Yardbarker Horiz

2012 NFL Draft Countdown

Friday, July 22, 2011

College Free Agency Could Start Sunday

It's going to become an event Buccaneers fans look forward to every year.

Each year, around 250 college football players are drafted by the NFL.  Given there are around 110 Division I (not to mention Divisions II and III, plus other smaller college affiliations) schools with anywhere from 5-25 players completing their college careers each year, that's 250 picks from a potential pool of well over 25,000 players, or just about 1%.

The other 99% gets one last chance at the dream through college free agency (well, not the absolute last shot, but getting pretty far down the line).  This is when the 32 NFL teams can descend upon the remaining college talent pool and dig deep, look for long shots, or find a diamond in the rough.

Undrafted talent currently resides on the Tampa Bay roster in the persons of Kregg Lumpkin and Ryan Purvis (undrafted in 2009) as well as George Johnson, Derek Hardman, and LeGarrette Blount (all undrafted in 2010).

If the players can get the NFLPA Union back together in the next day or so the league can get the process of signing these players underway.

And Buccaneer fans will get a new glimpse of the future!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rookies Should Get To Camp On Time

It appears the new collective bargaining agreement, which may be put into effect before the end of the week, will contain a provision the NFL owners were looking for:  a rookie salary structure.

This is important to owners as it keeps high draft picks from consuming a large chunk of cap money when it is not clear how the player will adapt to the league.  Gone will be the days of a fresh-out-of-college quarterback getting a bigger paycheck than those quarterbacks in the NFL wearing super bowl rings.

The details will not be known until everything has a bow on it, but some things will be hard to include.  There will most likely be some personal conduct verbiage standard, but performance incentives would be hard to mandate.  Also, signing bonuses may not be hard numbers and may have associated ranges or conditions.

In any case, the fact that much is predetermined should allow teams to shorten the time it takes to get draft picks under contract.  And should everything come together this week, it will be important to get rookies in front of coaches as soon as possible.

In a year without a summer, a rookie salary structure could help get the season underway quickly.