NFL Draft question

You’ll have to forgive me, but i’m a resident alien in the US and haven’t quite figured out all the ins and outs of football.

I just heard on the news that my local team, the Baltimore Ravens, has yet to sign its first-round draft pick because he is holding out, and that this is a worrisome thing for the team.

I was always under the impression that once a player had been selected in the draft, he had to sign with that team. What happens if this guy (i forget his name) refuses to sign? Can he just go to another team? Do the Ravens have any hold over him?

The only other experience i have with this sort of thing was the Eric Lindros affair in the NHL, when he refused to sign for, i think, Quebec after they drafted him. I was living in Canada at the time, and IIRC he had to sit out for a season before going to Philly.

The Ravens have the exclusive rights to Ed Reed until they sign him or trade those rights to another NFL team. It is not uncommon for a 1st rounder to be unsigned at the start of training camp.

Reed will eventually sign with the Ravens, he really doesn’t have any other options. The NFL has a salary cap, it also has a rookie salary cap. NFL teams spend almost their entire salary cap amount every year.

Lindros sat out a year, and was prepared to sit out even longer. He forced Quebec to trade him to Philadelphia.

What 5 time champ said. Basically, you draft the rights to a player. He does not have to sign with the team that drafts him, but he can’t sign with anyone else unless the team trades his rights. This is how it works in pretty much all of the major North American professional sports. As was said, unless the player is so highly regarded that he has enough leverage to force a trade(as in Lindros’ case), he will pretty much always end up signing. It becomes an issue, like it is now in Baltimore, because if they are unable to reach a deal soon enough, the player will miss the beginning of training camp. This often lessens there impact in their rookie year, as well as creating bad feelings between the player and his coaches and/or teammates.

The rights to a drafted player continue in perpetuity? That doesn’t sound right.

I’m not sure what the rules are on how long a team holds a player’s rights in the NFL, but in the NHL if a team doesn’t sign it’s pick within 2 years (I believe) he is allowed to re-enter the draft. There are usually a couple of “re-entries” in the NHL draft each year who stayed with their junior clubs and didn’t sign with the team that drafted them. The first name that pops into my head is Nick Boynton, who was originally drafted by the Washington Capitals, and when he re-entered the draft, was picked by the Bruins.

Expanding on what 5-HT said, there are times when players force trades because they don’t like the team that selected them. Steve Francis of the Houston Rockets pulled a stunt like that when he was picked by the (then) Vancouver (now Memphis) Grizzlies.

John Elway is also an example of a player forcing a team’s hand. Coming out of Stanford, Elway was selected by the Colts with the first overall pick. Before the draft Elway said he wouldn’t play for the Colts, and after they picked him he threatened to play baseball instead. Eventually Elway was traded to the Broncos.

I’m not sure how about how long teams retain draft rights in the NFL, but in baseball you only retain the right to sign a first-year player until either the player starts attending classes at a college or the next draft rolls around.

This could all change once baseball sorts out its draft as it the baseball will undoubtedly be shortened in duration (it’s 50 rounds long now) and will start to include international players.

In the NBA, I don’t think teams retain the rights to a drafted player in perpetuity, but since all first round picks get a standard contract, there aren’t a lot of holdouts anymore.

Bo Jackson, who refused to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1986 when they drafted him number 1 overall, back when they sucked and had an asshole owner. He went on to play baseball (it’s good to have options). The next year he was put back into the draft and the Los Angeles Raiders picked up his rights, for a later 7th round draft pick. Nobody else would touch him since they assumed that he’d stick with baseball. But since the Raiders let him play both sports he chose to play baseball full time and football part time. He was the only player ever to play in the All-Star game in two sports.

I thought Deion Sanders was part of a superbowl and world series at one time. Granted he was not an all star baseball player.

of course memory circuits are going more so every day.

Deion Sanders, was almost, but not quite, nowhere near as good a baseball player as Bo Jackson.

Not that Bo was great, but he was a legitimate All Star the one year he made it. Bo knew long home runs. Bo also knew strikeouts.

Deion knew how to run fast and slap occasional singles.

You retain the rights for 1 year, until the next draft. So basically, the player can hold out and wait for the next draft, or do what Bo Jackson did, play another sport. John Elway did something like this when he came out, he was drafted(by the Bucs? Can’t remember), didn’t want to play for that team, threatened to play baseball, and was traded.

Problem with this, for most players, is that they can’t afford to lose a year of playing time with a 1 year holdout. You then also get the reputation for being trouble. Unless you are a stunning talent, this isn’t going to work well for you. You hold out for a much as you can get, but then you report.

First-round Jets pick Jeremy Shockey [TE, Miami] has yet to report, as is the case with a couple of other draftees. According to a local sportswriter, Shockey’s not-at-all-unusual strategy is to lie and wait for the lessers to sign first, to establish a bracket or range. Then they can begin the serious negotiations.

In Shockey’s case, he has a couple of big plusses in his favor; first, the Jets were desperate to have him and lucky to get him in the first place; secondly, he was kicking ass in mini-camp and passing camp. Plus there’s that wonderful mojo that happens when you combine certain old Miami QB’s with certain catchers from same… especially in NY. Vinnie wants Shockey, bad. Management will just have to pony up. :slight_smile:

Too bad for Vinny, you’ll have to tell him Shockey plays for that other New York team.