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As I was getting ready for work this morning, I turned on ESPN to watch SportsCenter, as I usually do. Unfortunately, Sunday mornings feature a break in the SC coverage to go to a show called "Outside the Lines". I don't generally watch this show, but something today caught my ear, and made me want to hear more. For once in a great while, the words "Detroit Lions" were uttered without being followed by some sort of crack about their literal no-win season last year. They were discussing Matthew Stafford, this year's #1 draft pick.
The Lions, I agree, need to turn their team around in the worst way. Everyone knew that Stafford would go first in this year's draft-- I suppose being 0-16 has its perks (if you're going to be bad, you might as well be the worst in history, right?). The issue at hand this morning was not that Stafford made a huge mistake by signing with the Lions for 6 years, but rather how much money Stafford signed for. As a rookie, he would make over $3 million per year MORE than the veterans. Is this fair?
My mind was automatically drawn to economics. I'm not one to talk about anything pertaining to recessions and inflations, mostly because, well, I barely passed econ in college. It makes no sense to me. Whatever happened to pure supply and demand? That used to be the easiest thing to understand for me. When more people want it, it drives the price up. No one wants it, the price goes down. Simple enough, right? I feel the same principle applies to athletes. Rookies are generally in high demand: especially those who made a name for themselves on the college circuit. They are a professional team's chance to turn the tables, or add another [prospective] star to their roster. The veterans, however, have been around the block a few times, and are getting closer to retirement with each passing season. Why waste money on a has-been, when you can lure in a will-be?
In my opinion, Matthew Stafford has one of the hardest jobs in the NFL this year. He is starting his professional career with a team notorious for being terrible. The Lions are putting all their eggs in one basket on this one. He will make money regardless of a win or loss, and hopefully he will prove that he deserves his sky-high salary (highest ever for a rookie). Detroit fans will be watching with bated breath every Sunday, and I'm sure not one of them would object to Stafford earning his contracted bonus for winning a championship (I said bated breath, not held breath).

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