The hot rumor today is that the rookie wage scale is done and put to bed, the right of first refusal that the owners are seeking for this year is almost over, and only a few minor negotiations remain. The agreement is expected to tie the two together for the next 10 years under a new collective bargaining agreement. If this is ratified by both parties, and soon, possibly as early as this afternoon, then the NFL season will begin a week from Monday…possibly.
According to a report from ESPN, the rookie wage scale is almost identical to the one proposed by the players earlier in the week. A scale that includes an option for a 5th year for first round picks. The players agreed to go with a 5th year option provided that blocks of first round slots were paid in that 5th year at or near the top of the league at that position. In other words, if a player is performing to a teams like, the team can pay them upwards of the top 10 at that players position. If not, the team simply says good-bye to the player and they become a free agent.
With the 5th year option in place, teams will not longer, if I understand this correctly, will not longer be on the hook for a guaranteed deal in year 5 but instead will have at least a little cushion to bail on busted picks. At the same time, rookies who out perform their rookie contracts leading up to year 5 will be paid what they are worth comparable to the rest of the league.
All of this points to growing optimism that as of 3:00 Pm Eastern time today, has yet to be tempered with an ice cold bath of negativity.
But stay tuned…we all know that can change.