The San Francisco 49ers have traded for draft bust Blaine Gabbert to be a backup quarterback and will pay him twice as much in 2014 as they will pay their starting quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. This is just the latest evidence that the rookie wage scale is still out of whack in the NFL (cont. below).
In 2010, Sam Bradford signed a 6-year, $US78 million contract ($50 million guaranteed), before he ever played a down in the NFL. A year later, Cam Newton’s rookie contract was worth just $US22 million (all guaranteed) as the NFL moved to reel in rookie salaries during the 2011 lockout.
But with rookies locked into four-year contracts and unable to renegotiate in the first three years, it is impossible for young players not drafted in the first round to be rewarded for playing well even if teams wanted to.
Instead, Gabbert will have made $US12.0 million in his career by the end of the 2014 season, 134% more than Kaepernick, just because Gabbert was drafted 26 spots ahead of Kaepernick in the 2011 draft.
In other words, Gabbert is being paid for what he did in college and at the NFL combine, and neither quarterback is being paid for what they have done in the NFL.
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