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Cory's Corner: NFL free agency trumps the NBA

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Cory's Corner: NFL free agency trumps the NBA

You cannot go very far these days and miss the NBA free agency chatter.

And no, I’m not talking about the obvious in Kevin Durant.

I’m talking about Matthew Dellavedova and Timofey Mozgov. Dellavedova was an afterthought for the Cavs by only playing 12 minutes a game in the playoffs. Yet, he still had enough leverage to command a four-year $38.4 million deal from the Bucks. And Mozgov only logged 5.8 playoff minutes, yet the Lakers put on their Santa suits and gave him a four-year $64 million deal.

What does it mean? Well, to put it into perspective, paying Dellavedova that much is like backing up the money truck for…Jarrett Boykin. Yes, that Boykin that was out of the league for the entire 2015 season. Coincidentally, the Bills signed him to a one-year prove-it contract this season for $675,000.

That’s the difference between the NBA and the NFL folks. Bench and niche players in the NBA make solid starter money in the NFL. Obviously the rosters are much smaller, but the fact the NBA is such a worldwide game certainly helps.

But what also sets the NFL apart is that teams have to make decisions on good veterans that are very costly. Every year you see notable players get a pink slip. This past year it was Arian Foster, Mario Williams and Robert Griffin III.

It’s hard to break into the league, but it might be even harder to stay there. Teams don’t have the patience or the expendable money to waste on a player that isn’t producing or continues to get injured.

Obviously, that’s just the opposite in the NBA. Now, I would be very surprised if players didn’t start putting heat on the NFL Players Association. They can see NBA bench players making as much as NFL quarterbacks and will wonder where their slice of the pie is.

Frankly, I like it the way it is. The NBA has gobs of money to spend on a limited supply of quality players. Conversely, the NFL has plenty of money as well, but they have to spread it out a lot more and must be more creative.

Throwing $64 million at a center that was forgotten by everyone else except his new team and his agent isn’t being creative. It’s spending money that you cannot use on someone else because nobody else wants to play there.

So while many NFL players grumble about what kind of a money grab this is for the NBA, the NFL still has it right. I don’t think I could stomach seeing Riley Cooper making starter money as a deep backup.




Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (11) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

The NBA JAGs are getting rediculous money, even from the Bucks.

Matthew Dellavedova $38 million
Mirza Teletovic $30 million


Nick Perry's picture

Michael Rodney "Tweeted" this and I thought it summed up how ridiculous NBA Contract are. Michael writes for another Packers site.

Former Cavs Timofey Mozgov and Matthew Dellavedova signed contracts worth $102 million. They combined for 23 points in the NBA finals.

I wish I was 6'8"

Tarynfor12's picture

I don't like basketball, I use to back in the 60 - 70's when the talent was deeper. Today it appears commercially manufactured with a few stars and perhaps some if them shouldn't really be deemed as such.
However, the money being given to basketball and even baseball players opposed to football is the number of games each plays regardless of the OTA'S and mini camp of the NFL which is offset by the amount of travel the other two total compared to football.
Not agreeing with the money many are given but 162-82-16 games in a season must have a part in its reasoning......Just saying. : )

dobber's picture

Part of the allure of football is the drama. The limited season puts a heightened significance of every game. There's not much game-by-game drama in any sport that plays 80+ regular season games per year, so they have to generate ongoing interest through player hype. I love hockey, but don't pay much attention until the last couple weeks of the season.

The TKstinator's picture

Far less players to divide the green between.

Point Packer's picture

And that's why I couldn't care less about the Bucks.

PaulRosik's picture

It is all matter of the salary cap and how much money there is to be divided among the players of these two sports. The current NBA salary cap is 94 mill for 12 - 15 players. The NFL salary cap is 155 mill for 50 plus players. So of course this means that lower level players can make a lot more in the NBA.

In the NBA a backup Center got 64 mill to go play for the Lakers who lost 65 games last season.

But the NFL salary cap has risen by about a factor of 2 since 2004. So if it keeps rising at that rate there may be a day when backup NFL centers are getting obscene amounts of money as well.

marpag1's picture

Good luck getting NFL numbers to match other leagues. Not only does the NFL have the issue of much larger rosters, but they also play far, far, fewer games. in the 2015 regular season...

The NFL had 32 teams playing 256 games for a total attendance of about 17.5 million.

The NBA had 30 teams playing 1,230 games for a total attendance of about 22 million. (NHL numbers are almost identical to this).

MLB had 30 teams playing 2,430 games for a total attendance of about 73.7 million.

Gonna be pretty tough to keep up with that...

PaulRosik's picture

The number of games is a good point but the NFL is the heavyweight of all sports in the US. Football revenues are in the 13 billion per year area while baseball is around 9 billion and the NBA around 4 billion. Most of that NFL revenue is due to television contracts. I guess the big difference remains the number of players per team as to why NFL players fare so much worse than baseball or basketball players when it comes to free agent contracts.

marpag1's picture

Yeah, I'm not arguing with you and any of this (although I think your NBA revenue number is a little low). In fact, I would also add that the large majority of NFL revenue doesn't come from ticket sales, anyway. But if I'm the NFL, I think my major concern would be that the NFL might already be pretty close maxing out its revenue growth, and sooner or later fan aren't going to pay much more. The average NFL ticket last year was $86, NBA was $56 and MLB was $31.

The NFL would have to DOUBLE its average player salary in order to catch up to MLB and NBA. Are they going to be able to double their revenues? Twice as much from TV contracts? Are NFL fans going to buy twice as many jerseys or pay an average of $170 per ticket? I guess I'm just not seeing it.

And this is why the NFL is doing stuff like having games in London and trying to export overseas. I think they realize that they're pretty close to maxed out unless they can open up new markets. (And having said that, I hate the idea of trying to establish some silly global football league).

PaulRosik's picture

Oh yeah the NFL has long ago realized that with only 8 home regular season games per franchise that their revenue was not going to come from attendance. The NFL has widened its tv footprint and are now the number one show on Monday, Thursday and Sunday nights.

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