By Rob Kotaska
Roger Goodell has had a tough year.
Recently he has dealt with “Bountygate” and its numerous fallout points.
- The Commissioner again laid out some stiff fines and suspensions in relation to the ‘pay to make plays’ scheme. In return, his one stop shop as Judge and Jury again came under fire.
- That mess combined with the suicide of Junior Seau again shined a light on the violence in the game and the NFL and NFLPA’s piss poor (lack of) programs to take care of those who helped build the game.
- Goodell was sued by the central player of Bountygate, Jonthan Vilma, for defamation.
Last year Goodell went through a contentious lockout with the NFLPA and was called out by numerous players for his salary and his expectations of what the NFLPA had to give up to get the deal done. The lockout lasted much longer than it should have, and Goodell continued to take hits from all sides. How could he risk the momentum of the clear cut most popular sport in the land over defending billionaires.
I am not thrilled with all the changes that came of the deal. But Goodell deserves credit for one thing: getting rookie contracts under control. With the new CBA rookies are no longer pulling big contracts before they prove they can make it on the next level. The rookies are still doing well for themselves, but the days of $40 million guaranteed based on college performance are done.
Another benefit of these more reasonable contracts is that more rookies are signing earlier. If last year proved anything teams need the off-season OTAs to implement the schemes and plays of each team’s systems. In a year where everyone, including yours truly, was hitting the Commish from all sides let’s give him credit for what he got right. We will see the benefits this fall when most of the rookies will be in camp, as it always should have been.