Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Novice Salary Moderation

The salaries being awarded to top draft picks have become egregious. They are simply out of control. In April, the Detroit Lions agreed to a guaranteed contract of $41.7 million with number one selection Matthew Stafford. The contract can be worth up to $78 million if all incentives are completed. The deal is a six year stint which will pay Stafford between $7 million and $11 million on average per year.

Now there are the Steven Strasburg rumors. With agent Scott Boras, the rumors have literally gone haywire. The price was speculated to be above $50 million, offering a great deal of distress to the Washington Nationals with the first overall pick; however, since the Nationals have drafted the hard throwing righty, the numbers have settled. The rumors are now saying a contract of about $17.5 million which would eclipse the contract awarded to Mark Prior when he was drafted first overall.

On the regulated end of sports, the NBA still has its draft pick contracts regulated. The maximum rookie contracted awarded to the first overall pick (Derrick Rose) last year was a bit under $5 million and this year's scaled offer will also remain under $5 million for Blake Griffin. The more impressive factor is the longevity of the contracts. Prized picks like Derrick Rose are locked down for four years before other teams will have a stab at him with a qualifying offer in his fifth year. By then the caliber of a player would be well determined and the player would be reciving a justified offer. In addition, successive draft pick contracts have already been set a predetermained values extending the security.

Ultimately, NBA and MLB contracts are still tamed. The NBA with stricker guidelines and the MLB with pure morality. But, the MLB is still vulnerable to the burdens placed on proffessional football. A drafted baseball player does not have to sign with the team which drafted him permitting lee-way. Technically, a player can choose to go back to school or train for an entire year. Teams are also burdened with considering talent and signability. Teams may have to pass up on a prized player because of the possibility of the situation mentioned previously. This could allow a top tier player to fall to a top tier team with the flexibility of signing the player. If pushed to brinkmanship, the consequences will be fatal for baseball.

The only league with harshly strict regulations on rookie contracts is the NHL. Rookies can only make around $1 million for their contribution and they are also denied a hefty signing bonus. This means a hockey player must truly earn his money by putting in hard time and succedding before he has the liberty of recking success and a rewarding payout.

Truly, the NHL has it right, but it doesn't seem that the fans agree.

The biggest draft speculation occurs before the NFL Draft. The most obvious reason is the national attention that college football recieves throughout the year which in turn offers a sense of familiarity. However, college basketball is bolstered on a even higher podium yet the NBA Draft is not as embraced. Fans are simply drawn to these lucrative contracts awarded in exorbient amounts to unproven players. And now that Steven Strasburg is in line for a huge payout, it seems that he has now captizated the national spotlight. The fans yearn for these contracts.

Nobody is craving over 72 goal John Tavares because he isn't going to be cashing the same check. It doesn't matter that he broke Wayne Gretzky's goal mark, it doesn't matter that he is the next great young center coming into the league after Crosby, Malkin, and Toews. All that matters to Americans is that he isn't this glamourous athlete who will be reciving more than he deserves.

This brings us to our next problem. Why can't fans ever commend anything positive? Why do fans need to ridicule everything, but cannot offer a simple "great job" or "that is right"? Especially, on the internet. Every single voice needs to be cynical. Not skeptical because most fans are several steps past skeptisim. Fans have become outright cynical.

So I would like to applaud the NHL for having an appropriate collective bargaining agreement in place. It may have taken a year but it is far superior than any other of the true american sports. I'm not repudiating the NFL for their salaries or the NBA, not even the MLB for almost no regulation. I am simply giving a thumbs up where it is deserved.

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