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Top 10 underpaid NFL players
As teams and players fight over financial compensation, the fans should know the biggest obstacle for many players who are talking about holding out is that they weren’t selected in the top 10 of an NFL draft. Any player who was a top pick, and generally regardless of greatness, is usually rewarded with an even larger contract the second time around because of their starting point on the salary scale.
The best example is Peyton Manning. He was the first overall pick, and because he’s a four-time MVP, he'll always be paid at the top of the scale. He has been since day one as a professional -- and deservedly so. It's also why Tom Brady, who New England fans will say is even better than Manning, will never catch Peyton dollar for dollar because he missed out in that first-round bonus money being a lowly sixth-round selection in 2000.
As the owners' and the players’ situation becomes more contentious with a 2011 lockout looming, many teams have opted not to reward promising and productive star players because they can. With so many players receiving the restricted salary tag, players are talking about holding out of camp, hoping to break a deadlock. However, if teams hold firm, these players won’t earn a dime, will miss training camp and will lose another tenured year toward a potential unrestricted bonanza if they're truly serious about sitting out an entire season.
It's also difficult to feel sorry for quality players like Texans receiver Andre Johnson, who wants another new contract after getting $13.5 million in bonus money when he signed in 2003 and another $15 million in guarantees when the Texans tore up his original deal in 2007 with a six-year extension worth $60 million.
Johnson may be the game’s best receiver – I still vote for Larry Fitzgerald – but he's been treated fairly in contract negotiations. So has Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, who signed a monster contract when he was a first-round pick in 2007 for $30 million over six years. Is he underpaid in comparison to the game’s highest-paid cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha? Yes, but the only reason Asomugha got his big payday was because the Raiders were out of options and afraid to lose him on the open market. The Jets aren’t in the same predicament, technically having Revis under a deal through 2012.
That being said, here are the NFL’s top 10 underpaid players ... if there is such a thing.
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