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         With the start of the NFL season looming, I can’t help but already begin thinking about the draft. Yes the rookie draft. Undoubtedly, no matter who your favorite team is, you can’t help but think where they need help and who could help them.
           Like clockwork, college football has simultaneously begun to show us a glimpse into who the stars of tomorrow are; and NFL teams and fans are watching; but buyers beware.
Even the mildly interested fan has noticed the astonishing amount of money paid to rookie athletes based on expectations and not performance.
           Let’s face it; while the college game has certainly tried to mimic the professional one and increase parody while trying to create a level playing field, it’s no where near the level of the NFL, not even at its most basic level. Time and time again we’ve seen exceptional college players struggle if not fail on the professional playing field; Lions fans you know what I’m talking about. But it’s not just you. Every team in the National Football League has overpaid for players the excelled among amateurs and have fallen flat on their faces against elite competition.
Obviously I cannot blame the players for getting paid but I do believe the NFL and its owners have brought this on themselves. But the good news is I believe it can be fixed.
           In order to fix this trend, not only in the NFL but also in most every other sport that continues to reward their players on the expectations of future achievements, teams must begin to reward players on the merit they’ve earned. It’s time for the Commissioners of the major sports and team Owners to create pay ceilings. Now don’t freak out. I’m not saying professional athletes don’t deserve the huge amounts of money they’re making; I just don’t believe all of them have earned it.
           Under the pay ceilings plan, teams could only award base contracts to a certain point. After that, teams would be free to laden the players’ contracts with performance incentives to any point to which they like. Obviously players like Tom Brady, Payton Manning, Chad Ocho Cinco Johnson, and others would be compensated for years of consistent upper echelon play. At the same time, players like Charles Rogers, Mike Williams and host of others that for one reason or another simply have not translated their games to the NFL game would then not be over compensated for a lack of performance.
           Once a player meets his benchmarks set forth by his team or possibly league, his ceiling would increase, and remain with him to award his years of consistently meeting and exceeding expectation.
           Not only would this plan reward excellence and limit draft day and contractual mistakes, possibly caused by lack of skill or personal issues, it would also significantly decrease holdouts and trade demands we see each offseason.
           It’s time the professional sporting world gets their inflated pay scale in check. Start limiting the amount of money paid based on potential and reward those who actually thrive when it counts. Â

Does professional sports need to clean up its salary system? Log on to Phanlanx Message Board and let’s hear your ideas.

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