, $13.07 million ($7.13M guaranteed)
29. Kyle Wilson CB N.Y. Jets Signed Five years, $13 million ($7M guaranteed)
30. Jahvid Best RB Detroit Signed Five years, $12.7 million ($7.1M guaranteed)
31. Jerry Hughes DE Indianapolis Signed Five years, $12.67 million ($7M guaranteed)
32. Patrick Robinson CB New Orleans Signed Five years, $12.25 million ($7M guaranteed)

 "Contract figures compiled by NFL Network insiders Jason La Canfora and Michael Lombardi, NFL.com senior writer Steve Wyche, and other reported sources."

 

 The fact that the CBA has lowered pay for players isn't all that upsetting to me. Players are still being paid millions to play football. They may have to buys a Porsche instead of a Bentley or struggle through life with five bathrooms instead of ten in their water front shacks.

 Free agency will give the NFL owners a Karmic backlash. They will have to manage shortened contract terms and become better gauges of a players useful life. The past tells me they will screw this up in a huge way. The new four year free agency plan will play hell with team accountants and coaches alike.

 Whether or not this "New NFL Order" will help large market teams is still up in the air. Every team will have to deal with the fact that taking more than four years to build, let alone maintain a winning team, will not only be the biggest challenge, but is the new reality of the NFL.

 Whatever happens, the NFL owners would appear to have scored big with the new CBA. It all comes down to how much of the lower rookie salaries actually translates into money in the pockets of owners. Hopefully this windfall of savings is being spread out among players, both past and present, and the NFL owners. Only time will tell...

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