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The 4 year rookie contract- good or bad?

Discussion in 'NFL Football Forum' started by PATSNUTme, Jul 19, 2012.

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  1. PATSNUTme

    PATSNUTme Paranoid Homer Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It seems all the 1st round rookie contracts are now 4 years. Which is good in one respect given the # of 1st round bust there have been.

    I'm sure that someone here can provide the answer. Under the new CBA does this make them URFA's after the 4 year contract? Or, are they RFA's after the 4 year rookie contact expires?

    My concern is that the teams are putting a lot of $ and time into the rookies. It usually takes 4 years of experience for an NFL player to really how to play in the league if they are not busts. Even the best of players will admit that they don't know what they don't know in the first few years.
     
  2. robertweathers

    robertweathers Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Seems to me that the become UFAs after the 4yr contract is finished.

    Rookie contracts the end of RFA

    NFL - Restricted free agency on verge of extinction - ESPN
     
  3. PATSNUTme

    PATSNUTme Paranoid Homer Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Thanks for the info. I have very mixed feeling about this.

    My gut feeling is that 4 years is too short a time to allow players to be UFA's. And if you have a really good draft class, it could blow the hell out of the cap if a team wants to keep those players.
     
  4. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    That was the tradeoff for the rookie cap on contracts. The first rounders all have an option clause in their deals that allows the team to decide at the end of their 3rd season (which is also the earliest a rookie contract can now be extended unlike Gronk who was drafted in 2010 and could be extended after 2 years) whether to guarantee them the a franchise tag of sorts. The formula is a little different as it is scaled to top 10 then top 20 (or so) and it is based on those values in their third year. If exercised that player is then under contract to the team for that amount in a 5th year and the money is guaranteed.

    Some teams will do it, others won't. Will depend on how they value player after 3 seasons. It will to some extent if widely utilized drive contract talks with those players on long term extensions and FA values up. It will be 2016 before any player drafted in 2011 sees 5th year money though, and by then the cap had better have gone up...
     
  5. strngplyr

    strngplyr In the Starting Line-Up

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    The NFL hasn't wanted a team to keep ALL of their stars since they implemented the cap.
     
  6. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    All correct. The optional 5th year for 1st round picks doesn't preclude teams from subsequently using the franchise tag designation on them. So although Nate Solder's contract is nominally for 4 years, the Pats could exercise the optional for a 5th year and then use the franchise tag on him after that. And, unlike the franchise tag, there's no restriction on the number of players that a team can use the 5th year option on - the Pats could use it on both Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower, for example, if they so chose.

    As you note, it's still very unclear whether and how teams will use this. It may make sense to sign long term deals after 3 years with guys who have proven to be foundational players. But the 5th year option gives teams some control over 1st round picks simply leaving as UDFAs after 4 years.
     
  7. ahmed

    ahmed Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    What about the rookies (or second/ third years) who get paid next to nothing (NFL standards) and play like players that get paid 6-10 millions?

    You can't have your cake and eat it. If you want to pay rookies less, then you can't control them at those prices for 5-6 years.
     
  8. jason423

    jason423 Practice Squad Player

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    I actually think almost every team will do it because there is almost no negative consequence to picking up the option. The way it works is that that the top 10 salaries, as you stated, are based on the transition tag calculation in the new CBA (meaning a 5 year average and percentage of cap). The remainder of round 1 will see it calculated for number 3-25. The tag number is based on year 4 dollars rather than year 5 so it doesnt inflate (or deflate if the cap does fall for the next few years) for the year the way the other tags would.

    The reason I say most teams will pick it up is because the only guarantee that is included for year 5, initially, is an injury guarantee. Career ending injuries are so rare that its a low risk proposition to let the player play out year 4 and then decide. The skill and cap guarantee comes at the start of year 5 so picking up the option lets teams defer the real choice until that limbo period after the Super Bowl but before the new LY begins. Some guys wont get picked up (Jamarcus Russell/Vernon Gholston types) but I have a feeling everyone else will.
     
  9. MrNathanDrake

    MrNathanDrake In the Starting Line-Up

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    The only bad thing is if you draft 2 superstars in the same year, both of their contracts are up at the same time (Gronk + Hernendez)... which I why I think the Pats wanted to lock Gronk up early so they can focus on AHern later without having to deal with both at the same time.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2012
  10. fester

    fester On the Game Day Roster

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    2 things:

    1) That is a good problem to have.

    2) Two elite players from the same draft on rookie contracts will always present a timing problem especially if they are not both Top-10 picks. The old system may have had them both on 5 or 6 year contracts instead of 4 but both would be holding out and/or looking for an extension in Year 3 or Year 4 anyways. Those extensions would bump the players' compensation packages to top of the league levels anyways.
     
  11. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Good point on the tag and tag potential. Not terribly cost effective, but then neither were top tier 6 year rookie deals under the old formula. This makes it a selective choice after having 3 full years to assess your selection. Doesn't work as well for the 2nd rounders you used to be able to control for 6 years between 5 year contract and tag, but most of those guys if really worth it were chirping in year 4 like Deion anyway - who always took issue with the length of his rookie deal.

    I think the league also likes the idea that no team can drive the market by doing uber early deals heading into year 3 of rookie deals, everyone has to wait it out now.
     
  12. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Thanks Jason. I didn't bother looking up the complex details but I didn't know that the guarantee was only for injury until the 5th league year. That makes it more paletable than simply guaranteeing that level of money to a youngster two years early. If injured in the interim they've earned the protection. If their skill falters in the interim (perhaps due to lack of focus) they haven't. They still have to earn it in year 4. Cap is a little dicey, but then again that's what extensions are for managing in the alternative.
     
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