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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, January 4, 2010

NFL: Union, league could discuss rookie wage scale

Associated Press

NEW YORK A rookie wage scale is among the issues the NFL and the players' union are expected to discuss during labor negotiations this week.

The NFL Players Association has presented a proposal that would include redirecting money paid to rookies into veterans' contracts instead. The union's plan would have a scale or cap for how much rookies would be paid, and the 32 teams would use the money saved from those contracts on established players. As much as $200 million could be involved.

That proposal was made to the league before Christmas.

"We called it the proven performance plan," NFLPA assistant executive director George Atallah said Monday.

The next negotiations are set for Tuesday.

Detroit signed quarterback Matthew Stafford, the top pick in last April's draft, to a six-year contract worth $78 million overall, with $41.7 million in guarantees. Offensive tackle Jason Smith, the second overall pick, got $62 million with incentives, $33 million in guaranteed money.

The contract between the NFL and its player expires after the 2010 season. That season will not have a salary cap under the current agreement. The NFL opted out of the collective bargaining agreement in 2008.

The contract was negotiated in 2006 by then-commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Gene Upshaw, the union leader who died in 2008.