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04.08.2018 17:05
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If its early July, NFL players must be rolling their eyes over NBA free-agent contracts. The floodgates opened last week with basketball free agency, and many NFL players interrupted their offseasons to tweet rueful comments.Only the temperature differentiates this phenomenon from the one that occurs every December, when NFL players double down on their angst during Major League Baseballs free-agency period. Its a biannual bellyaching session that always hits the same jealous notes about guaranteed money and whopping salaries for midrange players.But simple storylines can make for false equivalencies, and comparing NFL contracts to NBA contracts is like equating apples to ... well ... 747s.Its basic math, said George Atallah, the NFLPAs assistant executive director for external affairs, said Tuesday. Our business has 53 players per team. Theirs has 13. Our average career length is three and a half years. Theirs is longer. It just doesnt make sense to compare.But since Atallahs own constituents are the ones making the comparisons, its worth examining nonetheless.The main reason NFL contracts arent -- and never will be -- NBA contracts is that the NFLs workforce is a unique one, with unique concerns. The owners locked out the players in 2011 over the revenue split, which meant the players werent getting back on the field without agreeing to a smaller portion of the pie. In exchange, the union fought for and secured things such as injury protections in contracts, a salary floor and improved benefits packages that includes health care and pensions for players and their families for life. If your average career length is only three and a half years and your injury rate is 100 percent, health care in perpetuity carries significant value.But oh, those numbers.?Timofey Mozgov got $64 million guaranteed from the Lakers as the NBA cap skyrocketed at an unprecedented pace, while?Eli Manning and Philip Rivers?received $65 million in not-exactly-guarantees last NFL offseason.Part of the issue is an NBA system that imposes maximum salaries on veterans tied to service time and the salary cap. If there were no cap and unfettered free agency, teams could and likely would offer LeBron James more than $60 million a year. But as of now, hes capped around $30 million (which is one reason he keeps opting out after one year and renegotiating as the cap and his service time go up). The extra money has to go somewhere, which is how Mozgov and Mike Conley, whos now making more annually than any NFL player ($30.5 million),?get paid like superstars.But isnt there more money to go around in the NFL? If the NBA generated $5.2 billion in revenue last year and the players get 50 percent of that, then theyre sharing $2.6 billion. Meanwhile, NFL players received $6.11 billion of the $13 billion in total revenue (47 percent). Those are raw numbers that can be picked apart, but you get the idea. In general, part of the issue the complaining NFL players have is that their league is making twice as much money and their contracts arent nearly as lucrative.Thats where Atallahs basic math comes in. There are 1,696 active players on NFL rosters at any given time during the season (plus the many on injured reserve, who are getting paid); there are 390 on NBA rosters. $2.6 billion divided by 390 is a lot higher number than $6.11 billion divided by 1,696. So its actually not crazy that Mozgov (sorry to keep picking on you, Timofey) now makes more per year than any current wide receiver does.Where NFL players really get upset is over the issue of guarantees. But there, they have only themselves to blame. Theres nothing in the NBA or MLB collective bargaining agreements that requires contracts to be fully guaranteed, just as theres nothing in the NFL collective bargaining agreement that prohibits it. Over the years, baseball and basketball players have used their free-agent leverage to demand fully guaranteed deals, and as a result that became the standard.Fully guaranteed contracts in the NFL wont arrive until some player who wields significant leverage insists on it and is willing to walk away from the table over it. Agents and players hoped that someone like Russell Wilson last year or Andrew Luck this year would breach that barrier, but neither did. Artificial constraints such as the franchise tag make it difficult, sure. The Colts could have held onto Luck another two years, possibly three, without committing long term if he dug in on guarantees and they didnt want to break. But hypothetically, if Luck had insisted he wouldnt sign without a full guarantee, the Colts may eventually have gotten scared about losing him and caved. We will never know, and it could be a while before any player arrives at the bargaining table with Luck-level leverage.Its not all bad for NFL players. The new CBA has brought injury guarantees and has resulted in fully guaranteed deals for first-round rookies. Even with the new rookie wage scale the NFL instituted in 2011, youd rather have Jared Goffs contract than Ben Simmons contract. But thats the early-career end of the market, and the deals blowing everybodys minds right now are for players in the middle of their careers.In that respect, the NFL had a decent year. Players such as?Malik Jackson and Olivier Vernon signed deals whose size shocked a lot of people and moved the market at their position. Neither is a superstar and Vernon especially is unproven relative to the contract he got. The scale of his deal doesnt rattle public opinion the way Conleys contract did in the NBA, but down the road it will matter to NFL players who want to make more. They just have to realize that, no matter what, theyre not going to be making NBA money. The math just doesnt make sense. Yasiel Puig Jersey . Malkin got tangled up with Detroits Luke Glendening early in the third period and his left skate took the brunt of collision with the boards behind Pittsburghs net. Enrique Hernandez Jersey . 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