Was Loss of 3rd Round Pick Fair?
By now, most of you have heard about the Will Woolford salary cap fiasco. Paul Tagliabue slapped the Steelers with a reasonable $550,000 fine ($150K to the league and $400K to Woolford), but inexplicably coupled the fine with the insanely stiff loss of a 3rd round draft pick next season. Not only do I question the punishment the league imposed on the Steelers (who voluntarily reported the cap error), I find it a little too coincidental that the team's top contract negotiator Dan Ferens abruptly resigned just days before all of this came down. In spite of the team's sugar-coating, Ferens smells like a rat to me. Read what other fans are saying below, and be sure to send us YOUR two cents.
The following articles are listed in the order they were received (with the most recent entries at the top). This isn't a "guestbook" format... I read and manually insert every message, so you may not see your submission show up immediately. Thanks a million for your comments, people!
Submitted by David Fair, Commander in Chief|
This ruling was a complete load of horseshit! It was
Tagliabue's way of making an example out of someone
for all of the recent cap violations going on. He picked out
the Steelers because he knew Rooney would be too class
of an act to fight him about it the way Jerry Jones or
Carmen Policy would.
It was over something so ridiculous! I have the inside story
on my site... here I'll paste it in for you.
From SportsWritersDirect -- May 24, 2000
Dan Rooney, cheating on the salary cap? It's like discovering that St. Thomas Aquinas was a petty thief.
Aren't the Pittsburgh Steelers the ones who were being robbed of their talent because of the salary cap? Weren't they the ones who quietly cried foul, when San Francisco kept playing monkey business with the salary cap?
How could this happen to Rooney, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2000, and the Steelers suffer the embarrassment of getting caught cheating on the salary cap?
The answer: Because Dan Rooney is too decent and a man of his word. He did not cheat; he merely kept a promise to a veteran football player in his final year of service.
Here's the bottom line: The NFL fined the Steelers $150,000, ordered them to pay Will Wolford $400,000 and penalized them a third-round draft pick in 2001.
Now, here's why it happened. Wolford, an offensive tackle by trade, signed as a free agent with the Steelers in 1996, in part because they promised to play him at left guard. And that is where he played in 1996 and 1997. When he signed, however, they agreed to a clause that would pay him $400,000, if he moved to tackle.
Because he had previously played tackle, that $400,000 counted against their salary cap as "likely to be earned." They approached Wolford in 1998 and asked him if he would remove the clause, because it was unnecessarily hurting them on the cap. He agreed.
But that season, things happened. Players got hurt, others did not work out, and they asked Wolford to move to left tackle. He agreed, because he said he wanted one last shot at the Super Bowl and would do anything to help them get there.
The Steelers had no further obligation to Wolford. After all, he agreed to take the $400,000 clause off his contract. But Rooney did not think that was right. Wolford removed the clause in order to help the team, and when they signed him, they had agreed to pay him $400,000, if he moved to tackle. Now, he moved to tackle on his own without promise of compensation.
Rooney called Wolford in one day and told him he was going to pay him that $400,000 anyway. Rooney also called to inform the league. They told him it would be a salary cap violation, if he did so. Rooney said he did not care, that right was right.
So, he paid Wolford. The league ruled against him, and it cost him an additional $150,000, a third-round draft pick and snickers from many around the league that Dan Rooney was caught doing something he had preached against.
But now you know the real story.
Submitted by Barry Fox
It makes no sense to me that we lose the 3rd round pick. We are in salary cap
trouble as it is. We're not a big-city money-town like Washington! The
organization is trying to do everything possible to get us back on the winning
track. I know we were going to lose some money, but now we lose a 3rd
round pick. We have always found good players after the first round, so
they are trying to hit us hard. Well, I will end right here by saying the
players better be ready to come to training camp and perform well and do great
for the season. Winning also helps in revenue.
Submitted by Keith Thomas
As all of you know by now, the NFL has slapped the Steelers with a $500,000 fine and deleted a third round pick from their 2001 draft over an administrative salary cap violation on Will Wolford's contract.
This is absloutely ridiclous.
1. The Steelers turned themselves in on this.
2. It was a $500,000 mistake -- in NFL terms, that's sort of like a cashier at a big grocery store coming up 65 cents short after a busy day.
3. It appears that it was an administrative mistake.
The fine is easy to understand. But a third round pick? A third rounder is most likely going to turn into a starter!
What makes me even more upset is that the Steelers get such a severe punishment from the NFL, when the likes of the San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, and more recenlty the Washington Deadskins have blanantly violated the salary cap by MILLIONS upon MILLIONS of dollars year after year. Yet nothing happens to them. But here we have the Steeelers getting nailed for a cap violation. Give me a break! The Steelers problems (and recently, there have been many) are CLEARLY not because the team is spending too MUCH money.
I'm not suggesting a conspiracy, because I don't think there is one... but the Steelers have been clearly wronged by the league office.
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