The National Football League and NFL Players Association reached agreement on a rookie wage scale on Thursday, a resolution that has put the two sides on the fast track to a new collective bargaining agreement.
We’ve known all along that rookies will be sacrificed in this CBA — revamping the rookie compensation system has always been something both sides felt needed to happen — but that doesn’t mean the first batch of rookies are going to be happy about taking between 40 and 50 percent less than players chosen in the same slot a year ago.
49ers first-round linebacker Aldon Smith, the seventh overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, tells Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that while he understands the owners’ position, he opposes the measure.
“I don’t think it’s the right thing to do, period,” Smith said of the rookie wage scale. “But if they’re going to change it, at least don’t change it in my year. That’s selfish on my part, but that’s how I see it.”
The players chosen seventh overall between 2006 and 2010 (the duration of the previous CBA) signed contracts with maximum values of between $40 and $54 million, with the guaranteed portion of the deals rising from $15 million in 2006 (Oakland Raiders safety Michael Huff) to $25.642 million in 2010 (Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden).
Contract Values, Seventh Overall Pick (2006-10)
2006 – S, Michael Huff, Oakland Raiders – 5-years, $43.2 million max. ($15 million guaranteed); Current status: Recorded 344 tackles, 5.5 quarterback sacks, and seven interceptions in 80 games (66 starts). Final year of contract voided, and will be an unrestricted free agent when the 2011 league year opens up.
2007 – RB, Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings – 5-years, $40.2 million max. ($17.03 million guaranteed); Current status: Four-time Pro Bowler has rushed for 5,782 yards with 52 touchdowns. Peterson’s 2011 base salary escalated to $10.72 million, and he is scheduled to be a free agent in 2012.
2008 – DT, Sedrick Ellis, New Orleans Saints – 5-years, $49 million max. ($19.5 million guaranteed); Current status: Has 108 tackles and 12 quarterback sacks in 39 games. Had a career-high six quarterback sacks in 2010, and will earn $3.782 million in base salary in 2011. Signed through 2012.
2009 – WR, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oakland Raiders – 5-years, $54 million max. ($23.5 million guaranteed); Current status: Has 35 receptions for 490 yards and two touchdowns in 26 games. Will earn $1 million in base salary in 2011, and is signed through 2013.
2010 – CB, Joe Haden, Cleveland Browns – 5-years, $50.206 million max. ($25.642 million guaranteed); Current status: Started seven of 16 games as a rookie, totaling 64 tackles, one quarterback sack and led the Browns and all NFL rookies with six interceptions and 18 passes defensed. Signed through 2014 and will receive $7.48 million in total compensation in 2011, including $2.558 million in fully guaranteed base salary.