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Originally posted by BirdstheBest
What I propose is something that I know will never take place. Why? Because it takes guts on those in control of the sports leagues.
I propose slashing the minimumm salaries drastically and then implementing a procedure for pay increase based on longevity and performance. In the year these changes are implemented, they will take effect for rookies entering the league that year and continue for eveyone entering the league after that. Players currently under contract will not be affected, but any veteran who negotiates a new contract will have to abide by the rules.
Take the NFL, for example. I say the minimum salary is cut to $150,000 a year. That's more than enough for anyone to live on. Then players can get a pay increase for being in the league 3, 5, 8, 10, 13, 15, and more than 15 seasons. For each position, a sequence of benchmarks can be set. For quarterback, a specific passer rating or number of TD passes or yards could be a test. Also, a player can get credit for going to the Pro Bowl or winning an award like MVP or Super Bowl MVP. These benchmarks should be increasingly difficult to achieve.
There would be no maximum salary, because that is collusion. However, the salary increases should be small, and the increasing difficulty to reach a benchmark will prevent salaries from getting out of control. Let's say Reggie Bush. If he started out at $150,000 a year, then he could get an increase to $300,000 for playing three seasons, and if he met a criterion such as gaining over 1000 yards rushing for two out of those three years, then he could go to $400,000. If he continued to meet the benchmarks, he could get more money, but the roof would be around maybe $3 million a year, unless he achieved something outrageous like two 2000 yard seasons or over 20 TD for three years in a row. Still, then his ceiling would only be $5 million.
This plan would take a strong will to put in to action. The players would undoubtedly strike when they heard of it. However, as we all learned in 1987, the NFL can go on without the stars. The owners will field a team regardless. Players strike long enough and new stars are born. If the NFL stayed tough and let the players strike, eventually the union will come crawling for reconciliation. Hey, in 1987 players began to cross the picket lines after only four weeks off.