Despite what will be loud protestations from super agents, the next NFL collective bargaining agreement will have a rookie wage system to it. That means this year's first overall pick, QB Cam Newton, will not see a deal in the same ballpark as what the St. Louis Rams paid last year's top pick, Sam Bradford, with $50 million in guaranteed money. Bradford's contract will likely stand as a record for NFL rookies, one of the many records he's sure to hold when it's all said and done.
According to this report from USA Today, the rookie system could limit the length of first-round picks' contract to four-years for players other than quarterbacks. That would give those players a shot a rich free agent pay day rather than a giant rookie deal. Players picked in the other rounds of the draft would be limited to three-year deals which would subject them to restricted free agency at the end of their contracts.
Another provision being whispered about is the elimination of cap tricks like option bonuses. Bradford is due an option bonus of $18 million this year.
What does the new system potentially mean for the Rams' first-round pick, North Carolina DE Robert Quinn? That's a bit of an unknown. Last year's 14th overall pick, Seattle S Earl Thomas, got a five-year deal worth $21.1 million with $12.32 million guaranteed. The one thing that is clear is that the Rams will lose one year of Quinn under his rookie contract.