Sports

How the NFL and the Players Union Screw Draft Picks Out of Millions

During the draft, they can't even endorse snacks that the league hasn't approved.

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When the National Football League drafts its next crop of players this weekend, those draftees will have to be careful about what's showing on their in-home camera. Don't drink anything but Pepsi products, don't snack on anything but Frito-Lay brands, and don't do any video interviews using Apple AirPods. And definitely don't try to make a few bucks by hawking a motor oil other than Castrol or a mattress company other than Sleep Number. The league has threatened to keep any player off-camera if an NFL sponsor's competitor would otherwise be onscreen.

It's just one of the ways NFL rules keep young players from realizing their true market value, thanks to the league's take-it-or-leave-it system.

Consider the path of Trevor Lawrence, the Clemson quarterback who's likely to be the first overall draft pick. In his freshman year, Lawrence led Clemson to an undefeated championship season. If he wasn't good enough then to enter the NFL draft, he certainly was after his second season, where his team suffered only one loss and Lawrence came seventh in the Heisman Trophy vote.

But Lawrence couldn't enter the draft until after his third collegiate season, because the NFL won't allow players to enter the draft until three years after they've left high school. Lawrence probably wouldn't have been the number one pick if he'd entered the draft sooner, but he still would have been earning millions of dollars in the NFL instead of playing for virtually nothing at Clemson, where NCAA rules barred him even from signing endorsement deals. The rule doesn't just hurt stars like Lawrence: Even an unknown player who just wanted to provide for his family couldn't try to get a low-salary job playing in the NFL.

In most other sports, players have alternatives to the NCAA, with developmental leagues in the U.S. and the option to play abroad. The NBA, for example, has the G League. Football players could try to make some money in the Canadian Football League before getting signed by an NFL team, but crossover between the sports is rare and CFL salaries are a fraction of the NFL's. Realistically, NFL draftees are limited to sticking it out for three years in college, a situation the NCAA surely isn't complaining about.

Even if he was drafted in an earlier year, Lawrence couldn't have negotiated for a higher salary—since 2011, under the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the National Football League Players Association, each draft pick has a set salary and a length of four years. (Teams have an option to extend the contracts for first-round picks to five years.) In 2009 and 2010, the first overall draft picks were able to negotiate deals worth more than $70 million over six years. The new structure limited 2011's number one pick, Cam Newton, to just $22 million over four years.

Barring injury, Lawrence will probably play in the NFL for a long time. But most NFL players aren't Tom Bradys playing well into their 40s. Their average age of retirement (from football, at least) is 27.6, and 78 percent of players go broke within three years of retirement. The average player's career lasts just 2.5 years—though for better players who make the opening-day roster in their rookie season, the NFL says their careers average six years.

So under the salary strictures organized by the union and the NFL, a player who doesn't last more than four years will never have the chance to negotiate for a better salary. What's more, the contracts are not guaranteed for their whole length, so if a player is cut from the roster after two seasons, he doesn't get paid the full value of the deal. Running backs have some of the shortest careers in the NFL. Even though they have one of the most important positions, they spend most of their prime years getting paid nothing in college or an amount dictated by the draft pick salary structure.

Draft picks do have some room to negotiate for signing bonuses or performance incentives, but each team has a limit on how much they can spend on rookie contracts. Unlike other players, draft picks don't have the leverage of a holdout. The salary structure gives them nothing to hold out for, and rules prevent them from renegotiating their contracts if they do hold out.

Of course, the players are doing what they love for a living and making a ton of money while they do it. (The league's minimum salary is $660,000.) They know the physical risks of getting tackled or tackling others for a living. And the NFL is a private employer that can set its own compensation rules.

But it says a lot about the players union that it organized a deal that can't keep its former members from going broke after retirement. Players on the union's Board of Player Representatives are generally not in the early stages of their four-year deal, so there's little incentive for them to get rid of the salary rules. The older players with most of the union power are making sure they get a bigger piece of the NFL salary pie, the size of which is limited by the league's salary cap. While the 2020 collective bargaining agreement did adopt some minor changes to this system, the worst parts are set to remain through 2030: the minimum age requirement that keeps able-bodied players from getting paid in the league, the preset salary structure for draftees, and the minimum length of those contracts.

Meanwhile, don't drink or eat anything other than Pepsi and Frito-Lay products during the draft.

NEXT: No, Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Will Not Turn the Florida Keys Into Jurassic Park

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  1. TV entertainment for self-propelled stomachs. If you leap up out of the barcalounger to gesticulate a first down when “your” team gets one, you may be beyond help. Good luck.

    1. Making money online more than 15$ just by doing simple work from home. I have received $18376 last month. Its an jsx easy and simple job to do and its earnings A are much better than regular office job and even a little child can do this and earns money. Everybody must try this job by just use the info
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    2. The people getting screwed are the consumers. The league is a monopoly of ownership. The players union is a monopoly of labor. They are both colluding to extract every last nickel from us fans. Why don’t fans have a union and a seat at the negotiating table?

      1. You’ve got one; don’t watch.

        1. One individual vs 2 monopolies that are colluding with each other.

          That seems like a fair fight.

          1. Gee, maybe you should whine until they give you a lot of votes.

            1. Has about the same effect.
              As long as it’s advertisers dollars that are paying them, not mine, I don’t expect them to pay much attention to what I’d like. so all the ads are for beer, boner pills, and trucks. Joke’s on them…I don’t like beer, don’t need boner pills and already have a truck. This means the commercial breaks can be used for their original purpose, hitting the kitchen for a snack and maybe a pee break.

        2. I don’t. I haven’t for some time. Stopped watching MLB, too. Never did watch NBA. Also stopped donating money to my alma mater to be able to buy football tickets, so that I’m not “exploiting” any student athletes. So much more free time now that I’m spending virtually no time on all these whiners (and still feeling a bit sad for the hard-working nose-to-grindstone kids who will never see NFL millions, but for whom the world is about to change once name/image/likeness starts showering a tiny fraction of better players with dollars and the non-starters will be screwed).

          1. My original U didn’t have a strong track record of success in football (30 consecutive losing seasons), and they decided to cut down on drinking in the student sections at home games by charging students to get in. By the end of the season, there was no drinking in the student sections because they were empty, and the next year students were admitted for free again. The highlight of the football game was the marching band’s creative halftime show… they had to come up with some spectacular stunts to make up for the stinky football action. One game, they had members parachute into the stadium, playing all the way in. Almost made up for watching a wishbone offense with no really good halfbacks.
            Never paid full price to sit in the good seats across the field from the student sections, even when they eventually got good, until my own kid went there and joined the marching band.

      2. In every other country for every other team sport, they do. It’s called a governing body for the sport. Composed of fans, players, club owners (meaning both owners of individual teams and owners of sports facilities/clubs that host multiple teams in different sports), cities that own municipal stadiums, etc. In Germany, that means 7 million members for their soccer governing body. That entity sets the rules of the sport, how a ‘national’ team will be created if there is Olympic/international competition, and determines the general structure of how leagues form up, schedule games, etc.

        There is nothing unconstitutional about that same thing in the US. Every state has those sports in schools (called ‘youth leagues’ in other countries and other sports and not controlled by govt schools either). Constitution requires that if states want to cooperate, Congress must charter that agreement via an interstate compact. In this case the cooperation is where states would have those younger athletes compete and schedule games everywhere and not just their state.

        1. The closest model to that in the US is the USGA (golf). But of course team sports are quite a bit different in how they need to train, be financed, set schedules for competition, etc

        2. Yep, there oughta be a law! Not surprising.

  2. If the NFL isn’t being fair to them, maybe they should take their communications degrees and get paid what they’re worth.

    1. Communications is too hard for them. Alot of them are jounolism majors

      1. Basket Weaving or Grievance Studies.

    2. Or maybe form a new football league that will take 18-year-old players.

      1. Or just go down to the playground and organize a pickup game, the way frisbee football used to work.

  3. When discussing the NFL who else cheers for CTE?

    1. I would love it if the NFL went out of business.

    2. “When discussing the NFL who else cheers for CTE?”

      The MMA dudes.

  4. your local True Value Hardware Store is always hiring.

  5. Players bending the knee wearing pink and beating their girlfriends, all while taking money from woke corporations whose products are bad for you anyway.

    No thanks. There’s other stuff to do in life.

    1. Enjoy your revival meetings, ‘rasslin matches, NASCAR races, rattlesnake-juggling exhibitions, fishing tournaments, and did I mention revival meetings and ‘rasslin matches?

      1. big·ot
        /ˈbiɡət/

        noun
        noun: bigot; plural noun: bigots

        a person who is obstinately or unreasonably attached to a belief, opinion, or faction, especially one who is prejudiced against or antagonistic toward a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular group.

        1. Fits both of you.

      2. https://www.elle.com/culture/movies-tv/a36031455/how-becky-lynch-became-the-man/

        The director Werner Herzog once declared in an interview, “Sometimes, just to see the world I live in, I watch WrestleMania.” Sitting up in the stands that night, though, I didn’t know what I was looking at. I’d thought of pro-wrestling as a low-brow soap opera for men that could be dismissed as silly if it wasn’t for the violence, misogyny, and racism. I’d also assumed it appealed mostly to working class white men, and since this was a group that tended to support Donald Trump, I figured the same was true of WWE fans. So I’d been confused when I heard about Lynch, who was widely expected to win.

        About eight months earlier, as a floundering mid-level player, she’d begun to demand, angrily, the recognition she claimed to deserve. In the moral universe of pro-wrestling, this would normally mark the moment a wrestler went from a hero, known as a babyface, to a villain, or heel. In Lynch’s case, it transformed her into one of the WWE’s biggest stars (and its biggest merchandise seller). Lynch’s moniker? “The Man.” She was the “top dog, gender be damned,” she said. If the same people who found Hillary Clinton repellant could embrace Lynch, what did this mean about where women stood in America? Or was this just a ploy by the WWE to gain female viewers?

        Since then, through a pandemic, a presidential election that contained the brutality of a grudge match, and an attempted coup that meme-makers immediately overdubbed with WWE audio, I’ve come to understand that many of the assumptions I brought with me that night were misguided. But of all the unlikely occurrences of the past months, at least one, for me, has been that as my sense of the world disassembled, it was Lynch’s story, and pro-wrestling in general, that helped me reassemble it.

        1. WWE was selling a story line. Lynch would get steam-rolled by a similarly trained male wrestler if they weren’t trying to sell her.

          Herzog was seeing exactly what the WWE wanted him to see. It was not some kind of transformative moment.

        2. Wrestlemania is for people who want to watch big, sweaty men rolling around on the floor together.

      3. Did I point out that you’re as assholish bigot?

        1. Were you pointing to a mirror when you typed that?

  6. also, Genesis announced a US tour this fall. always go see Genesis live those dudes blow it up.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/music/2021/04/29/genesis-tour-2021-band-returns-us-after-14-years/4887468001/

    1. Only if undocumented immigrant Illegal Alien is on the setlist!

      1. they do a couple of 20:00 medleys and usually include some bars of Illegal Alien. also they play their best shows in Philly it’s their U.S. hometown

    2. Patrick Bateman approves.

      1. One of the very few movies better than the book.

        I wouldn’t mind seeing Huey Lewis tour either, though it’s hard to say whether I’d cringe more at the band, or the audience. It was funny, seeing Leonard Cohen on his last tour, that the line for the men’s room was moving just as slowly as the women’s. Genesis’ll likely be the same.

        Old age just robs you of your dignity.

        1. So the old men will be Biden their time until a urinal becomes available?

        2. https://www.sfweekly.com/music/a-very-special-concert/

          Whatever the reason — the catchy tunes, the goofball charisma, or maybe those slapstick videos — developmentally disabled people see something significant and tender in Huey Lewis. He makes them happy.

          Yes I would see them too. Found this article funny when it was written.

          In before ignorant jeff/sarcasmic joke.

        3. I really liked ‘Hip to be the Sandman’.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MRx4LpYbQ4

    3. Wow. I had thought I remembered reading that either Rutherford or Banks had died.

      Now to find a close concert site, since they aren’t coming to Texas.

    4. Of course this depends on all indoor restrictions being lifted by fall, something I see as extraordinarily unlikely.

      1. Get your shots

  7. Yet none of them are libertarians. They don’t want to fight for themselves, they want their unions to negotiate more concessions. And they contribute to woke politicians to dictate our worth. So yeah, hard to feel much sympathy.

    1. It’s a team sport.

  8. Unions protecting incumbents from competition from newbies is news? My solution? Start your own league and charge what the market will pay. Red Grange did it.

  9. I understand that having a free for all with no cap like soccer would be better for the players and I believe it is the right thing to do…

    But the reason the NFL is as entertaining as it is is because of the current cap rules. So selfishly I want to keep the current hard cap.

    Now they just need to move the PAT back to the 2 or get rid of it all together. Moving it back was the dumbest change ever. I hate it when a non football player cost a team a game by missing a PAT.

    1. asshole flag

      1. Noted that you are an asshole.

    2. The best thing the NFL could do is put the Mormons in charge.

      1. In charge of what, halftime?

    3. The NFL (and all pro sports) should abolish the draft. It rewards bad play. It encourages teams to lose on purpose (tank) to get the best young players. It leads to Cleveland getting the first pick every other year, turning someone who may have been a star elsewhere into a trivia question answer. It leads to Chicago drafting the wrong QB every year. It’s not good for competition, or for the fans.

      Whenever a normal student finishes college and is ready for their career, they can interview wherever they want and negotiate for whatever they can get someone to pay. They can go work in the best city, or for the best company, or at the place where they will get the most experience the soonest, or for the best management team. Football players should have the same options.

      And it would be better for the league and the fans too. Consistently bad teams would fold, not get a boost from talented rookies with no other choice. Fans love dynasty teams, to root for or to root against. Billionaire owners could get into bidding wars, moving sad sack teams to cities that will support them better and building better stadiums and sports channels on their own dime to pay for the extra expenses.

      1. Turns out fans like it when “their” team has a chance to have a winning season. If you punish the fans for liking teams that are poorly managed, you will quickly run out of fans outside a few core areas. and, don’t forget, the league makes money by having games. If you cripple the poorer teams from getting good players, you wind up with only a couple of teams left, and it’s tough to build a schedule out of 3 or 4 teams. By giving the Clevelands and the NYJets a chance to get good again, you make it possible for Pittsburgh to sell tickets for games between the Steelers and the Browns. Picking a winner out of the NFC East lets you have a full slate of playoff games, but does leave one of them late to the drafting table. It’s a tradeoff.

        1. Yeah, nobody wants to watch a league where only a couple of teams have a chance.

          My kids’ little league baseball is like that. All the best players somehow end up on the same team year after year. So maybe 6 of the top 10 players in the league are all on one team. Fun for them. But there is no competition, no drama.

          Of course, NCAA football would like a word. There are only 4 or 5 teams that have a chance to win the championship… And they have been the same teams for more than a decade. And really, we are only talking about Alabama and Clemson. There Is a second tier of contenders that are competitive most years.. Ohio State, LSU.. but not really anyone beyond that.

          1. Pac-12 football has more competition for their league championship, and back when their champion played the Big-10 champion in the Rose Bowl, they were competitive in those games, too.

            In contrast, for most of the history of the American League, the Yankees had more revenue than any other team, and were allowed to (over)pay whatever they liked to the players, so (surprise!) the really good players played out their first contract with the first team to sign them, then signed a staggeringly huge deal with the Yanks.
            In contrast, in the NFL most revenue sources for the teams are shared with the league. So even before they put in a salary cap, the teams were on a more-equal footing.

    4. “Now they just need to move the PAT back to the 2 or get rid of it all together.”

      Yeah, allowing teams to fake the kick and go for 2, or attempt to go for two after muffing the snap was better than straight out telling the other guys you were going for the 2-pt conversion.

  10. This is most profesional sports in the US. We are the only country that doesn’t have a legitimate independent sports governing body. We are the only country that doesn’t separate team ownership from league ownership. And while only MLB has a formal anti-trust exemption – both the NFL and NBA use the NCAA as their peon farm.

    That is why Germany can have hundreds of thousands of soccer teams who have a ‘chance’ of winning it all as the best soccer team in Germany even if only 1000 or so teams are professionals. While the NFL has 32. That is what monopolies do and professional sports in the US are monopolies

    1. First, no, none of them are monopolies, but your confusion is to be expected.
      And it seems that every attempt to present an alternative to the NFL gets zero ratings.
      Perhaps the market has spoken and you’re left with your whine and cheese.

    2. Bayern München ist die Bundesliga

    3. We also have the world’s top leagues for gridiron football, hockey, baseball and basketball. Every sport that’s broadly popular in our culture, we have the single league that all top players around the entire rest of the world aspire to play in.

      Seems like things are working out fine.

      1. I suppose things are working out just fine.

        A monopoly means our professional sports are going to be almost impossible to expand around the world and because of the hugely limited opportunities to play, those sports are not going to attract the best ATHLETES from around the world. Only the ‘top players’ who chose to specialize early in that sport and who are willing to give it all up when/if the limited opportunity doesn’t pan out for them. Even basketball – the one sport that for decades had a governing body (basically the YMCA which invented the sport) not controlled by the professional league – attracts athletes/players overseas because of the Olympics competition not because of the NBA.

        Because those leagues are based on activity as spectator rather than participant, the corollary is that our professional sports culture in the US actually encourages obesity and couch potatoism rather than health and fitness. Very perverse but it also helps explain why participation in sports/athletics drops like a rock once people leave school here. After that point all opportunites for athletes to be professional drop to near zero.

        1. “…Because those leagues are based on activity as spectator rather than participant, the corollary is that our professional sports culture in the US actually encourages obesity and couch potatoism rather than health and fitness. Very perverse but it also helps explain why participation in sports/athletics drops like a rock once people leave school here. After that point all opportunites for athletes to be professional drop to near zero…”

          You must spend half your life coming up with steaming piles of shit like this.

          1. A heapin’ helpin’ o’ ignorance is bliss is J. How can a guy know so little about so many topics. Must be hard work being that stupid.

      2. ” Every sport that’s broadly popular in our culture, we have the single league that all top players around the entire rest of the world aspire to play in.”

        Auto Racing. Formula One.

    4. “That is why Germany can have hundreds of thousands of soccer teams who have a ‘chance’ of winning it all as the best soccer team in Germany even if only 1000 or so teams are professionals. While the NFL has 32. That is what monopolies do and professional sports in the US are monopolies”

      It seems unlikely that ANY of the NFL’s 32 teams has a chance of winning it all as the best football team in Germany.

      1. The odds are similar for US MLS teams. Although the top women’s teams in the US probably outmatch foreign women’s teams (in football, basketball, hockey, and maybe a couple of others, too.)

  11. [quote]In 2009 and 2010, the first overall draft picks were able to negotiate deals worth more than $70 million over six years. The new structure limited 2011’s number one pick, Cam Newton, to just $22 million over four years.[/quote]

    JaMarcus Russel got 6 years and $68 million after being the top pick in 2007, and he was released after only 3 miserable seasons with the Raiders. Never played another snap in the NFL. His contract was the impetus for the changes to the rookie pay scale.

    1. It wasn’t just his contract, but yea. Every year a QB was set to become 1st pick overall, that rookie’s contract would have to be a record for the position. Was ridiculous.

      1. It’s a self-correcting problem though. Teams that overpay for unproven QBs lose to those that don’t.

        1. You have to remember that football teams are businesses and success for them is measured in dollars. If overpaying the hotshot college kid puts butts in seats, then it’s a good move.

  12. It’s not like there haven’t been attempts to produce an alternate football league. The USFL, World League, XFL, AAF, XFL again and probably a few others.

    You have to blame the fans for not supporting the other attempts (though in St. Louis, we did apparently sell almost 40,000 tickets to the last XFL game)

    1. Ka-kaw! Go Battlehawks!

      NFL can suck it. So can the players.

      1. Just because they don’t want to stay in St. Louis when given the alternative of Arizona?

    2. XFL was awesome.
      Sigh… another covid death

    3. And the “Pro Football” Hall of Fame still excludes Herschel Walker, the greatest running back of all time, because he piled up his first few years of stats in the USFL. If it’s really “Pro Football” and not “NFL” Hall of Fame, he’d have been in long ago.

      1. “And the “Pro Football” Hall of Fame still excludes Herschel Walker, the greatest running back of all time”

        Mr. Walker is only the greatest running back of all time if you choose to ignore the running backs who were better. Mr. Walker’s claim to fame is that he built the 3 Super Bowl-winning teams in Dallas by being traded away from Dallas. That allowed some carries for Emmitt Smith, who turned out to be pretty good, himself. Then there was that guy up in Detroit who just walked away from the game at the peak of his ability. And Chicago had a pretty good running back for a while, too.

  13. Can they show an American flag in the background?

    1. If they can get copyright clearance.

  14. “How the NFL and the Players Union Screw Draft Picks Out of Millions
    During the draft, they can’t even endorse snacks that the league hasn’t approved.”

    So the NFL is providing the platform, and you’re griping that those thereby getting exposure can’t use that free platform to advertise brands competing with the outfit providing the platform?
    Lemme guess: THERE OUGHTA BE A LAW!!!!, right?

  15. Lol. NFL controls product placement on nfl broadcasts.

    No shit.

  16. I can’t remember the last NFL/NBA game I have watched including the Super Bowl. On the other hand I do acknowledge the athletes in both leagues are the best in the world. This is why second rate leagues like the CFL fail to attract eyeballs and the ad revenue ads generate.

    I would also note that the NCAA and the CFB are the only game in town for college athletes. But this is more due to colleges selling their images than the athletes that play for them. Sure there are a few college athletes that could make the big bucks; but there are also literally tens of thousands that would be hard pressed to make a penny.

    Another issue for colleges to deal with is the current laws that require equal results for males and females. Last I saw less than half of the college men’s football teams paid their expenses, less than a quarter of men’s basketball teams. There were less than ten women’s sports programs that paid their own way. Yet colleges are required to give an equal number of scholarships to men and women. While in theory this seems like a good idea it gets totally distorted when one, or at most two, sports subsidize all the other sports. Clearly a star QB on a national champion men’s football team generates more revenue than a pinch hitter on a run of the mill pinch hitter on a ladies’ softball team yet they both get the same scholarship, food allowance, book allowance (including a notebook computer) and all other compensation.

    I am reminded of the old lawyers axiom ‘hard cases make bad law’.

    1. ” Their average age of retirement (from football, at least) is 27.6, and 78 percent of players go broke within three years of retirement.” The average lifetime earning for an NFL player is $3 million dollars. The reason they go broke is because they’re bad with money, don’t understand taxes, and make poor life choices. I got into sales right after college and did well but I hadn’t made $3 mill by age 28. I wasn’t broke in three years but I did odd things like paid my taxes, bought within my budget, and didn’t knock up a bunch of girls.

      1. I question the “going broke” stat
        I have a friend who played for the Vikings for a couple years, never made more than the minimum. He’s doing just fine. Another guy I’ve met was the same with the Cowboys, bought his mom a house, and lives comfortably. I’ve met and talked with maybe a dozen others of varying levels of success and career lengths (and post career careers) and they all were doing good.
        So of the former players I’ve known or encountered, 0 of them went broke.
        It happens, but I think they’re playing with language here.

        1. “It happens, but I think they’re playing with language here.”

          As I understand it, when Walsh ran the 9ers, he hired a finance guy to address the new players, and he was familiar with the cost of dope.
          A bit of tough love, but he managed to get at least some to avoid blowing all their money up their noses.
          I think that’s common now in the league, so that ‘stat’ may be out of date.

        2. “So of the former players I’ve known or encountered, 0 of them went broke.
          It happens, but I think they’re playing with language here.”

          The language you’re playing with is “generalizing from an inadequate sample size”.
          The same thing can happen with people who win big lottery prizes. They suddenly have a lot more money than they ever had before, and develop bad spending habits. Eventually, the money runs out, but they still have the bad habits.

    2. “I would also note that the NCAA and the CFB are the only game in town for college athletes.”

      Depends on where you happen to be standing. Some schools are known for other sports. The University of Oregon is known for track and field, and Utah for women’s gymnastics (to pick two from the Pac-12). UCLA used to be known for men’s basketball, but less so nowadays, some of the top prospects evade their grasp nowadays.

    3. ” This is why second rate leagues like the CFL fail to attract eyeballs and the ad revenue ads generate.”

      The CFL fails to attract eyeballs because there aren’t enough of them in all of Canada to interest American corporations. Plus there aren’t enough teams, and the ones they do have are located in places American fans have never heard of, with odd nicknames. American cable television has, in recent years, discovered that they CAN make money televising European football, despite having these same problems (the where? and who? questions from American fans) Professional soccer just doesn’t have a history of making money here in the States, despite the number of children being driven around the suburbs by their parents looking for games to keep them busy on weekends.

  17. So a mega billions company basically has contractual obligations for the people it makes able to make mega millions, and I’m supposed to be pissed as a libertarian?

    When did fucking commies take over here?

    1. Awhile ago. Where have you been? I would not be the least surprised if there was an article from Boehm, Sullum, or Suderman titled ‘The Libertarian Case for Authoritarian Marxism’.

      1. Funny you should ask. I quit reading for quite a while when that purple-haired Yale chick took the editorship, and just recently started again. When the unnatural hair colors come in, I generally consider it writing on the wall, I guess I’m just sad to it looks at least semi-permanent.

  18. The problems you seek here aren’t problems.
    If you’d wanted to use the NFL as a reference point for *libertarian*/free-market ideology, a perfect situation presented itself a couple years ago (of course, you’d have to actually be a fan to have been familiar with it – and I don’t think that’s something one would find among the soys of Reason staff): Lev Bell’s holdout w/the Steelers.
    Bell wanted a big contract after his rookie deal.
    The Steelers didn’t want to give him as big a contract as he wanted.
    So Bell’s contract expired after 4 seasons. But each team can “franchise tag” one player per year. This locks that player into a 1 year deal with a very high, and fully guaranteed, salary. The Steelers franchises Bell and he played his 5th year on it, but said he wouldn’t do it again (teams can tag the same player up to 3 times, with the salary significantly increasing each time). So Bell says he’s not going to play, but the media assumes it’s just bluster and he’ll cave. But training camp starts, pre-season starts, and still no Bell. He ends up sitting out the whole year.
    This was an interesting situation because both sides of it were right. Bell was right to not risk injury with the prospect of a longer/bigger deal on the horizon. The Steelers were right to not give him the deal he wanted. But the end result was the Steelers lost Bell with no compensation, and Bell took a year off from football.
    The franchise tag has a place, and is another element of strategy in team building and player agency. But the most complicating factor is that it creates a deadline of July 15th for another contract to be signed between the team and their franchise player. Past that date, the player is stuck with playing “on the tag” for the upcoming season or not signing it and sitting out. In retrospect, the Steelers would’ve probably franchised then traded Bell to a team willing to sign him to a long term deal in the months between the start of the new league year (early March I think) and the July deadline – but they figured he’d cave and not pass up $15m for the year. But Bell was ok foregoing that money and preserving himself for the bigger payday (he got it the following season from the Jets, though for less than the Steelers had originally offered).
    Both sides did the right thing from their perspective, but it wasn’t exactly good for the league, and both sides have seen diminished success since.
    It was an interesting example of socialism in practice – the player locked into only options of playing for one team under dictated terms, or not playing at all. The team stick accounting for those dictated terms against their salary cap or losing the player for nothing.
    Not saying a “fix” needs to be provided, but it would’ve made a good example to expand on the idea of a free market vs socialist system.

    1. You R’s and propertarians do not have the slightest fucking clue what an actual free market looks like. you have a strawman called ‘socialism’ – and everything else is deemed ‘free market’.

      No wonder you people are useful idiots.

      1. You really hate yourself.

      2. “…propertarians…”

        Arm-waver invents new word!

    2. Thing was, Mr. Bell had to play for the Jets and wound up cut.

  19. Fun day!
    Tebow’s back, maybe, but gets overshadowed by A-a-ron saying he won’t play for the Packers anymore.

    Falcons took Pitts, which is a huge relief and exciting as hell. Jags got the best prospect since Andrew Luck or Peyton Manning, so Jax is now pro football relevant. Browns don’t have any holes on their team, and made a solid, smart choice.

    Best picks:
    1. Lawrence #1 overall
    2. Chicago gets Fields at 11 – so lucky, and an absolute steal
    3. Pitts at 4
    4. Baltimore gets a gift with WR Rashad Bateman getting to them at 27
    5. Chargers and Vikings get huge offensive line help with Slater and Darrisaw at 13 and 23

    And the 49ers should’ve taken Fields instead of Lance. Silly stuff, but it could work out.

  20. I might have more sympathy for these guys if the term “go broke” were defined somehow. The cited article claims that a huge percentage of players “go broke” within three years after retiring, but also says that 12.5% file for bankruptcy within 15 years after retiring. So exactly what does “go broke” mean?

    1. Going broke means not having any money on hand or meaningful income. Declaring bankruptcy only helps if they ALSO need shelter from creditors. The game of Monopoly treats being broke and being bankrupt as interchangeable ideas, but real life doesn’t.

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  22. I am not a college sports fan. I think they should just be minor leagues and the college can sponsor them. With that said, what is the point of this article?

    Because of the physical nature of football, 3 years was decided on to let a player physically mature. Basketball does it a little but you can come from high school because you aren’t banging on each other. Hell, rookies hit the way now at game 10 and have issues.

    For going broke, you mean players that have always heard yes. That are immature and spend their money. What do you want the union to do? Hold their hands? As for endorsement deals, that is for very very few players/stars.

    What about the thousands that don’t make the NFL. The ones that major in woke studies or lunch. Should the NFL union provide for them too?

    Unions sucks. They are horrible everywhere. But this is a little crazy.

    1. Professional football grew out of college football. That, more than anything else, is why the NFL is now fairly deferential to the college game, avoiding scheduling pro games when there are college games (they don’t have Saturday games until January).

  23. This country’s cult like devotion to an artless coliseum game will always be a mystery to me. You’re paying hundreds of dollars to watch human beings turn their brain into mush.

    You don’t have to play for the NFL, and the NFL doesn’t have to draft you. But once the two parties form a contract then certain player protections are appropriate, especially for a sports where brutalizing your body is the POINT of the game. If a team cuts you but you got injured in the last game, that team better pay for your medical bills.

    There is something disturbingly destructive about the black community. Why do so many of them want to play this game? The league doesn’t care about you no matter how much they virtue signal. If most black athletes walked away from this game NFL would have to make changes.

    1. There is a reason that rugby and football are so different yet based on the same sport.

      1. And I’m sure you have a huge pile of bullshit to ‘explain’ it to no one at all.

    2. “This country’s cult like devotion to an artless coliseum game will always be a mystery to me. You’re paying hundreds of dollars to watch human beings turn their brain into mush. ”

      Whereas Europeans prefer a game played by people who fall over, clutching their legs, if brushed by a breeze.

  24. “It’s just one of the ways NFL rules keep young players from realizing their true market value, thanks to the league’s take-it-or-leave-it system.”

    Of course, any of these young players are free to try to reap their “true market value”, without the league. Surprise! There’s a fairly small market for athletes who’ve never signed a pro contract. Olympic athletes can be on Wheaties boxes once they’re done with the rings, and, um…

    Turns out, young football players have “true market value” related directly to their expected level of success as a professional. Some will be able to parlay the fame they gain from a playing career into a Hollywood career, but most will fade into obscurity once their playing days are gone. Football is a team game, and some players will be sent to bad teams, where they will fail to find super-stardom. That’s the real tragedy. Instead of whining that the league has corporate sponsors and doesn’t let the players negotiate individual corporate sponsors in competition with the league’s, whine that some players are sent to Cleveland or have to play in the NFC East.

  25. Most of the players who go broke (whatever that means; despite being “broke” the vast majority apparently aren’t bankrupt) benefit enormously from the high minimum salary. It’s far more than most of them would be able to negotiate on their own. With no union or CBA, the total amount paid to NFL players might well increase, but salary disparities would be even greater than they are now.

    1. You can go broke without being bankrupt. When you’re broke, you don’t pay a lawyer to file paperwork explaining why you aren’t paying your debts. You just don’t pay your debts because you haven’t got the money.

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  27. Looks like the spammers are starting to make about as much sense as the Republicans do.

    1. Looks like the spammers are starting to make about as much sense as the Republicans politicians do.

      FTFY

      1. No, I wasn’t referring to politicians, but to the Republican apologists who post here. So you didn’t fixed that.

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