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NFL Rookie Wage Scale On Hold

The NBA uses an official slotting system for players drafted in the first round of its annual draft.  Article VIII of the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement describes the scale, which actually is not such a solid slotting system.  A first round selection, and his agent (if he employs one), can negotiate a deal up to 120% of the player’s slot value.  The team can also try to use a strong hand and limit compensation to no less than 80% of that slot.  MLB does not overtly have a system, as evidenced by Stephen Strasburg’s deal (plus many others), but the Commissioner’s Office often sends out recommendations for what clubs should pay players at particular spots.  This year, the Commissioner’s Office suggested that teams pay players 10% less than what players were paid in the same slot in 2008.  So much for teams listening to that.

Lately, there have been rumors that the NFL might get creative and impose a Rookie Wage Scale.  Would it look similar to the NBA’s Rookie Scale?  It looks like we will not know any time soon.  Apparently, the earliest that an NFL Rookie Wage Scale would be implemented (if ever) is 2012.  In the linked article, Chris Mortensen really shows what he thinks about athletes being able to make decisions for themselves.  He says,

“Do not listen to agents who are scaring you into a rookie wage scale or a rookie cap. . . .  Don’t let agents deceive you and lie about this rookie wage scale and rookie cap that would affect you into coming out early.”

In Mort’s world, there are no agents using Twitter or blogging to report on the article about there likely not being a Rookie Wage Scale either, right?

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

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