ESPN.com’s James Walker explored one of the possible provisions of a new labor agreement, an expected increase to the salary floor (the minimum a team can spend on its players). We’ve written about that before here and Walker is right, the new deal could be very good news for Bengals fans. But he also missed another important factor. Along with an increase in minimum salaries, a rookie wage scale is expected to be part of the new deal, which is great news for a fan base that has witnessed one too many rookie holdouts.
Walker thinks the increased salary floor will make the Bengals more likely to bring back both Johnathan Joseph (who is expected to get big money as a cornerback) and Cedric Benson (who probably won’t get nearly as much). He also argues that a general manager would be a wise investment – and it would be – but we all know that’s not going to happen.
To me, the best thing about what’s expected in the new labor deal is the rookie wage scale. Without a general manager and a beefed-up scouting department, the Bengals are still going to make mistakes in matters of personnel. Spending more money won’t prevent the team from spending it stupidly. But the rookie wage scale should make paying draft picks almost automatic (read: should), which can help prevent those extended holdouts that have seriously harmed the careers of too many Bengals (Andre Smith, Akili Smith, etc. etc. etc.). And that’s good news for Bengals fans.
In the end, all the headaches of this NFL labor dispute might be worth it. The new deal won’t fix every malfunction of our beloved team, but it just might make a few things better.
And we’ll take every victory that we can get.
Click the image to read Walker’s entire article