An Open Letter to Roger Goodell

Dear Commish:

I realize you’re extremely busy with Michael Vick’s return to mediocrity on the football field, Plaxico Burress’ impending trial for being a moron and your brilliant decision to stretch the NFL Draft over an entire week, but I was wondering if you could set aside some time to repair the flawed system that allows for 28 of 32 rookie first-round picks to still be unsigned as of July 28th.

If I remember correctly, the 2009 Draft was held the weekend of April 25th and 26th. Right? Okay, I just wanted to get my dates straight. That was over three months ago by my calculations. Seems like more than enough days to successfully negotiate all the rookie contracts, don’t you think? And yet, as I type this, only 4 have inked deals. That would be F-O-U-R, Mr. Goodell.

If you are as dedicated to improving the image of the league as you say you are, might I suggest you stop holding press conferences detailing the futures of convicted criminals and instead concentrate your efforts on dealing with a REAL problem.

It’s very simple, Rog. Sit down with NFLPA Chief DeMaurice Smith, the 32 owners and all the major player agents and demand they pull their collective heads out of their collective asses. They, and you, are ruining the integrity of the game by continuing to turn a blind eye to the fact that on the eve of training camps every year, the majority of first-rounders are sitting at home playing fake football on their XBoxes rather than participating in actual football with the teams that drafted them.

I don’t want to hear all the garbage about players deserve the best deal possible, either. I agree wholeheartedly. However, all teams are allotted a pool of cash for rookies. Each opening round selection is slotted to earn a certain amount of said cash. So, what’s the holdup? If the top pick inked a deal three months ago, then everyone else should easily fall in line. It’s like dominoes, Rog. Drop one, all the rest shall fall.

Apparently, the domino concept is lost on agents and owners. Since you’re so very busy, Mr. Commish, I took the liberty of solving this conundrum for you. It’s really quite simple. You seem to like deadlines. I too like deadlines. So, pick a date every year. For argument’s sake, let’s choose July 25th. Next, issue a league-wide policy stating in no uncertain terms that all rookies must be signed by said date, or each player and team will be severely punished.

To ensure these soon-to-be rich athletes and even richer owners don’t shrug their shoulders at the threat of penalty, we’ll make certain it’s more substantial than the customary NFL slap on the wrist. If a player and his agent miss the deadline, the player will forgo half of his signing bonus, and donate the money to one of the NFL’s favorite charities. No excuses. In turn, the owner will be stripped of the following year’s first-round selection.

Both parties lose something they value. That’s what I call a solution. If you want to present yourself as being a guy who likes to play hardball, Rog, then you’ll consider my proposal. Please take the time, in between interviews about Vick, to read this letter. You’ll be doing the fans, players, teams and yourself a service. You have a problem that needs your full attention. Now is the time to address it.

Sincerely,

Your friends at ITI

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Tags: Eagles Training Camp 2009 Fixing The Rookie Salary System Unsigned First-round Draft Picks

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