SBD/Issue 70/Leagues & Governing Bodies

NFL Rookie Pay Scale In Place Until 2011, But Could Change Later

Goodell Says Rookie Wage Scale To
Be Implemented In 2011 At Earliest
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that fears of a "looming rookie wage scale are unfounded and collegiate underclassmen should not be misled into thinking such a system will be in place by 2010 as they weigh their decisions to forgo their eligibility to enter the NFL next year," according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com. Goodell Saturday said, "There will be no change in our current [rookie pool] system, at least until 2011. I've explained that to some college head coaches, athletic directors and league commissioners. Any underclassman who is hearing differently is probably hearing it from an agent or from another source who is misinformed." Goodell during the recent National Football Foundation meetings met with about six commissioners from major college conferences, and also has "personally delivered his message" to college coaches such as USC's Pete Carroll and Florida's Urban Meyer. Carroll: "We talked about it, cleared the air and it was good to hear it straight from the commissioner. That's a huge statement now that he's on the record. Obviously, I'm in total support of it and hopefully now a lot of good college kids getting bad information will be able to read it, see it, and trust it." However, Goodell said, "We do expect change at some point after 2010 -- in order to shift more money to proven vets." Goodell did not detail any specifics of a new system, noting, "We have had no negotiations with the union yet on a new rookie wage scale." But Goodell said, "Many veterans tell us the system needs to be modified. The current rookie pool system is designed to limit rookie pay but it does not work very well. Change is coming in this area. We do not know exactly when after 2010 or exactly what it will consist of, but we are committed to a change that will compensate top rookies very well but will make more money available to proven vets, including low-round draft choices and rookie free agents that outperform their contracts" (ESPN.com, 12/27).

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