Is limiting rookie salaries already coming back to bite vets

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  • I've noticed something recently: in the past, when a star player became available, he could command an outrageous contract as someone was always willing to overpay for him. Now, star after star are finding out there's no market for them. They can't command the salary they think they're worth. The reason for this change, it seems to me, is that rookie salaries are no longer outrageous. I always understood how vets felt about rookies getting paid big bucks when they hadn't done a thing. But now, when a vet who's proven himself comes along, teams find it harder to justify paying a big salary to them when they can take a chance on a rookie for a pittance. The new trend is to build with youth. cheap labor. Since a huge cheap labor pool now exists in the NFL where before it did not, players are finding it harder to get paid large salaries. The only guys who end up getting big paydays are either guys being retained by their team because they're crucial, or guys who fill a crucial niche at a time when there are lots of teams in need and few truly good options.

    I think, in short, that capping rookie salaries is going to lower vet salaries overall in the long run.
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  • Thus far, it seems to be benefitting quarterbacks the most.

    I've actually thought about this a fair deal over the past several months. I'm not sure if it's what you say, or if it's merely that teams are getting burned too often by huge FA signings and are learning from that. The timing is coincidental, but I think it's more the latter than the former. GMs and scouts see Arizona pissing away a ton of money on Kolb, the Eagles with Nnamdi, the Bills not getting equivalent/expected production from Mario, etc.
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  • I think it's position dependent. Some roles will still be valued and get big time vet contracts. You might not see as many 30+ guys cash in on big deals though. There is the 24-25 year old vet that can get a pretty big payday, but getting 2 or even 3 big paydays is a thing of the past IMO. Front office guys are getting smarter and following the successful models.
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  • RolandDeschain wrote:Thus far, it seems to be benefitting quarterbacks the most.

    I've actually thought about this a fair deal over the past several months. I'm not sure if it's what you say, or if it's merely that teams are getting burned too often by huge FA signings and are learning from that. The timing is coincidental, but I think it's more the latter than the former. GMs and scouts see Arizona pissing away a ton of money on Kolb, the Eagles with Nnamdi, the Bills not getting equivalent/expected production from Mario, etc.


    Here's the thing though: Teams have been doing that for decades. Why are they suddenly now learning from that? I don't think the timing is coincidental. I think that the situation has changed. Before, to get that elite guy, you either paid big bucks in FA or you paid big bucks on an unknown risk in the draft. Now, teams can take a risk in the draft so they have options. Before, it was pay the guy big bucks or pay an unknown rookie big bucks and take your chances.
    It's driving down salaries having a cheap labor pool.
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  • Mike Wallace would disagree.

    I think QB salary is affecting the market the most. That and the new philosophy of build through the dracft. Its not new but seems more popular.
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  • Another factor not to be overlooked is the fact that the salary cap didn't actually increase very much. This was one reason they gave for Avril wanting a 2 year deal. There is supposed to be a larger bump in the salary cap at that time due to television contracts. Once teams have more money under the cap, they'll spend a little more freely and salaries will rise again.
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  • It also depends on the draft. If there are great WRs available that have speed, great route running and good hands then the contract value offered in FA market will go down significantly.

    If you have a hole and no way to fill it in the draft then FA value will go up

    The difference I see is the drastic swings now of guys expecting $10-$15 million signing for $10million or much less

    A few other quick thoughts

    As kidhawk notes the cap is relatively flat this year and the next few years. This is a major reason why the money is drying up. Teams have signed large long term contracts that used to be funded in part by future increases in the cap. Those increases are no longer there so suddenly you can't sign new players

    Stars are the winners of the new CBA. Their salaries have gone up. The middle players are losers. Why pay $10 million for a "3 star guy" when you think a "2 star" guy with potential to be a "3 star" can be had in the draft for $3 million / year.........
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  • Yeah, I hope the salary cap will increase a fair amount. It seems that a lot of teams are crunched and limited on what they can afford.
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  • SalishHawkFan wrote:
    RolandDeschain wrote:Thus far, it seems to be benefitting quarterbacks the most.

    I've actually thought about this a fair deal over the past several months. I'm not sure if it's what you say, or if it's merely that teams are getting burned too often by huge FA signings and are learning from that. The timing is coincidental, but I think it's more the latter than the former. GMs and scouts see Arizona pissing away a ton of money on Kolb, the Eagles with Nnamdi, the Bills not getting equivalent/expected production from Mario, etc.


    Here's the thing though: Teams have been doing that for decades. Why are they suddenly now learning from that? I don't think the timing is coincidental. I think that the situation has changed. Before, to get that elite guy, you either paid big bucks in FA or you paid big bucks on an unknown risk in the draft. Now, teams can take a risk in the draft so they have options. Before, it was pay the guy big bucks or pay an unknown rookie big bucks and take your chances.
    It's driving down salaries having a cheap labor pool.


    Actually it's more a case of the rookie salary cap giving teams room and leverage to resign their own guys, you'll find a lot more with players now that there won't actually be that many top-flight guys who hit the market. When they do, they'll still get paid (Mike Wallace, Mario Williams, Vincent Jackson, Peyton Manning etc).

    Do you not think it speaks volumes when we picked up two of the "top 5" free agents in Bennett and Avril, yet neither are among the top 10 at their position (arguably, of course)
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  • themunn wrote:
    SalishHawkFan wrote:
    RolandDeschain wrote:Thus far, it seems to be benefitting quarterbacks the most.

    I've actually thought about this a fair deal over the past several months. I'm not sure if it's what you say, or if it's merely that teams are getting burned too often by huge FA signings and are learning from that. The timing is coincidental, but I think it's more the latter than the former. GMs and scouts see Arizona pissing away a ton of money on Kolb, the Eagles with Nnamdi, the Bills not getting equivalent/expected production from Mario, etc.


    Here's the thing though: Teams have been doing that for decades. Why are they suddenly now learning from that? I don't think the timing is coincidental. I think that the situation has changed. Before, to get that elite guy, you either paid big bucks in FA or you paid big bucks on an unknown risk in the draft. Now, teams can take a risk in the draft so they have options. Before, it was pay the guy big bucks or pay an unknown rookie big bucks and take your chances.
    It's driving down salaries having a cheap labor pool.


    Actually it's more a case of the rookie salary cap giving teams room and leverage to resign their own guys, you'll find a lot more with players now that there won't actually be that many top-flight guys who hit the market. When they do, they'll still get paid (Mike Wallace, Mario Williams, Vincent Jackson, Peyton Manning etc).

    Do you not think it speaks volumes when we picked up two of the "top 5" free agents in Bennett and Avril, yet neither are among the top 10 at their position (arguably, of course)


    I think this post is spot on. Do you expect to see players like Okung, Thomas, Wilson, Sherman hit the free agent market? They're still going to get paid out of the pool the rookies aren't taking, but it'll be on this team.
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  • I don't think it's biting more then balanceing, the vets had an arguement before about unproven rookies and even a midlevel player was getting huge money because he showed he could play. Now I think there will be more scaling and it will get more refined as a couple years pass. the 4 million a year for the 3rd on a depth chart years are probably gone as a WR and a Nickle corner. The thing to watch for is how ownership tries to wrangle the extra cap money in roll over spending as to make it look good but be cheap like the Bengals have always been.
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  • chris98251 wrote:The thing to watch for is how ownership tries to wrangle the extra cap money in roll over spending as to make it look good but be cheap like the Bengals have always been.


    Part of the CBA says that each franchise must begin (I forget the start date for it) to spend a certain percentage in actual dollars each year. This is not "cap dollars" but actual spent dollars over a fiscal year. I believe after accounting, if a team is under the amount, there is a fine, based on that amount and it is doled out in some fashion.


    I just looked it up and here is the link to the CBA and I pasted in the relevant section for team spending. If you go to the link you can also find information about league wide spending and anything else you want to know about the CBA

    Section 9. Minimum Team Cash Spending:
    (a) For each of the following four-League Year periods, 2013–2016 and
    2017–2020, there shall be a guaranteed Minimum Team Cash Spending of 89% of the
    Salary Caps for such periods (e.g., if the Salary Caps for the 2013–16 and 2017–2020 are
    $100, 120, 130, and 150 million, respectively, each Club shall have a Minimum Team
    Cash Spending for that period of $445 million (89% of $500 million))
    (b) Any shortfall in the Minimum Team Cash Spending at the end of a
    League Year in which it is applicable (i.e., the 2016 and 2020 League Years) shall be paid,
    on or before the next September 15, by the Team having such shortfall, directly to the
    players who were on such a Team’s roster at any time during the applicable seasons,
    pursuant to the reasonable allocation instructions of the NFLPA.85
    (c) Nothing contained herein shall preclude a Team from having Cash
    Spending in excess of the Minimum Team Cash Spending, provided that the Team complies with the accounting rules of the Salary Cap set forth in Article 13.
    (d) If the NFL agrees, or a final judgment or award is entered by the System
    Arbitrator, that a Team has failed by the end of an applicable League Year to make the
    payments required to satisfy a Team’s obligations to pay the Minimum Team Cash
    Spending required by this Agreement, then, in the event the Team fails promptly to
    comply with such agreement, judgment or award, the NFL shall make such payment on
    behalf of that Team (such funds to be paid as salary directly to the players on such Team
    at the direction of and pursuant to the reasonable allocations of the NFLPA).


    http://nfllabor.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/collective-bargaining-agreement-2011-2020.pdf
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  • I think it is probably affecting the top tier contracts. Not so sure about the mid to low level contracts.
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  • Been poking around in Spotrac as this got me curious about the difference between the last year of the massive rookie salaries and now.

    Trent Williams has the third highest average contract for an OT at 10m/yr. Which is higher than the franchise tag for OTs.

    Matt Kalil, same draft position, 2 years later, has an average salary of less than half that.

    As they are both UFA in 2016, be interesting to compare their new contracts then.

    I've also just discovered the Trent Williams and Russell Okung are 1st and 3rd, respectively, in guaranteed money, with 2nd and 4th places both being on 8yr contracts.
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  • Each team can only afford a few premium deals, and the top QBs are taking up more and more of the available space. There's just going to be high quality vets who are underpaid. In a few years when RW is making $20+M/yr we're not going to be able to afford a TE with a cap slot of $11M. Our roster will begin to look a lot different.
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  • Hawkstorian wrote:Each team can only afford a few premium deals, and the top QBs are taking up more and more of the available space. There's just going to be high quality vets who are underpaid. In a few years when RW is making $20+M/yr we're not going to be able to afford a TE with a cap slot of $11M. Our roster will begin to look a lot different.


    The Seahawks are already combatting this by becoming a desired location. Eventually, the market for high quality vets will be equal across the league, so players will go to the franchises known for treating their players right. Trust, facilities, program atmosphere, and reputation will soon matter even more. Seattle's brilliantly laying the foundation down in those aspects. Which is why, they'll pretty much always rule the West as long as Allen's here and York, Bidwell and dude whom owns the Rams are around.

    The Bengals are REALLY screwed. They dont even try to coerce FA's from outside, there's no point. They sign their own Stockholm-ed players, exclusively.
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  • If teams don't want to spend money, they probably won't be competitive. Contrary to what many seem to be implying, this current free agent class is actually much stronger than what you normally see most years. Remember when guys like TJ Houshmandzadeh and Kris Dielman were headliners?

    If anything, the rookie payscale helps veterans because teams are still spending the money- but now they are spending less of it (as a percentage of their cap) on rookies which means they have more to spend on veterans.
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  • pehawk wrote:The Bengals are REALLY screwed. They dont even try to coerce FA's from outside, there's no point. They sign their own Stockholm-ed players, exclusively.


    LMAO - never seen it used that way - very nice
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  • Seems to me like the middle guys are the only ones getting squeezed right now. The top guys are still getting top money, although it's not going up like it has been because of the flat cap, and the new rookie scale locks those guys in at inexpensive rates till they've proven theirselves worthy of the big money, so the place you have to cut money now to stay under the cap is in the middle. But it's a shared burden, teams don't have to worry about losing their mid level players because nobody really has the money to pay all those guys, so they're getting cut or becoming free agents and resigned for less and less.
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  • I agree, but think there are 2 other factors coming into play here.

    1. The quantity of quality NFL ready rookies is increasing. It seems there are many more players coming out of college that able to play well at the NFL level than in the past and growing every year. I think this has a lot to do w/ the recruiting/coaching improving at the college level helping to narrow that gap in quality between the NFL and college.

    2. The amount of access to information and video on college players is becoming enormous. If you consider how many hours of video on most all prospects is available to us joe blows on the couch these days, then the pro scouts must have 10x that making the job of identifying/studying thes prospects much easier.

    Being able to see and identify all this great talent coming out of college improves team's gambling odds on investing in the "youngsters" for cheap compared to paying the big bills for the "proven" vets.
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