The NFL Has A Major Underclassmen Problem

And it's only getting bigger. Due to the collective bargaining agreement in 2011, college players are eager to enter the NFL as soon as possible. The influx is negatively impacting the prospects and current players, with no end in sight

By
Greg A. Bedard
· More from Greg·
Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr was one of only a half-dozen—at best—potential first-round prospects at the Senior Bowl, which traditionally is a richer environment for scouts to mine. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr was one of only a half-dozen—at best—potential first-round prospects at the Senior Bowl, which traditionally is a richer environment for scouts to mine. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

MOBILE, Ala. — The cries came from every corner in the NFL world: coaches, personnel executives and agents.

There’s nothing here. … Worst group I’ve ever seen.

They were talking about the players on display at the Senior Bowl, the premier pre-draft showcase on the field. They weren’t just whistling in Dixie. In the previous five drafts, there were an average of 10.2 Senior Bowl players draft in the first round—and no less than eight (2012). There was an average of 2.2 players taken in the top 15.

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After spending most of the week in Mobile, the consensus is there were maybe three first-round talents here, with a maximum of six.

There is little doubt what is responsible for the drain on the experienced and mature player ascending into the draft: the new collective bargaining agreement that arrived after the 2011 lockout and was first in place for the ’12 draft. After having an average of 50.1 players declare for the draft from ’05 to ’11, the number has basically doubled under the new CBA: from 56 in ’11 to 65 in ’12, 73 in ’13 and 98 this year. As of right now, about 250 players will be selected in the NFL draft. You do the math.

The effects are having wide-ranging impacts on the draft, college football, the evaluation process and the viability of NFL players. Let’s address each:

College Football

The reason that there has been such a rise in underclassmen declaring for the draft is because of the rookie wage scale instituted by the owners. All draft picks are now locked into their rookie contracts for at least three years. The impact on the first-round picks is even more punitive since teams hold an option for a fifth year, and then they can be franchised in the sixth. Jason Cole of the National Football Post perfectly laid out the situation.

Ryan Kerrigan (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Ryan Kerrigan (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

For a player like Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who played four years in college, he might not hit unrestricted free agency until he’s 29 and heading into his seventh season. That likely will be his only opportunity for a big-money contract.

That leads players—and the agents and buddies whispering into their ears—to the following thought: Get into the NFL as soon as possible to get that free agency clock started and get to that big money.

The result is that you’re getting more and more players leaving school early, many of whom aren’t ready. “The college programs are having a big problem,” said one prominent NFC general manager who spends a lot of time on the road scouting. “That means the NFL has a big problem. I can only speak for me, but I want guys who have skins on the wall. A lot of these guys don’t have them, and you’re having to project even more.”

College football programs are now taking a page from their basketball counterparts. They’re telling top prospects that they can get them out in three years and using the promise of playing time as freshmen as the biggest selling point.

“College football is turning into the NBA,” said a long-time college scout. “They’re telling the players they can get them in and out. And half of them aren’t ready.”

Expect this to be a big area of discussion when the competition committee meets with top college coaches at the NFL Scouting Combine next month in Indianapolis.

“I don’t know what can be done about it,” said the general manager. “The CBA is the CBA and it’s locked in (until 2021).”

Expect there to be an increase in the education of the college players on life in the NFL, namely that the average length of a career is about 3.5 years. It’s in the player’s best interest to get his college education because, odds are, they won’t be in the league for long. 

Evaluation Process

Despite having a good idea about which players will declare early, most NFL teams don’t start studying the underclassmen until after the Senior Bowl. With so many 90-plus underclassmen to research now, several scouts said that they expect to be doing even more research on third-year sophomores and juniors during the season. That could lead to a bit of a mess. The league is vigilant about NFL personnel steering clear of underclassmen out of respect for college football.

In any event, what we now know is the post-season evaluation process—the NFLPA Bowl, East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl—has been adversely affected if not completely broken. The more juniors that declare, the weaker that leaves the senior class the following season. If you thought this year’s Senior Bowl was watered down, wait until next season.

The NFL created this situation with the NFLPA, and both groups need to deal with the ramifications.

“This really screws us up,” said another college scout. “The talent is going downhill at these games.”

One solution that was being talked about in Mobile, which Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage brought up on NFL Network, is to allow some underclassmen to play in the events.

NFL Players

With more younger players coming into the league, some are going to fall through the cracks, especially those who need more development. There are only 53 roster spots and eight practice squad slots available on each team. There isn’t much room for developmental players. Move this to the top of the list why the NFL needs to revive a developmental league, which ceased to exist when NFL Europa was closed in ’07. The NFL created this situation with the NFLPA, and both groups need to deal with the ramifications. (What fans shouldn’t want is for the NFL to begin to think expansion is the answer. It would water down the product.)

The 2014 Draft

Even though NFL teams have just started their evaluation of the underclassmen, general managers universally believe this will be the deepest draft ever because of the influx.

“You hope that all these guys can play,” said Chiefs general manager John Dorsey. “Once you determine they can play and they’re real players, after studying the combine next month, you’ll see it. All of a sudden you’ll have quality of depth. Hopefully that adds quality of depth to this year’s draft.”

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That could lead to a rash of trade downs—including picking up seventh-round selections to get a jump on undrafted free agency—and teams using picks from the ’15 draft to get more picks this year.

“If people say there are a lot of juniors this year, that means there might not be a lot of seniors next year and teams will say, ‘Let’s maybe use future picks for this year,’” said Rams general manager Les Snead. “You never know how that’s going to work. But I do think when it’s deep, that it does affect strategy. It just depends on how creative people get.”

The Rams could be one of those teams. They have nine selections, including two in the first round: second overall and 13th. St. Louis already stated it’s open to trading down.

“I’m ecstatic about where we’re sitting now with the 2 and 13,” Snead said. “The deeper this (draft) gets, all of a sudden you may have more quality. You may have a second and a third that you might feel good about trading to get lower and with more picks. Should be fun.”

The influx of underclassmen to the NFL is in full swing and shows no sign of slowing down. Things are about to change in a big way.

NICKEL PACKAGE

Five takes on recent NFL news…

1. Seahawks over Broncos? My early thought on the Super Bowl: I like the Seahawks. A lot. I always prefer defense over offense in the postseason, and this is a good matchup for Seattle. The cold weather is only going to help. Seattle’s defense can limit Denver’s preferred short passing game, and it’s tough to run against even when playing nickel. While the Broncos are solid against the run, the Seahawks—with Russell Wilson’s legs as a threat—will do some work. Expect some read option. And while Seattle’s passing game is limited, its shot-play philosophy matches up perfectly with Denver’s weak safety play. Wilson won’t miss the shots Tom Brady did in the AFC Championship Game. Wilson is a better deep-ball thrower.

2. Patriots-Dolphins intrigue. Interesting that, after turning down interview opportunities in the past, Patriots director of pro personnel Nick Caserio accepted an opportunity to speak with the Dolphins. Maybe Caserio is just looking for interview experience. Maybe Bill Belichick wants Caserio to gain some intel on an AFC East rival. Maybe Caserio really wants the job calling his own personnel shots. Belichick has been known to overrule his scouting department on occasion in the draft and take his own guys. That has been a source of frustration for some, but Belichick has ultimate power and can do what he wants. For that reason, it’s tough to tell who’s responsible for which draft picks, but Caserio’s good work has shown up in undrafted free agency and street free-agent pickups. Both areas have immensely helped the Patriots.

3. Surprising Browns hire. I’m surprised the Browns hierarchy of Joe Banner, Alec Scheiner and Mike Lombardi hired Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine as head coach. After the Rob Chudzinski debacle, this is a momentous decision for that trio—they better have hit a home run or they’re likely done. Pettine, a former Jets defensive coordinator under Rex Ryan, is a little green in that scenario. That being said, it’s a great decision to go with Ryan’s scheme—it’s effectiveness in today’s NFL is proven (Jets, Saints, Chiefs, Bills all utilize it). And those who have worked with Pettine say he’s organized and thorough with a concise message for players. That’s a good place to start.

4. How Rex’s defense does it. Speaking of Rex Ryan, I’ve always been amazed at the effectiveness of his scheme despite having so many moving parts, with constantly changing pressure concepts and coverage calls. I asked him in Mobile how he does that. “It’s all about concepts,” he said. “If you teach the concepts well, the players will understand it. Once they know the concepts, then it’s easy for them to execute. It looks complicated, but it really isn’t.”

5. About that Welker-Talib hit… Belichick knows better than anybody that collisions like that between Wes Welker and Aqib Talib happen in just about every game each week, and his team uses the same tactics. Talib should have known a rub route was coming, but for some reason he didn’t see it. Welker expected, like all receivers in that position, that the cornerback would bubble over the receiver, so he angled toward the line of scrimmage to avoid a hit, not to take Talib out. But Talib didn’t see it, and they collided. Belichick was right that Welker wasn’t making an attempt to get open at that point. But Welker would have looked for the ball in the next window if Talib avoided him. It was a run-of-the-mill, common football play. No more, no less.

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61 comments
IdDoHannahStorm
IdDoHannahStorm

After reading the headline, then reading the article; I'm left wondering how the NFL has a problem.  So the Senior Bowl isn't chalked full of the kind of talent that NFL scouts drool over; seems like a Senior Bowl problem to me.  With so many programs getting significant air time, the NFL has the opportunity to see a lot more players than they had in the past, so the Senior Bowl may just be a quaint relic of a prior era.  Juniors leaving early are a college problem not an NFL one.  If a kid declares and is either not developed or has too little playing time, he'll drop in the draft.  Yea, he starts the free agent clock a year earlier, but there is a difference between what a first rounder and a fifth rounder get paid.  You can start the clock early, but you can lock yourself into a lower contract.

srlarson31
srlarson31

For this problem...solution seems simple.....leave the Senior bowl as is....then move/open up the East West shine and maybe add another all star game for all draft entrants......maybe one only for underclassmen....since the draft is moved out of April to may....maybe one tied in with the combine.....thoughts...c'mon you guys make lots of money can't be that hard to figure out.....

UrsaMajor
UrsaMajor

The teams may hold virtually all the leverage, but if management is truly enlightened, they may choose not to use it, or at least use it judiciously.  By exercising the option, the team buys one extra year at low cost.  Next year, you have an angry player (I think they all have thin skins and long memories despite their altruistic mutterings about it just being a business), which could result in the team having to beat competing offers, not just match them.  If you have a true star, negotiate now, and use the option as a bargaining chip:  "We don't have to pay you next year, but you are a valued member of this organization, and we think it's fair that you get paid commensurately"  You've just pointed out that you're potentially giving him a raise next year.  If the demands are unreasonable, you can still option him, but at least you started out on the right foot.

As far as the watering down of the draft, teams are still free to reserve at least their first round choices (or more) for senior players.  If the juniors find themselves relegated to the lower rounds, the incentive will be to stay in school.

Pat11
Pat11

So Wilson is better than Brady now. Give me a break.

J Diddy
J Diddy

Maybe pump the brakes a hair on the "Wilson throws a better deep ball than Brady" stuff... Brady didn't seem to have a lot of trouble getting the ball downfield when Moss was there. Not a Pats fan or anything, but their receiving core this year was as bad as it has been in Brady's tenure imo. 


And speaking of tenure, how about we wait until we've got 10 or 12 years of actual film on Wilson throwing as one of the best QBs in history before we compare specific aspects of his game to Brady's. The test of time is the greatest measure of a QB in the NFL. If they're great, they'll stay great for a long while and prove it with statistics, wins, and rings. 


This could be Wilson's last Super Bowl, and maybe he isn't even a starting QB 3 years from now. (Don't anticipate that, but I'm not Nostradamus, either.) At which point, any comparison to Brady would be silly. 

shingen
shingen

it should also be mentioned that the increase in redshirting, coaching changes, and oversigning mean a lot of kids who are "juniors" have more than 3 years of college play time, too. And that is a college problem, not an NFL problem. 


And, yeah, kids want to be paid to play. Duh.

shuggah21
shuggah21

boo hoo, the NFL loses its minor league system and the players no longer play for free. 

CBSwriter
CBSwriter

First of all, how is the NFL getting younger, a bad thing? Whether you the fan or media member like it or not, the NFL is going to get younger at every opportunity so these 98 underclassmen, as long as they show the ability to play (which is the same case it's been for the last 50+ years, nothing changing there) they will get a job. And speaking of whether you like it or not, the NFL is going to expand. That's a guarantee. There's just too much money in the game right now and the NFL seeks franchises in both LA and London, where are those coming from if not from expansion Mr. Bedard? Do you honestly think two cities are going to lose franchises? You'd have a better chance at betting on Seattle hosting a Super Bowl.


All that is being hurt by this sudden influx (if it holds steady) is the Senior Bowl evaluation opportunity. If the Senior Bowl isn't helpful for the NFL, create a new showcase that is. Not that difficult. The deeper the draft's the better. The younger the players, the better. 


The NFL has always been a game for the younger player. Most athletes hit their prime from 24-32. The sooner the league gets rid of the 35+, the better. So the more power to these youngsters. Go in there and win jobs.

dcon3
dcon3

ALL professional athletes are overpaid. get over it!!! most make more in a year than the majority get paid in a lifetime. you get PAID to play a GAME, i dont feel bad for a single one of them

parkbrav
parkbrav

"After spending most of the week in Mobile, the consensus is there were maybe three first-round talents here, with a maximum of six."

Could the problem be with the Senior Bowl and not the CBA or other convenient scapegoats? There are already too many meaningless Bowls.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

The league will do as it always does when the talent is diluted. Expand the playoff field. Also, the more players coming in to the NFL, the more players available for an 18 game schedule. But hey, at least we'll have fewer pre-season games.

westcoastbias
westcoastbias

"Wilson won’t miss the shots Tom Brady did in the AFC Championship Game. Wilson is a better deep-ball thrower."  Yes, Brady had an off day in Denver, but having watched a lot of Wilson and Brady, this is a really wrong statement.  Wilson's long completions come because the run fakes and his scrambles distract deep coverage, not because he's accurate or long.  Case in point: two 49ers safeties looking at Wilson and letting the receiver run right between them - and the ball was underthrown - but receivers are often so open he can get away with it.  If Seattle can sack and/or intercept Manning they'll win, but if not, Wilson will just be the next Kaepernick - making critical mistakes due to inexperience and nerves.

westcoastbias
westcoastbias

?Is there any way a player can get around the Rookie Contract?  For example, play in Canada, or sit out a year?

LucilleBluth
LucilleBluth

"For a player like Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who played four years in college, he might not hit unrestricted free agency until he’s 29 and heading into his seventh season. That likely will be his only opportunity for a big-money contract."


Except that transition tag is going to be worth ~6.5 million and the franchise tag ~12 and those are fully guaranteed. 20 million(would be top 6 for a DE right now) is all he can really expect on his first big contract. So really he would be hitting FA, or at least getting FA money at 27 which has pretty much always been the case for seniors. In fact it is better then a lot of seniors in years past.


Look at say Anthony Spencer. Drafted in 2007(pre wage scale) got basically the same first round dollars(probably less because his 5th year was  less then the 5th year team option) and then got tagged at 29 years old and is now 30 without ever having got that first big contract. Or how about Dwayne Bowe being 29 and only just getting that first big deal. 


The only rookies affected are top 10 picks and most of those were Jrs anyways. College football players are simply one more prepared younger these days and two realizing, which has always been the case, that football is a young mans game and the younger you can get that 2nd deal the better. I really don't think the CBA is to blame for the influx of Jrs. It was inevitable imo.  



thomascahill
thomascahill

Expand the draft back to 10 to 12 rounds with the stipulation that so many underclassmen declare for to be 8 round's, so many for 9 round's, etc., etc.,.

Expand the practice squads by two to four and allow teams to protect 2 to 4 players on the practice squad.

Expand rosters by 3; 1offensive 1special teams; 1 defensive. Raise payroll cap.

Invite the top 32 underclassmen to the senior bowl who have declared for the draft.

TheDistrict
TheDistrict

This is an excellent article with actual insight. Can he replace Pete King on a full-time basis?

Dean9
Dean9

I disagree with expansion not being an answer.   Large amounts of teams doesn't hurt college football or basketball.  It hurts owners and league revenues will have to be split.  Maybe you'd see more variety in how teams play as you would have to strategy to fit your personnel even more.  If expansion  would be bad then would contraction be good?  I don't see more teams hurting anything but profits.  Maybe with some competition ticket prices would go down so the average family could go see a game.  Maybe a more modest college type stadium would be enough instead of luxury stadiums with $100 starting points.  Maybe poor teams wouldn't lose so much money if they didn't invest as much in the first place.

JakeTiller
JakeTiller

Great articles, I really enjoy SI...

rcollett26
rcollett26

I don't feel bad for the players the NFL is a business... what other business pays a 23 year old 350k minimum salary...The players are college educated they know the odds of not in their favor of being successful at the next level... I get its their dream to play on Sunday but these kids need to be real and know there's only so many spots so get a education to fall back on...its not the NFL's fault these kids are leaving its there choice and their gambling on themselves that's fine but there's always consequence s when you fail so I don't feel bad for them most of these kids have had a free ride to a higher education so they should take advantage of it cause to rest of the population never gets that opportunity...

GregAtkin
GregAtkin

That a 14yr old Hawain female golfer can make millions on endorsements and no such opportunity exists for basketball or football players says all you need to know about who is calling the shots in America.

vamagman
vamagman

Is there any doubt that NFL players get complete screwed on the pay front--especially compared to MLB and NBA players? The rookie contract should be for no more than two years, not three. Good NFL players will basically get one good contract in their pro career--unless they are lucky enough to last more than six years in the league, and most aren't. Last year's free agents got completely shafted--lot of good players signed one-year deals for $1 million or less. 


You've got chubby baseball pitchers with career records under .500 making $5 to $10 million a year, throwing every five days, while NFL guys get far, far less and leave the game all banged up. Meanwhile, of course, the greedy owners and their lapdog commissioner want more games! Tough business for the players, who need a tougher union and who need some of the stars to take a stand, too. Belichick thinks rosters should be 70 or 75 players now--and given all the injuries, who could disagree? But then Goodell pretends that there really aren't all that many injuries. What a tool.   

gary41
gary41

Really nice article on several fronts.  Because of bigger seasons with more injuries, quality depth is now critical and a major concern of GM's who routinely have to make decisions with marginal players.  Being able to evaluate talent, as yet undeveloped, is more important today than ever, which makes the gulf between really good & poor front offices that much greater.  The smarter get better, just an extension of what we already know.  Is there front office friction within the Patriots??  Not if you ask Belichick. 

noogakl81
noogakl81

One overlooked problem here are the financial stakes for an underclassman if they get injured or underperform in their senior year. Look at Matt Barkley. If he had declared for the draft after his junior year, he likely would have been a top 5 pick. Instead he played his senior year, and didn't have a good one, and so he was picked at the beginning of the fourth round.


It is true that NFL careers are usually short, but the difference between getting first round money versus fourth round money is more than enough to pay to finish college if your career ends early.

Postulation
Postulation

The players dropped the ball in the last negotiation.  Everyone was focused on the cap total and they allowed the greedy owners to screw individual players.  Here's the thing.  For some reason, it seems most sports fans are more than happy to throw the players under the bus, calling them greedy.  That is crap.  Its the owners that are way more greedy.  Here's why.


Its understandable that owners did not want to pay too much for unproven talent in the draft.  Even though that is the definition of a free market and exactly what this country was founded upon, its understandable.  However, the complete and utter hypocrisy comes into play with these minimum contract lengths of 4 years plus and option for the team for first round picks.  Add in the franchise tag (not as bad, but still overly restrictive) and its 6 years before they can receive true market compensation.  Why should owners get it both ways - protected from overpaying and for those players who do outplay their contract, they can pay them less than what they are worth for an extended period of time. I don't care if they are already making many times more than the average worker.  Its artificially keeping the money away from the people to generate the interest from the fans.  I mean seriously, would you rather the owners pocket the money rather than the players?  How brainwashed is that thinking?


Like I said, its the players who messed up by agreeing to this wage scale so no tears from them, but I am baffled that most fans either can't understand who the bad guys are here or either simply don't care because they just want their team to have continuity.  Sad.

sjq294
sjq294

@J DiddyWith Moss, Brady did not have to throw the deep ball with accuracy, since Moss would jump higher than the defensive backs and haul in passes in his vicinity. Brady has never been able to throw the long ball with accuracy.

ianlinross
ianlinross

@shuggah21 That crystallizes the whole situation. Makers of their own problems.That's what Bedard should be writing about.

Mike26
Mike26

@CBSwriter I don't know - the NBA getting younger over the years hasn't done anything to improve the quality of THAT league....and the TV ratings have proven it.

Chris8
Chris8

@dcon3 Football itself might be a game.  Playing in the NFL... it's a lot more than just showing up on Sunday.  The physical demands alone are more than most any 9-5 "real" job.  And how exactly are they overpaid.  The league brings in billions of dollars.  Don't you think the players deserve to get a cut of that?

Or do you think that the players should make substantially less and that the owners should pocket more of it.  Because don't tell me you're stupid enough to think that money would somehow get back to the fans.

John Rotten
John Rotten

It's only a "game" to fans. In reality it's a 9 billion dollar a year business.

Chris8
Chris8

@westcoastbiasThey would still be a rookie when they signed their contract.  Just an older one.

CBSwriter
CBSwriter

@thomascahill As much as I'd like to see the draft go back to 10 rounds, it's not needed. Every player still gets to enter the league through undrafted free agency. Which makes that element as important as ever this year.

CBSwriter
CBSwriter

@TheDistrictNot only that secondhandspam, but the NFL getting younger is a good thing. "Watering down the product" Mr. Bedard? The product is already watered down. Check out the scoring numbers over the past five seasons. Up, up, up they go. Getting younger is a good thing. These players benefit from getting onto NFL rosters earlier, getting into the NFL game sooner. Why? The coaching, the systems, etc. No longer will they be spending an extra year or 2 in non-pro style offenses, being coached by lesser men. And yes, expansion is coming, so get used to it.

SecondHandSpam
SecondHandSpam

@TheDistrict Are you kidding? This is a guy who got butthurt over Josh Morgan and spent 500 words trying to libel him when he couldn't even type properly. He also can't even point out that the NFL is trying to game the draft because its teams engaged in a rookie salary arms race. That NCAA players are smart enough to maximize their earnings is not a bad thing. NFL GMs and scouts whining about it is hilarious.

Boodah
Boodah

@Dean9 Large amounts of teams may not hurt college football as an enterprise because the level of play is expected to be lower at non football factory schools anyway, but you can't compare that to the NFL. If the league expanded would you tune in to watch or pay for a ticket to a game involving the equivalents of a D1 program battling a scheduled D1AA cupcake? ...Something like The New England Patriots vs the fictional Omaha Rustlers?

CoreyHardin
CoreyHardin

@rcollett26 Stop saying college athletes have a free ride to an education.  These kids pay for that education through blood, sweat, and tears.  They aren't being given anything.  Being a Division I athlete is hard work and these football and basketball players are earning these universities billions of dollars in revenue, so cut the bull. Ask a player who has a permanent limp because he blew out his knee as a 19 year old was he given anything.

TheDistrict
TheDistrict

@rcollett26 Once again...the players who go to the NFL are the top .001% of what they do and they work in a multi-billion dollar business. So the pay argument is ridiculous. Also, why can't they just go back to college if their pro career doesn't work out? You'd be crazy to pass up a chance at the pros since your window is so small - you can go to college anytime. 

BY
BY

@Postulation Great post, very logical and well expressed. I agree 100%

J Diddy
J Diddy

@sjq294 You're right, Brady threw it up at the moon and Moss came down with it. Can you possibly marginalize football skill and talent at the highest level any more? Had some luck throwing it down field to Deion Branch, too, as I recall. Suppose Branch did all the work on those... 


Does Brady have a cannon? No. Is he more than capable of throwing the ball down field with success? Yes. If he wasn't a threat to throw the ball more than 30 yards defenses would be able to consistently stop him. They can't, even with poor receivers, was my point. 

Jamm90
Jamm90

@sjq294 @J Diddy Hate the pats, but have to admit Brady is one of the best ever. But he has never been a great deep ball thrower, he works on it every offseason and while he has gotten better, he'll never be at the level of a Rodgers, Rivers, Brees or Manning (pre-surgery). Wilson is a pretty good deep ball thrower, he´s got a great arm and nice touch on those deep shots. There's no problem in comparing some specific aspects of the game in a QB, I am sure Brady has no problem with it. He has his limitations, I bet he knows it, and at the end of the day he does have 3 big, shiny reasons not to worry about it.

Bjornagast
Bjornagast

@SecondHandSpam @TheDistrict Bedard knows the game, better than Peter King who loads more and more of his Monday morning pieces with non-NFL stuff. Bedard's main points are that the college players entering early don't know the game as well as before and have less tape. That makes it harder to figure out whether a kid belongs in the NFL and how good he'll be. Yes, CBSwriter, you can develop a less developed kid but you can only do that with so many players on the roster at a time--not enough to offset the rising level of inexperience in rookies. And the scoring numbers more likely reflect rules favoring offenses, not watered-down play. @SecondHandSpam: what do you mean "rookie salary arms race"? Aren't rookie salary levels largely set in stone with the new CBA? And NFL owners have to pay out a minimum floor of dollars for payroll, so it's not as if they can save big payroll money by encouraging more non-senior collegiates to enter the draft. 

ConfusionReigns
ConfusionReigns

@CoreyHardin They have the option not to participate.  I am really sick of the envy displayed, oh those poor young men, whoa to them because colleges earn billions off of them.  First of all most colleges don't, a few like Texas and Ohio State, etc do earn millions and are profitable.  The vast bulk of athletic departments end the year in the red, so it actually COSTS the universities and colleges, but then you don't care to acknowledge that do you.  


These kids DON'T have to do this, they don't have to go school and play a sport in fact a large number of them waste the opportunity, they see it as a path to the pros (which it can be) but most will never make it.  What it is, is an opportunity to learn skills that will help them for the rest of their lives.  Many will never graduate and many of them won't even have the basic skills to compete in life.  That is the fault of the system yes, but its also the failure of the individual to seize with both hands an invaluable opportunity.  Athletes are coddled, doted on, given a opportunities that others will never see and way too may times just piss it away.  

rcollett26
rcollett26

He was given the chance for a higher education at a university he made the choice to play football for that university.. He traded his ability for a education and a chance to market his name to the pros... and try and cash in... if he gets hurt that's life its not fair... The universities pay for all his training facilities his devolpment as a player and his medical needs and education when he plays for them with their name on his jersey its costs the university s millions to have these programs its the NCAA TV networks and bowls that cash in on that player products.. is it completely fair to the player no but he is he really getting mistreated no...

rcollett26
rcollett26

The NFL and its partners are corparte business there always going to look for there best interests.. Same as players that's why they signed the CBA it wasn't you and me that made the agreement so they have live with it...I don't think its fair Bradford as a rookie never thrown a pass in the NFL can demand Brees money...that's part of the reason the rams are still rebuilding... So idont think its that bad for the NFL to pay the players like they do the players know the risk they take when they try and go pro...Its the players job to come in a be successful to earn that paycheck. And earn the chance for jackpot payday... I myself would rather pay more for a proven commodity than take a chance and pay Millions for a 23 year old kid out of college who had maybe 1 or two good years... Wouldn't you... We all make choices theirs just has million dollar consequences

J Diddy
J Diddy

@Jamm90 Wilson throws a nice deep ball. Does he do it better than Brady? Ask me again in 10 years. You actually made my point: Rodgers, Brees, and Manning are fair comparisons for Brady's strengths and weaknesses. They are the best QBs of this era, and have a similar body of work to compare to. 


And you're probably overestimating Brady's collegiality (and underestimating his competitiveness). This is the guy that said he wasn't going to watch the Super Bowl and "didn't care" who won after the loss to the Broncos. I doubt he'd admit Wilson was better than him at putt putt, much less anything football related. :)

MikeHarrison
MikeHarrison

He AGREED to the deal. HE took it to the players, THE PLAYERS agreed to it.

How is something the NFL proposed, but the UNION AGREED TO as well as the players AGREED TO, the fault of the owners?

Maybe the idiot players should have thought about more than just money in the last deal, but I think it came down to this, the players who were in the league, made their money, they didn't care, much like Kobe didn't care that the new NBA deal hurts younger players either, he made his money, screw the rest. That's exactly what Bree's, Manning, Brady, etc wanted.

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