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Draft query - how much choice does the player get?

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Post by TM Moot Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:00 pm

I was going to ask this in the "Saints in trouble" thread, but I guess its a general question.

Can a player in the draft, actively or subtlety, choose which team they go to, or more pertinently, which team they don't go to?

I know, for example that Elway refused to join a certain team (Colts perhaps) in favour of the Broncos and didn't Eli Manning refuse to join the Chargers? Can a team just select the disgruntled player anyway, or do they select them and then trade the player away.

Also, can a player underperform in the Combine or Pro-Day so he gets selected lower down the draft (to a supposedly better team).

Any insight will be appreciated. Very Happy

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Post by sodhat Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:07 pm

I think that a contract has to be agreed with whoever you draft, so if they turn it down and hold out they will be traded, right?

It did happen with Eli, he refused to go to San Diego and eventually they traded him away for Phillip Rivers. So I guess they have the ultimate choice, but that a trade will have to be made for him if he refuses so he can't just walk for free - whoever wants him probably has to give up a lot so in that way he must have limited options.

This is all my theory though!

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Post by Leedscowboys Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:49 pm

Whilst the Pro Day and combine are job interviews, it would be silly to perform poor as at the end of the day, you penalise yourself, even if you are graded a 4th round but dont get picked until the 6th for e.g. this can be a difference of several hundred thousand dollars in salary and bonus.
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Post by kwinigolfer Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:55 pm

Moot,
Remember that, for all but the most coveted, elite players (such as Elway and Eli), the lower you're picked in the draft, the less bargaining power you might have and the less you'll be paid.

Initial contracts are pretty formulaic, not much variance in "rookie" pay from team to team, and there's some evidence that it's better to go undrafted and play the free agent market/lottery rather than be selected, say, in the final round of the draft.

Elway had two strings to his bow, remember. He had already signed a pro baseball contract for the New York Yankees and actually played a season for the Oneonta Yankees A farm team.


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Post by Sam_Bradford_8 Thu Mar 22, 2012 11:03 pm

Put it this way, if you were a young guy wanting to make it in any business, would you turn around to a company that has given you a chance and tell them you want to work for a better company?

Players should be grateful for a franchise choosing them, whoever they are. Sure many of them probably have their favourite teams, but how many of them actually get to play for them anyway?! Only very arrogant people, like Eli Manning, would think they were too good for a team...

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Post by sodhat Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:24 am

Why didn't Eli want to play in San Diego out of interest?

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Post by Sam_Bradford_8 Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:40 am

sodhat wrote:Why didn't Eli want to play in San Diego out of interest?

Simply because they werent good enough for him. Eli and/or his dad wanted him to play for the Giants...

Imagine if every draft pick behaved in this way, it would make a mockery of it

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Post by skins4ever Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:42 am

There's actually been pretty much every permutation possible I think.

Elway refused to sign with the Colts, so they drafted him then traded him.

Similar happened with Jim Everett who couldn't work out a deal with Houston and ended up traded to the Rams.

Eli didn't want to play for the Chargers, but they couldn't work a trade in time for the draft, so they were swapped afterwards. It was argued that NY and SD colluded by drafting 'the others' selection so the deal could be worked out after, but nothing came of it as it was in effect a case of swapping picks in the end.

Bo Jackson wanted to play baseball and football which TB didn't like so they (after some other shenanigans) forfeited his rights after drafting him #1 in '86, and he then went into the '87 draft and got picked by the Raiders in round 7. Bargain and made TB look like idiots in the end!

NB @ Sam_Bradford - I don't disagree in principle that its a privilege to play in the NFL, but you also have to realise that pro sports isn't a million miles removed from slave labour. Players rights are owned by the drafting team, largely without them having a say in the matter. They usually aren't free to play for who they want to until they have served out a set time with the owning team. Once they have served their useful purpose they are cast onto the scrap heap. The crucial difference is that they (mostly) get paid a lot of money for it and can always choose another career at any time. Its not arrogance to want to be paid what you believe you are worth, its only arrogance to believe you are better than you actually are.

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Post by Sam_Bradford_8 Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:44 am

Skins - I dont think you can compare slave labour with getting paid millions of dollars to play a 'game' . I do understand where you are coming from, but players know how the nfl works. The nfl has a model which works well in order to create a fair playing field for all teams, if it wasnt there you would have the big spenders buying all the best players.

The nfl is a megabucks company, the players know this and thus play by the rules. It is no different to everyday folk working in their jobs, they might not be in the place they want to be, but they need to make money, feed mouths etc.

It may not be arrogant to want to be paid what you are worth, but it arrogant that Eli Manning thought he was better than the Chargers and thus refused to play for them.

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Post by adams_legend Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:48 am

I think that Eli has proved his point with 2 superbowl wins under his belt and the Chragers not getting near that success

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Post by The Mangler US_UK Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:20 am

If you have the leverage, and don't want to go to a team that you think is poorly run, go ahead an exercise it. I have no problem with that.

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Post by skins4ever Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:06 am

Its very different to you or I, at least in the UK it is. I can resign any time I want and go to another company, with the only restriction possibly being notice period. An NFL player does not have that freedom of movement. Even in the armed forces, you can buy yourself out of your service. He's still at the behest of the team that owns his contract or that he gets traded to, unless he walks away or holds out - retires or goes on strike - and neither option is a good financial move.

Don't get me wrong, they are mostly highly paid prima donna's and don't deserve a great deal of sympathy, but they aren't free agents. Hence the desire to get the money they can/play for the team they want when they get the opportunity.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:36 am

skins,
Last time I checked, the player signs the contract; it's not totally one-sided and many rookie contracts are only for one year or two years, usually with a healthy signing bonus. Then Free Agency Baby!

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Post by Sam_Bradford_8 Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:39 am

Skins - thats a fair point on the contract situation. I was leaning towards the view that some people cant just quit their job and join another company, especially in this current economical climate. Surely the best move would be for a player to just play for the team, prove he has what it takes to play in the nfl then move on when he is a FA. To me if a player wants to 'cat out' and demand a trade, or refuse to play for a team it says a lot about that persons character...

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Post by Lowlandbrit Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:53 am

kwinigolfer wrote:skins,
Last time I checked, the player signs the contract; it's not totally one-sided and many rookie contracts are only for one year or two years, usually with a healthy signing bonus. Then Free Agency Baby!
Unless you're a RFA. Or get the franchise tag.

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Post by The Mangler US_UK Fri Mar 23, 2012 5:38 am

Sam_Bradford_8 wrote:Skins - thats a fair point on the contract situation. I was leaning towards the view that some people cant just quit their job and join another company, especially in this current economical climate. Surely the best move would be for a player to just play for the team, prove he has what it takes to play in the nfl then move on when he is a FA. To me if a player wants to 'cat out' and demand a trade, or refuse to play for a team it says a lot about that persons character...

The problem is, if you get on a bad team, or have an incompetent coaching staff, you might not be utilized correctly and your image as a effective player can take a hit and your value might drop significantly and you're only a hot commodity for so long. And in this game, a lot of it is about perception. It's like Andrew Walter when he was drafted by Oakland. I thought he had the makings of a good QB because he had a big arm and was a cool customer in college, setting Pac 10 passing records, but that was the year Oakland had a sieve for a line and Mad Al brought in that offensive coordinator who hadn't coached in many years and who had been running a bed and breakfast and didn't even have any 3 step drops in his arsenal, which is bad news for QBs under constant siege. Needless to say, Oakland QBs got killed that year (including Walter who disappeared after his brief stint because he looked terrible). Now Walter wasn't a 1st rounder, so had no real leverage, but I use him as an example. They have a limited earning window, so if I had the leverage and could avoid going to a dysfunctional organization or one I thought wasn't a fit for my skills and would damage my career -- I'd think hard about forcing the issue of a trade.

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Post by Sam_Bradford_8 Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:18 pm

Another fair point Wrangler. Another would be someone like David Carr, who came in full of promise and ended up running for his life behind that o-line, thus making him a nervous wreck!lol.

At least he got paid big to do it.

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Post by skins4ever Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:59 am

Lowlandbrit wrote:
kwinigolfer wrote:skins,
Last time I checked, the player signs the contract; it's not totally one-sided and many rookie contracts are only for one year or two years, usually with a healthy signing bonus. Then Free Agency Baby!
Unless you're a RFA. Or get the franchise tag.

RFA - 3 or less years of 'service'. Qualifying offer from team. If no offer from other team, rights revert to current team. If offered current team have right to match offer.
Franchise tag - Team retain player on 1 year contract based on average of top 5 at the position.
UFA - completed 4 or more years service and out of contract.

Only one of these is a true free agent and its certainly not true of rookies until year 4.

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Post by mikeygnfl Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:47 am

I was thinking something along the lines of the original question when thinking about Andrew Luck.

He is supposedly the best prospect since...? He has been playing college football in the Bay Area for the past few years and had Jim Harbaugh as his coach. The 49ers were a bounce away from the Super Bowl last season and the Colts, his likely destination, are the worst they have been for years.

If Luck had the choice he would probably be looking at the 49ers over the Colts. Yet because of the draft the best players end up at the worst teams. That surely hinders the amount of Super Bowls they will win.

In fact take a look at those QBs that have reached multiple Super Bowls like Joe Montana and Tom Brady and they were picked later in the draft.

Then take a look at the likes of Ryan Giggs or Lionel Messi who came through the youth set ups at Man United and Barcelona and have won multiple European Cups.

That said it is only the top players in the draft who can force a move and if that happens the draft would become obsolete.
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Post by skins4ever Sat Mar 24, 2012 3:47 am

It doesn't correlate really. Many #1 picks in the last 30 years have gone on to successful careers, including (if I got my maths right) 9 who've gone to the SB and 5 of them winners.

And your analogy with football shows the imbalance the draft tries to address - ManU and Barca two of the richest clubs in the world. Without the draft and salary cap, the NFL would be dominated by approx. 1/2 dozen rich teams.

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