There were multiple different issues that stalled the new collective bargaining agreement from being put in place last March. However, one of the few things that both sides wanted was a rookie wage scale. The owners hated giving out anywhere up to $50 million to a top draft pick, while the veteran players hated seeing these unproven rookies coming in and earning millions more than them.
Last year, we got a glimpse of how the rookie wage scale worked, but it was overshadowed by the lockout being over and everyone desperately wanted to get back to football. But this year, we've really started to see the full effects of the rookie wage scale come in to play. Back around the time of the draft, I wrote a piece about how it's impacting the number of trades at the top of the draft. A few weeks on and we can see how it has paved the way for draft picks to get signed much earlier than usual. Mark Maske of the Washington Post tweeted out a few very interesting nuggets
Through Monday, 124 players drafted in April had signed contracts with their teams.— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) May 17, 2012
More after the jump.
Two years ago, 13 draft picks had signed deals by the end of May.— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) May 17, 2012
According to NFL, there were five draft-pick signings through the end of May in 2005, two in '06, 25 in '07, eight in '08 and 12 in '09.— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) May 17, 2012
Clearly then, the NFL and the NFLPA did get at least one thing right in this new CBA. This benefits everyone involved; owners pay less money, teams aren't as heavily invested should the prospect bust, and players get to camp and get coached up earlier in preparation for week one.
Gone then, are the days of the six-year $68 million, including $31.5 million guaranteed deals to the JaMarcus Russell's of the world. Count this one as a win for the NFL in general.