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NFL Lockout 2011: Deal Reached On Rookie Wage Scale

While the NFL and NFLPA are still reportedly far apart on some issues, it appears they've found some common ground on at least one issue... taking money from rookies. The NFL has wanted to curb rookie salaries for this entire process and the players don't mind selling out guys that aren't a part of their union yet, so it's not a huge surprise that they've come to an agreement on a new rookie wage scale.

Actually, it's probably the wrong connotation to say that the current players have "sold out" the rookies. There are some advantages to the young guys built in.

First, there will be a roll back in the amount of guaranteed money and signing bonuses offered to the top picks. The tops guys will be making less money when they come into the league. However, first round picks will now be limited to signing four year contracts as opposed to the five or six year deals they previously signed. This has a two pronged effect. For one, the owners are on the hook for less years if the guy is a Jamarcus Russell level bust. However, it also gives the players who do excel a chance to get to free agency earlier. Now, if a team decides it wants to keep a guy, they're going to have to re-do his deal after 3 seasons rather than 4 or 5 as been the case previously.

In addition, everyone picked after the first round can not sign a deal longer than three years. Those players can become restricted free agents after their third year. Again, this gives these guys a chance to get a big contract earlier if they've earned it.

The deal also reportedly involves the owners being allowed to insert more language into contracts which allows them to recoup more signing bonus money from players who run afoul of the law.