Thursday Afternoon

-Allow me to jump on the soapbox before I get to the afternoon’s activities. I believe that from top to bottom, the NFL is the best-run league in professional sports, but there are a few things that need to change. At the top of that list is the way rookie contracts are handled. This year we have seen more top-level draft picks in holdouts than ever before and the reasons for that range from money to ego, two things which are almost always connected in some way. There isn’t an agent on the planet that wants to be the guy who gets his guy a worse deal than someone drafted below him. Say you represent the third pick in the draft. Well, you don’t want to have to try to sell yourself to new clients the next year and have them say to you “How come you got less money for your guy than Agent X who represents the fifth pick?” The easy solution is to take a cue from the NBA. That league has instituted a sliding scale of rookie contracts that pays the rookies according to where they went in the draft. The salaries are nice, but not exorbitant and you pretty much never say a player hold out, unless he was drafted by a team that he just REALLY did not want to play for. Of course, the problem with putting this system in place would lie in the issue of guaranteed money. The NBA guarantees the money and years to first-round draft choices. An NFL contract is not guaranteed so most players try to get all they can up front. The chance to eliminate holdouts and allow teams to not have to pay unproven players millions in bonuses would seem to make sense for both sides. It would decrease the risk in paying top picks a ton of money for a team and it would decrease jealousy within a team. The only losers in the deal would be the top picks and agents who represent them. Since those players aren’t in the league yet, there is no real downside for the league in at least investigating the possibilities. Both the team and the player is a hurt by a holdout, so why not find a way to keep them to a minimum?

-Guard Claude Terrell is fine after having his eye poked in the morning practice. Terrell practiced in the afternoon. For those who thought the Terrell as starter thing might be just an experiment, think again. The kid is as hard-nosed and tough as they come. He really has a legitimate chance to play and play well in his first season.

-Matt Morgan spent some time with the first team at right tackle in the afternoon practice.

-Chris Claiborne did not practice in the afternoon but should be fine and will probably be back at the grind tomorrow.

-The Rams will be in shells again tomorrow morning so fans hoping for full-contact drills should be prepared for another lighter workout such as this morning’s.