Goodell Speaks Out Against Rookie Salaries

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is the latest NFL person to say the system that pays untested rookies better than most veteran is broken. It's possible rookie salaries could be addressed in the next collective bargaining agreement.

There may be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel for those concerned about the owners opting out of the current collective bargaining agreement.

NFL Commissioner's Roger Goodell's frank assessment of the pay that rookies receive has been a sticking point with a lot of players over the years, as well as fans. Goodell spoke directly about the contract signed by first overall pick Jake Long, whose five-year, $57.75 million deal makes him one of the highest paid players in NFL history without ever playing a down in the league.

"There's something wrong about the system," Goodell said. "The money should go to people who perform."

Why would Goodell go out of his way to take a jab at the cost of rookies? Simple. It might be a bargaining chip he could use in his effort to stem off a potential lockout by owners if the current CBA expires and 2010 becomes an uncapped year.

There have been other proposals mentioned that could be used as ways of appeasing owners who believe they got the short end of the last CBA. One has been to eliminate a preseason game and institute a 17-week regular season. That has flaws, however, since it would give some teams nine home games while others get eight. Unless that plan would include giving all teams from one conference or division the same number of home games in each given year, someone is sure to cry foul. Another possible plan is to reduce the cost of the rookie contracts, which would leave more money for veteran players.

The NFL continues to head down the path to labor unrest, but it is encouraging to see the commissioner throwing out potential olive branches that may help appease the players union.


  • Ray Edwards is recovering from the back injury that sidelined him at minicamp and is expected to be 100 percent by the time training camp starts.

  • Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commissioner Executive Director Bill Lester confirmed a report in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal that the group is going to issue proposals in July for contractors and architects to begin advanced planning work on a new stadium site for the Vikings. The selection is expected to be made Aug. 17 when the commission meets next. Despite no approval from the state for a new stadium, Lester's move may be a wise one considering that escalating stadium construction costs – about $45-50 million a year – would have the plans ready for a multi-use facility when and if it gets approved at the next session of the Legislature. Construction could begin almost immediately if approved.

  • Add Pittsburgh RB Najeh Davenport to the growing list of unsigned veteran RBs. Thanks to acquiring Mewelde Moore in free agency and drafting Rashard Mendenhall in the first round of this year's draft, there was no room for Davenport, who joins the likes of Shaun Alexander, Kevin Jones, Travis Henry, Cedric Benson and Ron Dayne on the unemployment line less than a month before the start of training camp.

  • From the It's Too Crazy Not To Be True Department comes this: 300-plus pound former defensive tackle Warren Sapp wants to be the next athlete robbed of his dignity on the TV show "Dancing With the Stars." Although former NFLers like Jason Taylor, Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice all did well on the show, they are much leaner than the puffy Sapp. If there was a contest for doing cannonballs into a swimming pool, Sapp would be near the top of the list. But dancing the cha-cha? We're not convinced.

  • Viking Update Top Stories