One of the few things I will never understand in the NFL is how all these top draft picks are getting paid obscene amounts of money before they even take a professional snap. With training camps beginning and all of these players signing their rookie contracts, I am blown away by the kind of jack these franchises are dishing out to these kids.
Take Sam Bradford for example. The former Oklahoma Sooner just inked an $80 million deal over 6 years with $50 million of that guaranteed. Dude can blow his knee out tomorrow, never play a down in the NFL, and crutch his gimp ass all the way to the bank. Sam Bradford did win a Heisman trophy and was the starting quarterback on a perennial national championship contender the past 1 1/2 years. I say 1/2 because he got injured half way through the season. He has a surgically repaired shoulder that can go at any given sack he takes. On the other hand, Sam Bradford could light it up his rookie season, lead the pathetic excuse for a franchise known as the St. Louis Rams to the playoffs, and earn Offensive Rookie of the Year. Sam Bradford could go on and have a Peyton Manning career with 5 MVP's, a few Super Bowl rings, and a super-model wife (ok, that's a little more Tom Brady than Manning but fuck Michigan). Just because he torched college teams for 400 passing yards and 3 touchdowns back in school doesn't mean he can do that against professional defensive backs. History also can speak loudly about the first overall pick being used on quarterbacks. What's Tim Couch, Ryan Leaf, and Jamarcus Russell doing right now besides counting their whopping signing bonuses?
What's funny about these rookies getting paid is the fact that you have all these veterans who are holding out of training camp because they want a new deal. These players feel they have outplayed their rookie deals and decide to hold out from their team's training camp. Seventh overall pick Joe Haden just signed his 5 year $50 million contract with $26 million of that guaranteed. Before the weekend, Nnamdi Asomugha was the highest paid cornerback in the league. Now, $50 million later, Joe Haden can hold that title. Without even taking an NFL snap. Derrelle Revis who was drafted in 2007 by the New York Jets at number 14 signed a rookie deal of $30 million with $11 million of that guaranteed over 6 years. Now, Joe Haden was picked at number 7 and the rookie pay scale is gradually increasing every year but the Browns' rookie is almost making double of what Revis signed for. Revis has only played 3 seasons in the pros but he has shown that he will be a stud in this league for the next 5-8 years. Joe Haden started playing cornerback in college. Haden was a high school quarterback so he is still learning the position. Joe Haden was such a freak of an athlete that he was bound to tear it up in college. College teams win because they usually possess players with speed and an abundance of athleticism. That doesn't work in the pros. You need football players if you're trying to win on the professional level. You need a smart player who understands every aspect of the game. I'm not writing off Joe Haden but you need the kid to step in and start playing right away, not learn the position. That is where all of Revis' leverage should be coming from when he meets with General Manager Mike Tannenbaum. He should say, "Look, this scrub just got $50 million before even taking an NFL snap. I am an All-Pro and many experts call me the best corner in the game. Fuck you, pay me.". Or something along those lines.
Lastly, do not be shocked when you see these rookies getting into a little bit of trouble. If you were 21 or 22 and just signed a contract for millions of dollars and probably making a few more mil in endorsements, would you be having a little fun? Yeah, me too. I would be on the first thing smoking to Vegas, shack up in Villa, hit every club, gamble my Gatorade endorsement away, and drink my face off. I'm talking hookers, yachts, choppers, Phantoms all on the regular. These kids see all those zeroes on their deal and they feel like they're the king. After they scratch their agent a commish check they are going straight to the Mercedes dealer and picking up the new S 550 and throwing some D's on that bitch. So a message to all of these GM's, show your playmakers the money.