The NFL Draft: A Study In Salary Suppression

Hold down those salaries.

 

There are numerous non-football people who make a lot of money analyzing the National Football League draft who will never say these words. The National Football League draft is a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and is only made legal through collective bargaining. The draft is illegal as it stops elite college football players from shopping around for the best job. The players are denied choices where they can work. They have just one place to go. If they decide not to report to the team that drafts them, those players can sit out, force a trade or play in Canada.

Here is how the draft becomes legal even though a third party, the incoming college players are hurt. NFL owners and the National Football League Players Association can collectively bargain conditions for the draft and if that means shutting down college football players job possibilities so be it. The cottage industry that makes a ton of money talking essentially about nothing, college players being drafted into the NFL, needs to keep the pretense going and say nothing. The league claims it wants competitive balance and having the worst football teams take the best players in a draft order that starts with the worst team picking first does that. But in reality, that isn’t the reason that the owners want the draft. By having a draft, the owners can suppress salaries and stop owners from bidding for the best college players. Football fans want every bit of information on players with the hopes that their team will get the best of the available players through the draft. What they really are celebrating is a suppression of trade and NFL owners are very happy no one notices or cares that the draft is essentially illegally that it is only legit through collective bargaining and a union agreeing to terms. The draft is a salary suppression tactic.

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