Wonder has the cause of the NFL Labor Dispute. And he also has the solution.
“Antonio Cromartie is not someone I like to quote or share opinions with, but in this rare moment he is right,” says Wonder. “The whole labor situation is ridiculous and they need to work together to hammer out a settlement.
“Owners, you want to build a monument to yourself with Jerry’s World (and $1.7B for cupholders)? The players did not point a gun to your heads to do that madness.”
So where is the root cause of this impending lockout?
“I blame it all on the TV Networks,” says Wonder. “They negotiated stupid deals with the league. How in the world did the NFL get the networks to agree that the NFL would still get paid if the players didn’t play? Without that in the deal, they wouldn’t have this impasse because the owners could never afford to give up all of that revenue.”
So what is the solution?
Wonder: “The owners want a reduction of player salaries from 58-59% of revenue to 55%. The players want to keep it at 58-59%. But the answer is to make the players and the owners happy and have it go to 57% and take money away from the rookies so that it gets back to ~59% (or even more) for the veterans.
The veterans win, the owners win, the fans win, the NFL wins, the networks win. The rookies lose.
“Think about JaMarcus Russell getting ~60MM?!! As a rookie!! With 30something million guaranteed. Even Sanchez, who is relatively successful, gets paid 10M per year. It is crazy that some of these rookies get paid more than Brady. The answer goes away with the rookie salary cap.”
The 2/4 Wonder Solution: A 4 year league-wide contract for rookies. The first 2 years have slotted salaries for Draft picks 1-64. After 2 years, the player can get more money by going in front of an arbitration board (like in baseball). The player is outperfoming his contract, the team then has a choice to pay the player what the board declares his value to be OR they can release him. After 4 years you are a restricted free agent. After another (1 or) 2 years you are an unrestricted free agent.
Summary: Without the NFL owners continuing to get paid by the TV contracts, we would not have this impasse. And the way out is to rectify the imbalance of these rookie salaries, where too much of the cap is being sent to undeserving young players at the expense of the veterans who earned it.