NFL lockout to cost veteran players money?

NFL lockout to cost veteran players money?
April 8, 2011, 2:12 pm
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Friday, April 8, 2011
Posted: 9:05 a.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

The impasse between NFL owners and players has for some time pointed toward the draft coming before some form of free agency. That unfortunately also points toward costing veterans money and giving teams a significant financial boost.

The enormous number of potential free agents, upwards of 450 by most counts, means a target-rich environment for teams. In a supply-demand economy, which the NFL is, that means more players options for teams; and when the supply of something is higher, prices typically are lower rather than higher.

Elite players will always command elite dollars. The price for a Julius Peppers will be high because there are not many Julius Peppers.

But add to that the situation where teams will have invested draft choices to address needs and you have decreased job opportunities for veteran free agents who in normal years would have been signed before teams turned to the draft.

Now, if a team has spent even a mid-round draft choice on a position, that organization is less likely to sign a veteran to a position already filled in its mind. If the Bears select a guard with a high pick, for example, they are all or part of the way out of at least the top end, i.e., pricier, market for guards.

And as if there werent enough already lining up in teams favor, fold in a less-expensive salary structure for rookies...

Austin sitting limits

The draft stock of defensive tackle Marvin Austin, particularly with the Bears, will be something to monitor. He was suspended and missed his entire senior season at North Carolina after being ruled permanently ineligible by the NCAA for dealings with an agent. By Austins description those involved two trips each to California and to Miami.

Those and the suspension that came with them hurt the 6-2, 310-pound with respect to draft status, given the presumed first-round grade on him through his junior season. Character questions may indeed plague Austin, who plays a position of need for the Bears but whether GM Jerry Angelo will invest a high pick on a character question after his Tank Johnson experience is problematic.

Beyond just the draft status, however, the back-channel buzz about Austin hurt him personally.

There were so many rumors about, I did this and was getting cars and a lot of things that werent true, things about me as a person and it was extremely hard, Austin said during the Combine. Its still hard to watch some of the stuff thats said about my character.

Ive never taken a drink in my life. Ive never smoked in my life. Ive done everything to get to this point, but one mistake, taking a couple of trips, and one of them was taken to help me get better as an athlete, has cost me may whole senior season and my image.

And I had to sit and listen to my little sister ask me, Marvin, I heard
you were drinking and all of this. So it was an extremely tough situation, but I got through it and Im a lot stronger for it and I think its going to make me a whole lot better professional.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.