It’s a crazy notion, isn’t it? But the top prospects in this year’s NFL Draft would be smart to hope and pray that this labor stalemate continues for as long as possible. The worst-case scenario for soon-to-be-rookies would be that the players continue to gain leverage and force the league to cry uncle.
If they’re thinking about their first paychecks, a new collective bargaining agreement is a bad thing. Because if a new CBA is reached in the near future, a rookie wage scale will almost certainly cost top picks millions of dollars.
If the players are successful and the preliminary injunction issued by Judge Susan Nelson Monday is upheld in an appeals court (or if a stay isn’t granted by neither Nelson nor the appeals court) then the NFL will be forced to launch a new league year under the rules and regulations utilized in 2010.
That means no ceiling on how much rookies can make. That means guys like Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert will likely ask for upwards of $50 million guaranteed. That’s what No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford got under the 2010 system in, fittingly, 2010.
With a rookie wage scale in place, there’s a chance top picks could be locked into contracts that pay them less than $10 million in guaranteed money.
For prospects slated to be selected in the first round, another quick court victory or two from their soon-to-be-peers could end up costing them more than $50 million.
And so in an awkward and very subtle way, prospects should be pulling for the owners to regain some momentum in this messy process.