Aaron Donald’s holdout stems from NFL’s unfair rookie-wage scale – Orange County Register

Back in July 2011, as a heated standoff over a new collective bargaining agreement continued into its fourth month, NFL owners and the players association found themselves at one final impasse over how to pay rookies.

Owners wanted first-round picks, whose contracts had ballooned into the tens of millions, to be under team control for at least five years. The players association agreed that rookies shouldn’t be among the league’s highest paid, but demanded a quicker route to free agency.

The players blinked first. As Cam Newton waited to sign his deal as the No. 1 overall pick, the NFLPA agreed to a wage-scale system that would keep him under team control for four years and $22 million — less than half the guaranteed money that the Rams handed over to Sam Bradford the year before.

Still, the owners wanted more. In a Washington Post editorial, Packers president Mark Murphy wrote that “the system is so bad that some teams no longer want picks in the top part of the first round.” In a months-long PR battle, they pushed this message relentlessly, “No other business operates this way,” Murphy said, “and no other union gives its entry-level hires such privileges.”

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