I'm leaving baseball for a second, only because I'm hearing way too much about a sport I have trouble watching anymore.
The draft is this coming weekend, and too many people are making too big a deal about it. Here are my complaints:
1. It's a crapshoot. In no other sport is the selection so random, and the production NOT in line with the salaries given. Why people can sit there, watch for hours, ESPN pour over the selections and grade how each team did, when in all honesty the draft can't be evaluated for at least three years after it was made.
2. The amount of money spent on incoming rookies is completely out of line with what the veterans get, and, as a percentage, what other rookies get in other sports. This is causing severe friction between the owners, players, and agents (who LOVE the big guaranteed $$ these first-year players are getting).
3. In basketball, lottery picks are important, because it is almost always going to get you a starter, and a possible ROY. However, in football, when Dan Marino was the 6th quarterback selected in his draft, and Tom Brady wasn't taken until the 6th round of his, it suggests something is wrong with the system. In baseball, a big deal is made of these draft picks making a lot of money, but when compared to the average major league player, it isn't far off.
I have a solution.
I always have solutions...
Get rid of the draft.
Currently, NFL salary caps force each team to spend at least $111 million in salaries for the 2009 season, with a maximum of $127 million.
At the end of a season, the draft order is figured out by each team's record, worst getting the first pick. Instead, the worst team should get the most money to spend on the draft class, and the Super Bowl winner getting the least.
The amount of years allowed to be offered by each team should be graded as well. It would work something like this:
1. Detroit (0-16): Allowed to spend a total of $120 million, spread over 40 yrs.
2. St. Louis (2-14): Allowed to spend a total of $118 million, spread over 40 yrs.
3. Kansas City (2-14): Allowed to spend a total of $116 million, spread over 39 yrs.
32. Pittsburgh (12-4): Allowed to spend a total of $58 million, spread over 30 yrs.
This is just an example, and by no means the final say. But what this offers to both owners and rookies is this;
1. Multi-year deals. Hell, if Detroit wanted to pull a Mike Ditka the way he went after Ricky Williams, he could give him the entire amount. Think of the marijuana THAT would buy!
2. Rookies could choose to accept less money to go to a team they wanted to join.
3. Teams wouldn't be held hostage by players holding out for more money. It would work like a free market on both sides.
4. I'd love to see them do this like a fantasy baseball draft as well...hell, I'd even watch it for once.
5. Teams would have the option of trading $$ and years, should they want to.
Just a thought - maybe this would bring more meaning (in my mind) to the football draft.
Finally, getting back to baseball, I think this system would work there as well. Currently, teams are not allowed to trade their draft picks, so some of the small-market teams avoid picking players they won't be able to sign, and the system encourages hold-outs and Boras trying to find loopholes.