July 25, 2017

In Labor: Will I Kiss the Baby?

If there's a rookie wage scale, I'm ready to pucker up

I’ve largely stayed out of the NFL’s labor dispute because if you’re like me, you’d rather not listen to two parties bicker over millions while you work to keep food on the table and the occasional beer in your refrigerator. But, it seems that the NFL and the league’s players are closing in on a deal that would restore football as we were used to it. And for Bengals fans, that means the bad kind. But there might be some good news as well.

Anyway, ESPN’s stable of writers released what is believed to be some of the terms of the new deal and it includes some interesting parameters as far as the Bengals are concerned. The salary floor – the minimum amount of money a team can spend – will be increasing in the new deal. That’s believed to be a concern for small market teams like the Bills and Bengals. But knowing what we know about the Bengals’ profit margin (which is considerable, according to Forbes), Mike Brown can afford to spend a little more money. And now, he may have to, which is a good thing.

But for me, the most exciting part of the reported new deal (insert FDR reference here) is the rookie wage scale. I’ve seen too many Bengals rookies ruined by Mike Brown’s stubbornness in negotiations.

Go ahead Andre Smith. Show up late, fat and break a foot. But I’m going to save 10 bucks.

It was often the most painful part of my summer, watching Bengals rookies hold out, often much longer than was prudent or necessary, wasting their first year and in some instances, hurting their chances for long-term success (Akili Smith comes to mind). If the NFL moves closer to a rookie wage scale like the NBA has – which seems to be precisely what is happening – those stare-downs should be things of the past. And all of the rookies – including those who are Bengals – should report on time.

To me, this entire labor mess will be worth it if it eliminates those holdouts that often ruin the Bengals rookies – and the excitement surrounding them – before they ever play their first game.

Perhaps these labor pains will end soon.

And if there is a rookie-wage scale, I’ll be happy to kiss the baby.


Click the image to read the story from ESPN.com