The Draft Winds Have Blown Through – Now What?

Draft season in professional sports has come and gone – and if the name John Tavares doesn’t ring a bell, then you may have missed the fact that it was actually the NHL Entry Draft over the last couple days that ended that rite of spring (and early summer) for fans of teams clinging to eternal hope for a new generation of stars to grace their hometown arenas and stadiums.

But consider this – the average career of a Major League Baseball player is 5.6 years, while the average NBA player enjoys a career of 4.82 seasons and an NFL career averages only 3 1/2 seasons.

With this in mind, Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post has put together a nice piece on the differences in rookie contracts among the three major leagues (sorry about that again, NHL fans).

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As he points out, despite the high-profile negotiations of a few key members at the top of each incoming class of draftees, the majority of the rest have a goal to “get to the second contract.”  And since the majority won’t ever see that second contract, the terms of those rookie contracts become paramount for the newly drafted players.

Brandt does a great job of highlighting the nuances of each league’s current rookie contract guidelines. 

My personal feeling is that this is the one time that the NBA really got it right while the NFL clearly has some work to do. 

And those “recommendations” provided by the commissioner’s office in MLB?  Bud Selig and his gang really continue to tempt the fate of that historic antitrust exemption, don’t they?

So, while NBA players will quickly be signed and participating for their teams’ summer league entries, draft season will quickly morph into holdout season for the NFL and MLB. 

With training camp opening within the next month or so in the NFL, it should become quickly apparent as to which rookies are trying to buck the system and negotiate outside the practiced norms. 

MLB has gone to a hard date of August 15th for this year’s class to be signed by their drafting teams or for those teams to lose the rights (while the player must wait until the following June’s draft for future consideration). 

Scott Boras, therefore, will get plenty of press in the next 6 weeks but will thankfully be out of the headlines (at least temporarily) by the time the pennant races heat up.

So, as silly season moves ahead and more attention is paid in the days ahead to agents and number-crunchers than on-field achievements, take a deep breath and appreciate that the short length of players’ careers dictates that they maximize these initial deals. 

And know that the games on the field will overtake the nonsense off it soon enough.  They always do.

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~ by acm213 on June 27, 2009.

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