Hooked On The NinersBianchini's Market

On the Tunney Side of the Street 14

by Jim Tunney

After Further Review ... FORTY-ONE MILLION, SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS GUARANTEED to 21-year old QB Matthew Stafford, who was selected first in the 2009 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions. Stafford, who left the University of Georgia after his junior year, is expected to resurrect the Lions franchise. It is important to note that his overall contract is for $78 million for 6 years and loaded with " IF's."

Stafford's contract is 20% more than the Atlanta Falcons contract given Matt Ryan (Boston College), the first year pick in the 2008 draft. Ryan did have a better-than-average year for a first year QB as the Falcons made the playoffs. However, if Lions veteran QB Daunte Culpepper has a good year with no injuries, Stafford may be standing on the sidelines holding a clipboard, not a football.

There are more than a few football fans, as well as many others, who are scratching their heads, saying "How in the name of Bobby Layne can a football T.E.A.M. "guarantee" that kind of money to someone who has NEVER played one down in professional football?" Given the Lions 2008 record (0 wins and 16 losses) can any rookie quarterback - as great as Stafford was in college - create a winning record - let alone win the NFC North? It takes a T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Accomplishes More) to win in the National Football League.

The issue here is not so much about Stafford - he is simply the 2009 poster child - but the amount of money "guaranteed" to ANY unproven NFL player. Further, the total amount of money to be paid - much of it guaranteed - to the top 10 players chosen in this year's draft, may approximate $250 million!

At some point, the NFL owners are going to have to revise the awarding of this kind of money to rookies. In today's economy, that amount of money is out of line. Now, if the owners would take, say, half of that $250 million and help the many retired NFL players (who made the NFL what it is today) with medical bills, it would be the best thing they could do with those dollars. The money provided by the NFL Alumni dire need fund for these purposes is simply not enough. The NFL owners need to step-up and do the right thing.

Can you imagine the top-of-the-class graduate at Yale Law School guaranteed, or even offered, more money than the partners in the best law firm in New York?


Will you become aware of the financial plight facing retired NFL players?

For more information about Jim Tunney, please visit his website: www.JimTunney.com, or if you would like to respond to this message, please send your email to Jim@JimTunney.com