First-round rookie salaries no big deal?

Quite a few fans and some NFL people lament how much money unproven rookies earn when chosen near the top of the draft.

"I understand the frustration with how highly paid the rookies are," Rams executive Kevin Demoff wrote during a recent chat, "but one thing to note is that the majority of rookie salaries from the 10th pick or so on are pretty fair for both sides. In the top 10, the salaries are pretty steep, so you have to make sure you don't miss on a player. However, if you hit on the right player, they can set your franchise up for continued success, so the focus needs to be on drafting the right player, not how much they make!"

That is true. As an organization, though, I would rather pay a player on his second contract -- once he has demonstrated value at the NFL level -- than on his first one.

On another front, it was refreshing to see Demoff outline the Rams' expected salary cap situation after this season, provided a cap remains as part of any new labor agreement. Teams are not always very forthcoming about their cap situations even though the information is widely available within the league.

"If there is a salary cap in 2010, the Rams will be approximately $35 million under, which would be the third-most room under the cap in the NFL," Demoff wrote. "There has been some pain this year, but the salary cap should not be the driving force behind any personnel decisions moving forward. This year, we were forced to create a dollar of salary cap room for every dollar of salary cap room spent. That meant making difficult decisions with some talented players, but we made the decisions that we thought were best for the long-term future of this organization."