Rookie Wage Scale To Promote Significantly Reduced Rookie Salaries

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28: A.J. Green, #4 overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals, holds up a jersey after he was drafted during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

An area of interest with the proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement that will greatly satisfy Bengals fans is the implementation of a new rookie wage scale. This means that the Bengals will no longer be held up with their first round draft picks during migraine-inducing negotiations. Cincinnati's previous seven first round draft picks have missed at least one practice, five of whom missed six days worth of Training Camp practices or more. Andre Smith missed 30 days in 2009, Justin Smith signing one day before the first regular season game in 2001, it's all over the map.

Year Player Pick Length of Hold Out
2010 Jermaine Gresham 21st Held out 5 days.
2009 Andre Smith 6th Held out 30 days
2008 Keith Rivers 9th Held out 10 days
2007 Leon Hall 18th Missed a practice on the first day of Training Camp
2006 Johnathan Joseph 24th Signed first day of camp.
2005 David Pollack 17th Held out 19 days
2004 Chris Perry 26th Held out 11 days
2003 Carson Palmer 1st Signed two days before the NFL Draft.
2002 Levi Jones 10th Signed first day of camp
2001 Justin Smith 4th Signed one day before first regular season game.

Thankfully, this era of holdouts with first round picks can finally come to an end.

According to NFL Network's Jason La Canfora (via PFT), NFLPA reps were "told in a presentation" on Wednesday that first overall draft pick, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, would make $22 million during the first four seasons on his contract. Because the CBA allows the fifth season to be a team option, that increases the salary that season to one of the top paid players in the league at that position, Newton could make upwards to $36 million over five seasons with that fifth year being worth $14 million.

To put the deal in perspective, Sam Bradford signed a six-year, $78 million contract with the Rams last year. He got $50 million guaranteed.

So at this point you can bet that Bengals fourth overall pick won't be making more than $22 million over the first four seasons.

Comparatively speaking, Andrew Smith, the Bengals sixth overall pick in 2009, signed a six-year deal worth $42 million, $21 million guaranteed with an option after four seasons. Green would likely see significantly less than that.

Most importantly, Green won't likely be a holdout. How does that sound?

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