Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams are negotiating a possibly record-breaking contract. Sam Bradford’s first contract with the Rams could guarantee as much as $45 to $50 million for Bradford just signing the dotted line, and could open up new territory when it comes to rookie paydays. There is a reason that so many first-round draft picks have yet to sign their contracts for the 2010 NFL season, and it stems from the belief that Bradford will get so much guaranteed money in his contract that he shifts the entire rookie pay scale this year. A bit of perspective can be seen by the $41.7 million in guaranteed money that Matthew Stafford got last season from the Detroit Lions for being the No. 1 overall pick. Apparently, the rates have just gone up.
If it seems like it has been quite awhile since the 2010 NFL Draft took place, you are correct in that assessment. It has become commonplace for players to wait quite a bit of time for their teams to offer them large sums of money, and it has been obvious since the day that Sam Bradford was drafted that he was going to wait a long time to get to the negotiating table. Hopefully, the St. Louis Rams aren’t suffering from sticker shock now that they are at the table, because, according to ESPN, this deal with Bradford could re-set the bar when it comes to rookie contracts. Will Bradford really get $50 million guaranteed before even taking a single snap in the NFL? That is starting to look like a real possibility, if we listen to the NFL analysts out there right now.
It might be easy to get fooled into thinking that the guaranteed money being offered to Sam Bradford would be the extent of his contract, but don’t be fooled. Bradford’s contract is going to be quite extensive, with the guaranteed money just in there as more incentive for him to sign with the Rams. Because NFL contracts are not guaranteed, if a player gets injured, they can be cut from the team and lose out on the salary he would have made. This is why more and more players want guaranteed money in their NFL deals, because, even if they are cut or injured, the team will still have to pay off the guaranteed portions of the contract. JaMarcus Russell worked out a deal like that with the Oakland Raiders, and, because of the guaranteed money, is still forced to pay him even if he isn’t with the team anymore.
Sam Bradford is expected to be the savior of the St. Louis Rams franchise, and that is the reason he was the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma. He will get a huge payday no matter what the final numbers look like, but St. Louis could also basically break the system if they offer him too much money. Every other draft pick this year, as well as next year, will be looking at his deal to base their own demands. One of those players looking on with keen interest is going to be University of Washington quarterback Jake Locker, who is expected to be the No. 1 pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. Projected to be better than Bradford, he could break the record again next season when it’s his turn to deal.