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When the National Football League Players` Association and the owners agreed on a new collective agreement in 2011, things changed in the league. Although the game remained the same, there were many financial differences – especially how the profits from advertising, etc. should be distributed. But another financial change has occurred: the salary scale for beginners. Restricted free agency is virtually non-existent with the four-year contract requirement for draft picks. It is now reserved almost exclusively for undrafted recruits, as they have to sign three-year rookie contracts. Undrafted recruits would also shorten the length of their contract by one year. Guaranteed salary. In the first half of the first round, fully guaranteed four-year contracts were secured.

Negotiations on the fourth-year guarantees are essential for the rest of the round. Second-round contracts usually have guarantees for the first and second year and so on. If there`s one trend that characterizes most of this list, it`s players who have been able to get big deals and not deliver – again, a major reason for the new limits on rookie contracts. Jason Smith is no different. He was a big offensive tackle by Baylor, who was selected second overall in 2009. Unlike players before him, however, Smith suffered injuries that began with a concussion in 2010. His tenure with the Rams ended after being traded to the New York Jets in 2012. NFL rookies, even those at the top of the draft, have no place at the bargaining table and no voice in the CBA bargaining room.

And with so many other issues that the NFLPA needs to address in future negotiations, I feel like the rookie compensation system could be even more regulated in the next CBA, perhaps with standardized contract language. A limited free agency would gain in importance due to the number of quality players drafted after the first round that could potentially be available to offer hands. Taking the example of the 2016 draft class, the Chiefs would have had quite a dilemma with defensive lineman Chris Jones, a second-round pick, if the proposed changes had already been in place. His 2018 season, in which he finished third in the NFL with 15.5 sacks and set an NFL record by recording one sack in 11 consecutive games, would have made him a prime candidate for a new contract as his success unfolded. Without a new contract before early March, Kansas City could have been forced to name Jones as a franchise player. A restricted free agent offer of $4.407 million in the first round may not have been enough to stop another team from following an offer sheet, given how Jones behaved last season. 2017 fifth-round pick George Kittle, who set an NFL record for yards received in a season for tight ends in 2018, would likely be an overtime priority for the 49ers if 2019 was his contract year instead of 2020. The 49ers have been one of the most proactive teams when it comes to signing players for early overtime, along with the Eagles, Patriots and Steelers when rules allowed draft picks to renegotiate after two years. In addition, the placement of rookie contracts also makes me think about the trends of the first round of the draft.

One of the biggest questions I have is the focus on players and quarterbacks in the skill position on Day 1 of the draft. In the days leading up to the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, NFL rookie contracts were among the most negotiated contracts of all time, especially at the top of the draft. Among other things, there were haggling between the team (me) and the agents over amounts ranging from millions (first round) to hundreds (seventh round). First-round recruit contracts were more extensive and difficult to negotiate than most veteran contracts, with conscient clauses like buyouts, vacancies, escalators exploding, acquisition options, second-signing bonuses, and more. There were actually negotiations on structural terms, contract wording, bonus payments and, yes, money. The ABC agreed in 1993 was extended in 1998 by the agreement of the players and owners. .