Thursday, March 18, 2004

NFL - Teams aren't Willing to Trade Draft Picks for Veterans. Plus, are Rookie Salaries too Low and Veteran Salaries to High?
For extreme football fans, CNNSI has a great piece on how teams are not willing to give up any draft picks for veteran football players. Teams like the Bengals (trying to trade Dillon) and my Browns (trying to trade Couch) are SOL in their efforts to get second rounders for these players.

So what is the seemingly logical move if draft picks seem overvalued? Simple - TRADE YOUR DRAFT PICKS! Yet teams aren't doing this. The article states why here

[T]he most common sense reason for the lack of trades involving veterans is that in the cap era, as Hurney pointed out, [mid/late round] draft picks equal cheap labor. Without enough of it being infused into your team's roster every year, the salary cap is going to grow top heavy and eventually come crashing down around you.

In other words, veterans are overpriced relative to rookies, leading teams to stock up on cheap rookie labor. One solution to to this problem would be for teams to raise the rookie minimum salary, while leaving the cap the same. This would of course reduce the salaries of veterans, who would scream bloody murder through the players association. If it passed, though, I think it would have the positive effect of greater team continuity, as when a player would hit year four (when players typically get the salary boost if they are still around to hit the open market), there would not be such a great difference in his salary with respect to the previous year under this modified system - making it more feasible for players to stay put. Plus, if a team is going to lose a veteran, most fans like to see the team get something in return. Altering the relative salaries of rookies will make draft picks more exchangeable as there would not be the same steep cap penalty for forgoing cheap youth in favor of overpriced veterans. Greater continuity and fan interest could of course signal a better product and translate to higher fanship/tv ratings/money for the NFL/greater salaries in sum for all players, although the distribution would be different.

Any thoughts?

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