It’s that time of year again. No, not the time when pads start smashing together or play action fakes are pulled off with seamless ease, but the time when contract holdouts become more of a conversation point than the actual action on the field. Teams will be anxiously trying to ink their first round draft choices to multi-million dollar contracts with training camps looming around the league even though none of them have played a single snap in the NFL. Until a rookie wage scale is put into effect via a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) however, teams will just have to bite the bullet and hand the cash over willingly.

Every rookie is currently in waiting for first overall selection Sam Bradford to sign his name on the dotted line of a contract with the St. Louis Rams as a barometer for how the other dominoes down the line will fall in the list of first rounders. The looming possibility of a lockout in 2011 also complicates matters a bit with owners pinching pennies and trying to make the most of their product while it is still on the market. Plenty of things factor into the contract that the Rams quarterback for the foreseeable future will receive and as crazy as it sounds, both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are on pins and needles regarding the negotiations.

Quarterbacking in the NFL is generally the highest paid position and the hierarchy of the position determines in large part how each individual player will be paid. This year just happens to be the contract year for both Brady and Manning after Philip Rivers and Eli Manning signed deals in tandem last offseason. With Bradford expected to receive nearly $50 million in guaranteed money that thought has to make ownership for the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots cringe a little bit.

One would think that it is ludicrous to pay a three-time Super Bowl winner in Brady or four-time league MVP in Manning less guaranteed dollars than a rookie who has never even taken a hit at the professional level. As crazy as it sounds though, both the Colts and Patriots may try to do just that when they decide to get negotiations going with their all-world field generals. In short, not only is the entire first round of draft choices on hold to see just what kind of paycheck Bradford will be raking in, but the rest of the league is just as antsy to find out those calculations. This deal will certainly be the framework for future deals with quarterbacks in the NFL and may just accelerate the need for a rookie wage scale being adopted in the next CBA.

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