This needs to stop. The spiral of contract money being handed out across the NFL and in the Draft is going to threaten the long-term financial health of this league. Has the brass at NFL HQ not been watching what has happened and is still happening in America, and by extension the world?
Matthew Stafford landed a contract with Detroit that promises 41.7 million in guaranteed money - the most of any contract in the NFL. I have two major concerns with this.
The first is the sheer size of the deal. Detroit (the city) is not exactly doing well, in a macroeconomic sense. For a sports franchise to commit so much money to one player who has never played in the NFL coupled with the reality that they have to add many more pieces to be competitive is insane.
The second is the value of the top pick, and even the top five picks, a subject we discussed briefly around here. Does any team really want a top 5 pick any more? It seems so much healthier for a franchise to be in the 5-15 range. You still get a shot at great talent, you don't have to pay crazy money, and your trade options are much more fluid. Hell, we got Steven Jackson at 24.
What scares me about that second point is that it threatens one of the strengths of the NFL: parity. If the top pick (or top three picks or top 5 picks, whatever) actually hamper a team instead of help them, then the weaker teams in the NFL are, by comparison, being punished by the Draft. I hope Roger Goodell and new NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith stop this train before it crashes.