The NFLPA has vowed to fight any rookie salary structure, but Goodell has already begun framing the debate not as an owners vs. players clash, but a veterans vs. rookies (or future rookies) battle. As owners swim in revenue, Goodell can’t cry poverty. He can argue fairness.
“I think it’s important to veteran players personally,” Goodell said at last month’s league meetings. “As a veteran player, you’ve proven your performance on an NFL field and that should be rewarded.
In theory it makes sense to take from the rookies and give to the veterans (we did that years ago in a union I was in). Trouble is that doesn't work well in the NFL - ya end up with high priced veterans who end up getting cut because of their salary unless they're superstars still performing at their peak - so while it looks good on paper, it results in more unemployment for the veterans. And if ya take too much away from the rookies, then ya end up with a bunch of billionaires starting up a rival league and stealing all the draft picks. Catch-22.