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Thread: Pro Sports Free Agency

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    Heisman Rudy's Avatar
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    Pro Sports Free Agency

    I tweeted something out this morning about professional sports free agency and at least one person of a smaller market team didn't agree with me. My biggest issue with free agency is that it usually results in the young professional getting paid peanuts while the older veterans are often over paid. While many fans subscribe to the "Nobody is worth that kind of money" I simply ask them to apply that to the owners who are making even more money and are billionaires. I have no problem with a fair distribution of the pie. If that means owners are worth over a billion dollars and James Harden makes $50M a year, I'm fine with that.

    I just hate seeing old players like Miguel Cabrera rake in a ton of cash while sometimes younger players get the shaft. An NFL draft pick that gets taken in the later rounds essentially makes the minimum salary his first 3-4 years even if he's an all-pro stud. There just is no way to rectify that currently. I did have some thoughts on how to improve things.

    NBA
    Get rid of the individual maximum salary. If Harden is worth $70M a year, then let someone pay him! By limiting the superstars they have actually under valued them and allowed the big market, deep pocket teams the ability to get 2-4 of these guys at the same time with creative accounting and luxury tax dollars. Golden State would never have been able to sign Durant to his below market deal if he could have signed for huge dollars elsewhere. I would continue to allow the home town team to be able to offer more money to players and/or count less of that money against the cap. For some reason, big time players only want to play in a handful of cities in the NBA and this does create a problem no other sport seems to have (at least to this extent). Allowing bigger max contracts may help this.

    NFL
    The franchise tag is largely bogus. The team option on 5th year deals for first round picks is also heavily in favour of teams. That shouldn't exist. I would force teams to offer "franchise" players TWO years full guaranteed at the current rate. One year deals are too risky for injury purposes. That is more fair. The NFL also had a shared performance pool to pay out to those lowly drafted rookies that start early in their careers. Expand that a bit more. I do think the NFL should allow a certain amount of money to be used to sign their own free agents and get "Bird" rights or lower cap hits to keep teams together. But I do think the NFL loves the changing players as it gives all teams new hope and fresh outlooks.

    MLB
    This is a tough one. Kids drafted out of high school sign minor league deals and don't get their FA clock started until they set foot in the big leagues. But this allows teams like the Cubs and Jays hold back stars like Kris Bryant and Vlad Jr from playing just to hold their rights another year. It's a smart but douschebag move. It goes against all principles of fairness in sports even though it makes business sense. For many baseball players they don't hit free agency until they are pretty old and are often underpaid early on. This does allow teams to stay cheap and good for awhile in a sport where there are many haves and have nots. I get it. It can suck to be a fan of a small market team. But keeping great players cheap beyond a few years isn't right imo. I would cap all free agent contracts at 5 years so nobody gets stuck with a Miguel Cabrera like contract.

    RESTRICTED FREE AGENCY
    Reducing maximum contract years in exchange for earlier restricted free agency (after only 3-4 years in all sports) may help. Letting the home town team match offers to avoid losing players and/or offering draft pick compensation if they lose them always sound like good ideas to me. And restricting contracts to no more than 5 years would be ideal. Owners are dumb to offer more with guaranteed contracts in some sports. The biggest thing that pisses off fans is seeing a player collect a large pay check and not earn it.

    SMALL MARKETS
    Lastly, I hear a lot of complaints over how to protect the small market team. I root for most Detroit teams and they are mid-sized and certainly not a big player. A Cleveland Indian fan complained about their ability to compete. Well - maybe the Indians fans should actually show up to the ballpark. They showed up 3-3.5M fans a year in the late 90s. But despite the fact the Indians have been great the last 3 years and increased the payroll, the fans have not returned. Only once did they hit 2M and they barely hit it. They haven't finished higher than 9th in attendance in over 15 years. When your team does do well and you don't support them - do you really deserve any sympathy? Honestly no. Screw the Indians and their fans. If they don't show up then they deserve the product that happens to them as their owner has less money to spend.


    I want small markets to be able to compete and give them some breaks. Revenue sharing TV deals help tremendously in the NFL. The local TV deals makes it a lot harder in the NBA and MLB since there is such a discrepancy. But if your team is good and the fans don't show up - screw you. You don't deserve a good team or any sympathy. They can move as far as I care or just suck it up and deal with the teams you get instead of whining for everyone to bend rules for your team to stay cheap and somehow relevant.

    I will also blast the local Miami Dolphins fans. The local TV ratings for Miami games are bottom 2 in the NFL. The product hasn't been good so they get some defense but if fans don't show up and support the team which provides extra revenue for the team to spend in free agency - what do you expect? It's a bit of a catch-22 but Marlins ownership hasn't learned that either. You can't put total shit on the field and expect fans to care. Spend and see what happens.
    Last edited by Rudy; 02-12-2019 at 01:51 PM.

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