Well the deal finally got done (after missing a number of days of training camp) and now all the Lions draft picks are signed. As much fun as the NFL has made the draft, the contract negotiations following the draft have been a point of pain for me. First off, the draft still is and always will be a sort of gambling. You are playing your odds with the number of picks you have on the available talent. You are guaranteed to have busts, but you hope that they are lower down the draft board, because if you bust on a first rounder, you have lost approximately $15 million in cap room for the next year or possible $12 million the following year for releasing a player.
These rookies are all gambles. Anyone of the players in the draft could turn out to not be able to make the transition to the pros. At the same point, some who you would not expect to flourish, will. So why are the teams paying early rounders millions in guaranteed money when they have not played a down? Why not just set a salary cap on each pick in the draft set by the NFL. Make it flexible enough that the agents and teams can still work out deals in there using incentives and what not, but make the guarantees not be so terminally high. This is what destroys parity in the NFL. (I also know bad GMs and coaches destroy parity as well)
Right now, I really feel bad for the Cleveland Browns. They moved up on draft day to pick up Brady Quinn (so they lost some draft picks) at pick 22. But Quinn is now refusing to come under contract for anything less that top 10 money essentially missing all of training camp. At this rate, he is likely to miss all of preseason and is therefore a bust this year, although you really aren't paying him yet. But come on, do you really expect to be paid the same as pick 21? Ridiculous.
So my message to the NFL is put some sort of system in place for signing rookies that actually is able to make preseason fun again, instead of the pain of watching these highly touted players feel like pampered babies.