Sam Bradford to command $50 million guaranteed?

An report by Adam Schefter says that Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford will command in the range of $50 million in guaranteed money when he signs as the No. 1 overall pick in next week’s draft.

The contract for the No. 1 overall pick will likely be staggering. Bradford’s contract is expected to pay him an average of $13 million a season with roughly $50 million in guaranteed money. These figures are based on the past two drafts, when Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford were the first quarterbacks picked.

Two years ago, the Falcons’ Ryan received $34 million in guaranteed money on a deal that averages $11 million a season. Stafford, who was picked No. 1 last season by the Lions, received $42 million in guaranteed money on his deal, which averages $12 million a season.

It’s no secret that the rookie salary structure is completely ludicrous in the NFL and it’s something that the league will eventually have to change or else it’ll keep getting worse. A player that has never once stepped on the field should never command more money than anyone on the team’s current roster. It just doesn’t make any sense.

That said, Bradford might as well cash in when he can. If the owners and player’s union come together on a new CBA deal for next season, one of the items that might be changed is the salary structure for rookies. Commissioner Roger Goodell is on record saying that the league could make a change, but he’s going to need the approval of the player’s union first, which could prove to be a high hurdle to jump.

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Who gave in — Crabtree or the 49ers?

NINER NOISE poses that very question.

Who gave in? Crabtree of course. McClouhan at no point gave into the demands of Crabtree and his inner circle. He said the offer is what is, take it or leave it. He did not receive the money he was looking for and the 49ers gave him more money in guarantees than originally offered but it was lower than the 9th pick B.J. Raji’s $18 million and higher than the 11th pick, Aaron Maybin, received which was $15 million.

No one will really know why Crabtree decided to sign. Was it the 3-1 start by the Niners? Was it the Jets trading for WR Braylon Edwards and him thinking that he would not get the money Deion Sanders was saying two other teams would pay him? Was it selfishness, like the holdout, that made him sign? Meaning he knew how much money he would lose by sitting out the season and also hurting his draft stock value if he returned to the NFL draft next year.

Every week Crabtree held out, his stock continued to fall. He wasn’t going to be drafted as high next season because teams knew that he was going to be a pain to sign. So if he didn’t take the 49ers’ deal, he had to hope that he was enough of a distraction to force a trade. But the 49ers played hard ball and won. But by holding out in the first place, Crabtree ensured that both sides lose. He’s at least two months behind, and who knows what kind of shape he’s in. He’s going to have a tough time making a big impact this season.

The rookie salary structure in the NFL is so screwed up that it should have made my list of the 10 Dumbest Things In Sports. It’s beyond me why any player, having not played a down in the NFL, feels that he can hold out for more than the obscene amount of money that he’s already being offered. The NFL needs to go to a format that is more like the NBA, where each draft slot has a specific dollar value attached to it based on the salary cap and league revenue.

Crabtree might not sign until September

According to a report by the San Jose Mercury News, 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree might not sign a contract until September at the earliest.

The key: (Eugene) Parker doesn’t want to budge, well, at least until September, on his demands for a slot-busting deal that would get Crabtree something close to one of the biggest guarantees among the rookie deals of ‘09, despite his being drafted 10th.

Parker’s reputation, for now and in recruiting for future No. 1 picks, is at stake.

The bigger key: The 49ers aren’t budging either, well, at least until September, on their insistence that Crabtree’s deal remain generally in line with his No. 10 slot and beneath the guarantees of the deals for the players selected ahead of him.

The 49ers’ desire to be an unbully-able team is at stake.

The largest key: Crabtree’s absence might be jeopardizing his ability to produce right away, but he’s not jeopardizing any serious money until the week of Sept. 13–that first game check.

This is ridiculous on the part of Crabtree’s agent, who is trying to get his client a better deal than what his draft slot would garner. It doesn’t matter that the consensus was that Crabtree should have been taken in the top 5 because he wasn’t – he was taken with the 10th overall pick and thus should be paid like a 10th overall pick.

I side with the 49ers in this situation. They shouldn’t have to pay a player based on what draft slot his agent felt his client should have been taken in. While it would be incredibly frustrating not to have their first round pick contribute for an entire season, the Niners can’t give into Parker’s demands because then every agent will try to get his client a more lucrative contract than what the player’s draft slot is worth.

The NFL rookie salary structure is already messed up as it is. If Crabtree (again, the No. 10 pick) gets paid like a 2nd or 3rd overall pick, then the situation will provide further proof that the league has to change how its rookie salary structure is set up.

Michael Crabtree to re-enter draft?

According to a report by, the cousin and adviser (whatever that entails) of Michael Crabtree states that the rookie wideout is prepared to sit out the entire 2009 season and re-enter the NFL draft in 2010 if he doesn’t get fair market value in terms of his contract.

“We are prepared to do it,” Wells said. “Michael just wants fair-market value. They took him with the 10th pick and you have Darrius Heyward-Bey [the seventh overall pick by the Oakland Raiders] getting $38 million? This week is crucial. Michael was one of the best players in the draft and he just wants to be paid like one of the best players. This week is very crucial.”

Crabtree’s agent, Eugene Parker, says that no such threat has been made, although he also says that the 49ers’ initial contract offer is not acceptable. suggests that Parker had promised Crabtree that he would be drafted in the top three and now is trying to get the rookie top three money, although that hasn’t been proven.

I highly doubt that Crabtree will sit the entire 2009 season if he doesn’t receive the contract that he and his agent wants. Besides, it wouldn’t be in his best interest to do that, seeing as how teams picking at the top of the draft next year would likely stay away from him knowing that he was out of football for a year and would be a hassle to sign.

I’m assuming that San Fran will have to get close to the number that the Raiders gave Heyward-Bey, although I don’t blame the Niners if they feel that they don’t have to match that number considering Heyward-Bey was taken three spots ahead of Crabtree in the draft. Considering the rookie salary structure is already screwed up, teams shouldn’t have to pay players for the draft slot that their agents felt they should have been taken in.

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