Will rookie wage keep players in school?

July, 26, 2011
DALLAS -- With the NFL's new rookie wage scale, part of the recently agreed upon collective bargaining agreement, expected to drastically cut into rookie salaries, will it make college players think twice about leaving school early to enter the NFL draft?

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops doesn't think so.

"I don't know that it will in that it's hard to predict," Stoops said.

Stoops has coached a number of first-round draft picks at OU. He had three players cash in as top-five picks in the 2010 draft. Quarterback Sam Bradford was the No. 1 overall pick and signed a six-year, $78 million contract with the St. Louis Rams. Before Bradford ever took a snap, his contract guaranteed him $50 million -- the highest in NFL history.

Tampa Bay selected defensive tackle Gerald McCoy third and signed him to a five-year, $63 million deal, while and offensive tackle Trent Williams went fourth to the Washington Redskins, coming to terms on a six-year deal worth $60 million.

Those days are over.

"Seems like it's only going to affect maybe the first half or so of the first round, right?" Stoops said. "And so we'll see. I don't know that it will a whole lot because, again, those are usually only a few guys. And, I've never had a problem of a guy wanting to go out. If he's going to be in the top half of the first round, hey, have at it."

Stoops recalled when defensive back Roy Williams considered entering the NFL draft following his junior year when Williams won the Jim Thorpe and Bronko Nagurski awards -- given to college football's best defensive back and defensive player, respectively.

"I told Roy, I said, 'I felt you're too good for what we're doing,'" Stoops said. "He said he was bored. I said, 'This isn't challenging enough for you.' And, I thought Roy would be a top-10 pick. I said, 'Hey you ought to go.' So anyway, I don't think it will change what I'm talking about playing for your value. I don't think it will change that."



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