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  1. #1
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Long dollars ...

    Ryan's deal has lots of dollars but not much sense
    Ben Liebenberg / NFL.com
    Matt Ryan's $72 million deal with the Falcons raised a few eyebrows ... and contract numbers of fellow rookies.

    There is a great sense of relief in Atlanta that new franchise quarterback Matt Ryan is signed, sealed and delivered. I believe Ryan is going to be a fine player in the NFL and that the Falcons had little choice but to draft him at the No. 3 spot. He has the ability, the maturity and the personality to handle the rough road to becoming a top-flight quarterback in the league, but his contract is a different story.

    The ripple effect of the six-year, $72 million deal, of which $34.5 was guaranteed, reaches many areas. Pressure on the player to perform earlier than he can be expected to play well, the contract effect on the class of 2008, and the immediate effect on Chris Long and Darren McFadden.

    Let's take a look at the deal as it relates to the NFL economics of 2008.

    Two years ago, Vince Young was the No. 3 pick in the draft. Both Ryan and Young signed six-year contracts, so a comparison of the deals is realistic.

    In 2006, the salary cap was $102 million per team. In 2008, the salary cap is $116.729 million per team. In two years, the salary cap has gone up close to 15 percent. In that same 24-month period, the rookie pool has only gone up 5 percent. Ryan's contract is close to a 25 percent increase over Young's contract, which makes no sense at all.

    Keep in mind, Young signed his contract on July 30 and was in camp on time. The threat of a Ryan holdout -- if he was offered a six-year deal 15 percent higher than Young's deal -- was highly unlikely. General managers around the league are concerned about rich deals like this and are worried about how it will affect the entire first round.

    Making most of second chance
    It is a story of persistence and patience, of fulfillment and frustration, of good breaks and bad.

    Vic Carucci says we all have something to learn from Chris Redman's career as an NFL quarterback. More ... The irony of the Ryan contract is the fact his agent, Tom Condon, also represents the top overall pick of the draft, offensive tackle Jake Long. When Long and the Dolphins agreed to a five-year deal days before the draft, it sent a small shockwave through the league because traditionally the top 10 picks agree to six-year deals. I'm not a big fan of five-year deals at the top of the draft, but in retrospect, it might have made sense after seeing Ryan's six-year deal.

    If the Falcons had just looked at Long's five-year deal -- worth $60 million with $30 million guaranteed -- and said they would work off the top deal, it could have been easy to structure a deal for Ryan. Slotting Ryan off the Long deal should have been five years for $58 million with $28 million guaranteed. That would have saved the second slot for defensive end Chris Long and the Rams, and Ryan still wouldn't have been late reporting to camp.

    Right now, the sixth year of the Ryan deal appears to have cost the Falcons $14 million, of which $6.5 million is guaranteed. How does the Ryan deal affect the player above and below him in the draft?

    Chris Long is now boxed in by two contracts: Jake Long above him and Ryan below him. I'm sure when the Rams saw the five-year deal Jake Long signed a few days before the draft they weren't happy. But when the Ryan six-year deal got finalized, it probably made the five-year deal look like a better way to go.

    What should Chris Long's agent, Marv Demoff, be looking for at this point? His perspective might be: If the third player in the draft is able to beat the deal of the top player, then why can't the second player in the draft do the same thing? I wouldn't blame Demoff for making that conclusion.

    Let's say cooler heads prevail, and the Rams look at presenting a five-year deal off Jake Long's deal and arrive at $59 million with $29 million guaranteed. That would be a "slotted" deal off the top pick. On the other hand, the Rams now have to expect that Chris Long's people want a slotted deal off Ryan's contract -- six years for $73 million with $35 million guaranteed.

    Can you see what the Ryan deal has done to the top of the draft?

    Most people I talk with believe Chris Long will do a deal close to the five-year deal I suggested. If and when that deal is finalized, we are talking about the top three players in the draft with zero playing experience in the NFL having a combined compensation package of $191 million with $93.5 guaranteed.

    I hope veteran players around the league think long and hard about that kind of money going to unproven talent. It is scary to think that in a collision sport such as football that these three rookies are getting close to 48 percent of their contracts guaranteed.

    The trickle-down effect of the three top deals falls right to McFadden, the Raiders' top pick at No. 4 overall. Does he hold out for a five-year deal worth $56 million with $26 guaranteed, or a six-year package for $68 million with $30 million guaranteed? The problems continue right down the line.

    In 2006, the 32 first-round players averaged just over $10 million each in guaranteed money. The cap went up 15 percent since then and logically that should mean the guaranteed money for the 2008 first-round picks should be $11.5 million, but something tells me it is going to be a lot closer to $15 million, which isn't a good thing for veteran players or the league.

    In 2006, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Vernon Davis, Broderick Bunkley, Ty Hill, Jason Allen, Bobby Carpenter and DeAngelo Williams were all part of the first round. They might all emerge as great players this year, and maybe they won't, but they all got paid.

    This year will be no different, except the Ryan deal may mean even more money will fall in the laps of players who may struggle to excel.


  2. #2
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    Re: Long dollars ...

    There needs to be a rookie salary. I hope Long and the Rams can negotiate something good, so we can sign SJax long term too.

    Long doesn't want to be considered a bust, but with all of these stupid signings (ie the Falcons) we may have to fork out veteran amounts of money.

  3. #3
    general counsel's Avatar
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    Re: Long dollars ...

    THis is the most perplexing section of the collective bargaining agreement from my perspective. For the life of me, i can not figure out how the rookies get this percentage of the pie. I defy anyone to find a profession in which people with zero experience make more money than senior level people who have performed at an all star level for years.

    The craziest part of this is that i cant see who has a vested interest in the rookies getting all of this money other than the agents, and even in the case of the agents, it really doesnt make sense since no one is arguing to reduce the overall cap dollars and presumably, money that doesnt go to the rookies will go to the vets and the agents will get their cut anyway.

    In terms of pure numbers, think about who has the right to vote on the CBA. The members of the players association do not even include the rookies. Why dont they simply vote for a very low and tight rookie cap like the NBA does to protect the vets. This puts more money in the pockets of the guys that are proven and works in favor of the owners as well. The rookies will hate it, but so what. They dont have a vote at the table.

    ramming speed to all

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    Re: Long dollars ...

    It really is becoming vomit-inducing. These guys shouldn't even be getting that much if they're Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. These guys play a kid's sport for crying out loud, why are they being paid millions of dollars for it?


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

  5. #5
    general counsel's Avatar
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    Re: Long dollars ...

    They are being paid millions of dollars because they are entertainers that generate enormous revenues by virtue of their performances. They arent just the best in the world at what they do, people actually pay money to buy tickets to watch them perform.

    Bottom line-its a free market and they are paid what the market says they are worth, even with the constraint of the salary cap.

    ramming speed to all

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  6. #6
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    Re: Long dollars ...

    Quote Originally Posted by general counsel View Post
    Bottom line-its a free market and they are paid what the market says they are worth, even with the constraint of the salary cap.

    ramming speed to all

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    Except it is not really a free market. The draft gives the team the rights to the player, which means the player can't sign elsewhere. And the teams are bound by the collective bargaining agreement to pay no less than a certain amount and no more than another amount to the players on the roster. It isn't a very free market at all. The huge corporations are all in cahoots with each other, and the players have a powerful union. The rookie cap has a substantial impact on what players can get paid, and that too is controlled by the collective bargaining agreement.

    In other words, the union and the owners are the ones who have the most power over how much the rookies are going to make--not the market. The question here is why the union still favors a policy that rewards rookies when by nature it will always be disproportionately populated with veterans.

  7. #7
    general counsel's Avatar
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    Re: Long dollars ...

    I understand your point golden fleece and i pretty much agree with you. However, those constraints would explain why salaries would be lower, not higher than in a pure free market. The question i was answering was why these guys make millions for playing a kids game. It is effectively, a free market within the confines of the salary cap and the collective bargaining agreement, but certainly, as you state, not a pure free market. Presumably, if it was a pure free market and a bidding free for all at all times for all players and without a salary cap, salaries would be higher, not lower.

    ramming speed to all

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  8. #8
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Re: Long dollars ...

    Quote Originally Posted by general counsel View Post
    The craziest part of this is that i cant see who has a vested interest in the rookies getting all of this money other than the agents, and even in the case of the agents, it really doesnt make sense since no one is arguing to reduce the overall cap dollars and presumably, money that doesnt go to the rookies will go to the vets and the agents will get their cut anyway.
    I have wondered about this for a long time. The only thing I can think of and for sure it's just a guess is: The agents must command a higher percentage fee from rookies than from vets who have been around the block ..

  9. #9
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    Re: Long dollars ...

    With the escalation of rookie money it has become somewhat of a trend to stay away from the majority of skill players and go with the big uglies inside earlier. For the life of me, and those that are more google friendly than I am go ahead and search, I can't remember a draft when not one WR was drafted in the first round.

  10. #10
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    Re: Long dollars ...

    My opinion is that the money fueling this comes from the TV contracts that the NFL has in place. The whole nature of the rookie phenomenon begins with the telecast of the NFL Draft being moved into a situation where TV can televise it into prime time. I'm in the advertising business so I can see the motivations behind these maneuvers.

    Having said that it's all about the buzz level that the rookies create. Darren McFadden has far more buzz going on right now than Steven Jackson or even Adrian Peterson, both of whom have far more legitimacy than DM because of their achievements. But like so much else these days in commercial enterprise it's all about the buzz and getting people interested enought to place their money down on tickets and luxury suites or invest in Direct TV's Sunday Ticket. All this places enormous power in the hands of the agents who dictate terms to the teams. Just as it is a new world in so many areas, it is a new world in the NFL too. A rookie salary cap will come about to level off this insanity.

    Go Rams!

  11. #11
    general counsel's Avatar
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    Re: Long dollars ...

    Interesting point about buzz. I wonder what jersey sells better this year, mcfadden or steven jackson.

    At the end of the day, winning is what maximizes revenues for any team. Thus, spending your cap efficiently is what makes the most money for an owner in the long run, regardless of any initial buzz. Paying a bunch of money for aging "name" players may sell some tickets in the short run, but it will not lead to success as often as drafting and retaining quality talent.

    Like anything else in business, the ability to identify and retain talent is critical. Why have the patriots been the best team over the last several years? Two reasons. Best personnel assessment and Cheating.

    ramming speed to all

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  12. #12
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    Re: Long dollars ...

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan View Post
    For the life of me, and those that are more google friendly than I am go ahead and search, I can't remember a draft when not one WR was drafted in the first round.
    This year.

  13. #13
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    Re: Long dollars ...

    Ryans deal hurts us. We got pinched in a bad place, the Dolphins patience at a 5 year deal and then then the falcons desperation with a huge deal. I'll expect a bigger 5 year deal than Jake Long for Chris. He is gonna be good for us, but he is still a rookie and shouldn't be payed this much. His deal may give SJ some leverage he deserves the money more though.

  14. #14
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    Re: Long dollars ...

    Quote Originally Posted by ramsbruce View Post
    This year.

    Oh boy, thanks for that burst of wisdom. While you are at it, could you tell me who the two canidates are for the democratic nomination?

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    Re: Long dollars ...

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan View Post
    Oh boy, thanks for that burst of wisdom. While you are at it, could you tell me who the two canidates are for the democratic nomination?
    Wow, I figured the big grinning smiley gave away that I was kidding. Maybe I should have added a wink smiley also.

    No talking of politics here.

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