NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called rookie contracts "ridiculous" the other day, and I couldn't agree with him more.
"There's something wrong about the system," Goodell said Friday. "The money should go to people who perform."
Goodell was reacting largely to the $57.75 million contract No. 1 pick Jake Long, an offensive tackle from Michigan, signed with the Miami Dolphins.
"He doesn't have to play a down in the NFL and he already has his money," Goodell said during a question-and-answer period at the end of a weeklong sports symposium at the Chautauqua Institution. "Now, with the economics where they are, the consequences if you don't evaluate that player, you can lose a significant amount of money.
"And that money is not going to players that are performing. It's going to a player that never makes it in the NFL. And I think that's ridiculous."
Goodell hinted that he will push for a change when he opens labor negotiations in the fall, and I would think that would be a welcome one.
Nothing against Long, or any rookie, but I agree with Goodell that players should earn their big payday on an NFL field before they get it. Not get paid before they have earned.
The NBA has a salary scale for rookies. Major League Baseball does not, but it does have a 'slotting system' where the commissioner's office issues recommendations for how much each draft position should be paid.
A rookie salary scale makes sense in the NFL. Financially, it gives the money to those who have already earned it. Also, it would get rookies to camp on time and end some of the ridiculous holdouts by guys who need to be on the field.