Have you ever gone shopping, or looked around for something, and instead stumbled upon an item totally unrelated to what you were looking for in the first place (and ended up buying it)???
Well, that's kind of what happened to me not too long ago. I was looking at various trade down possibilities the Rams could consider with the #22 pick. Also, in my never ending quest to fully understand the salary cap and its implications, I was referencing particular sections of the 2011 NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement.
If all of this isn't enough to contemplate, I've been trying to figure out the upcoming draft and the impact this quarterback class will have on it. To be honest, I'm confused and perplexed by it all. Carson Palmer, Kevin Kolb and Matt Flynn have found new teams. Is the 2013 quarterback class that weak? How many QB's will get drafted in the first round this year? One? Two? Four? None? How many teams are still looking for a QB? How many will consider the options available early in this draft (Ryan Nassib, Geno Smith, Mike Glennon, Matt Barkley)? Are there teams who will wait until the second round to select one? Will a team trade back up into the first round for a QB?
Here are the parts of the new CBA I stumbled upon that got me thinking about the QB's in this years draft, the #22 pick and trade down possibilities:
(e) Fifth-Year Option for First Ten Selections in Round One. (i) For a Drafted Rookie selected with one of the first ten overall picks in the Draft, the Paragraph 5 Salary for the player's Fifth-Year Option shall equal the Transition Tender that applies in the League Year that is the fourth year of the Rookie's Contract (as calculated pursuant to Article 1 0, Section 4) for players at the same position (using the categories in Article 1 0, Section 7(a)) at which the Rookie participated in the most plays during his third League Year. No other Salary (other than the minimum offseason workout per diem and compensation for community relations/sponsor appearances or promotional activities (subject to the maximum amounts permitted in Section 3(b) (iv) above)) is permitted for the Fifth-Year Option
(f) Fifth-Year Option for All Other Selections in Round One. For any other Drafted Rookie selected in round one, the Paragraph 5 Salary for the player's Fifth-Year Option shall equal an amount that would apply in the fourth League Year of the Rookie Contract if one calculated the Transition Tender for that League Year by using the same methodology as set forth in Article 10, Section 4, but using the applicable third through twenty-fifth highest Salaries (as "Salary" is defined in Article 1 0) (as opposed to the ten highest Salaries) for players at the position at which the Rookie participated in the most plays during his third League Year. No other Salary (other than the minimum offseason workout per diem and compensation for community relations/sponsor appearances or promotional activities (subject to the maximum amounts permitted in Section 3 (bwv) above)) is permitted for the Fifth-Year Option. (i) The entire Paragraph 5 Salary for the Fifth-Year Option shall be guaranteed for injury-related termination only, effective upon the Club's exercise of the Option. The entire Paragraph 5 Salary for the Fifth-Year Option shall be guaranteed for skill, injury, and Salary Cap-related termination if the player is on his Club's roster at the start of the player's fifth League Year i.e., the option year) .
Reading and trying to understand the CBA, for me, is the equivalent of trying to figure out what the 18 pages of my automobile insurance contract actually means. In one word: daunting. Nevertheless, I will attempt to lend what little insight I can into the CBA as it applies here (just don't ask me to explain my auto insurance):
1. All basic rookie contracts are for four years.
2. With first round picks, NFL teams can exercise an option to extend the rookie contract to five years in duration.
3. If the draft selection is in the first ten picks, the fifth year salary is the average of the top ten paid players at his position.
4. If the draft selection is in the remaining 22 picks of the first round, the fifth year salary is the average of the 3'rd through the 25th highest paid players at the position.
5. There is no provision for fifth year options for players drafted in the second round or later.
6. Quarterbacks are the highest paid position in the NFL and are franchise/transition tendered as such.
The bottom line: The mechanisms set out in the CBA for rookie contracts make it very attractive for teams to trade up into the latter part of the first round to secure a quarterback they like, irrespective of whether that quarterback may be available in the second round. The fifth year option is very cost efficient, and can save a team many millions in cap space in the process. This option is also very team-friendly with respect to salary guarantees.
Do the rookie contract provisions in the CBA make the Rams #22 pick more valuable? Will teams be looking to trade up for a QB in the first round to take advantage of these provisions? Will teams be willing to pay a premium (in draft picks) to trade up into the first round? Should the Rams consider trading the #22 pick out of the first round, especially if they can get premium value for the trade? I guess it is time for me to finally figure out how my auto insurance works!
Please vote in the poll and share your thoughts regarding the impact this years quarterback class could have on the Rams draft plans. Your comments and opinions are always welcomed and appreciated.