One of the sticking points of the new NFL collective bargaining agreement — signed last summer, after the 2011 NFL draft — was that a rookie salary cap system was implemented. A side effect of that deal was quite noticeable at Thursday night’s draft: There were a ton of trades!
Out of the top ten selections, only four teams actually selected where they were drawn. The No. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 picks weren’t made by the original team that held it. Now that’s excitement.
Before the draft even started we saw the Redskins move up to No. 2 (weeks ago) and the Browns move up one slot to No. 3 less than an hour before the first pick.
But why did this all happen? Because teams are no longer affraid of being married to draft picks that will tie up their salary caps or even hold them hostage during initial negotiations. What leverage does a draftee have when he’s set to make a certain amount of money due to whatever slot he’s drafted in?
And without in-exorbitant bonuses to paid and record deals every season, teams can actually enjoy high picks without being screwed too much if they bust.
There’s more value for those picks now and more incentive to try to trade up for the guy you want. That’s what we saw last night and I hope that’s what we’ll continue to see in years to come.
Because, after all, that’s entertainment and entertainment’s the business the NFL is in.