Rookie salaries will be relevant for Pats

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has had a few platforms, as the CBA inches closer to expiration, that he’s stood firm on.

The implementation of some sort of rookie salary scale has been one. And he reiterated his stance yesterday at the rookie symposium in Carlsbad, Calif., speaking with NFL.com’s Vic Carucci.

“I think a new rookie compensation system is critical,” Goodell told Carucci. “I think it’s
important that we have a system that is designed to reward players who
succeed on the NFL field. And when a player is paid a lot of money and
doesn’t make it in the NFL, and that money leaves the system, that’s
not good for anybody. So I think we need to reward performance on the
field.”

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We mentioned that Eric Winston also spoke out against the current system this morning. But in the end, it would be silly for the union to just hand that over when they can use the rookie salary system as a bargaining chip.

You can bet the Patriots will be watching, because it could have a serious impact on how they look at the 2011 first-round pick they got from Oakland in the Richard Seymour deal.


A few factors are at work here.

First, if the Raiders show enough fight to become mediocre, or better than that, in 2010, things change. If you look at how rookies are paid, really only the Top 8 or so are out of this world (If B.J. Raji becomes what the Packers think he’ll be, you think they’ll regret giving him $5-6 million a year?). So if Oakland plays well enough for the pick to rise out of the top quarter of the first round (like some believe the Raiders will), then the Patriots will certainly be less effected by what happens in this facet of CBA talks.

Also, there’s the idea that a new rookie salary scale, in any scenario, wouldn’t go into effect until 2012. Word was out there last year, in an effort to keep a mass exodus of underclassmen from happening, that that would be the case. And on top of that, a potential lockout wouldn’t happen until after the draft, so there’s a chance that you’d be selecting college kids without knowing how the CBA talks, in this particular regard, were going to work out.

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Anyway, the way this ends should have a major impact on whether the Patriots decide to keep the pick or deal it, if it is, indeed, near the top of the draft. It’s something that’s on the players’ minds, and something that is one of the union’s leverage points, so it’s worth keeping an eye on.

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