Former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield doesn’t get to choose which team he’s going to play for. Nope. He will be drafted to a particular team.
Mayfield doesn’t get to determine how much money he’s going to make and negotiate a contract. Nope. That’s all set and fixed by the NFL for rookies.
He doesn’t have any leverage. He’ll learn who his employer is going to be at the same time we do, in the same way we do, in a synthetic event designed to get viewers.
So, yeah, good for Mayfield for saying he won’t be showing up at the upcoming draft. Mayfield is a certain draw. He’s a Heisman winner and he’s a player college football fans have an opinion on. Mayfield is worth paying attention to, so no wonder NFL folks want him at the upcoming draft.
Mayfield said he wasn’t going. Now, he didn’t give a reason why, but honestly, there’s no reason for Mayfield to attend. Why should he? Whatever reason Mayfield has for skipping out on this ridiculous, made-for-TV event that the NFL has turned into a giant money-maker is good enough.
There’s no reason for Mayfield, or any other player to show up – not without getting paid. After all, FOX and ESPN are putting on the show this season, which means FOX is planning on making money on the event, which also means the NFL is making money on it, considering they sold it to FOX and ESPN.
So, why are the players showing up for nothing? They’re the only ones not getting paid on this racket, and it’s the last time they will have any leverage. Could the NFL stage the entire draft in a closet and not broadcast it? Sure. Of course, but someone in the league office decided a long time ago, putting this event on TV would make a lot of cash. Makes sense. People tuned in, the NFL got paid.
The only people not getting rich here are the players.
A bunch of players will be there once again, because that’s just what’s always been done. But that’s hardly a good reason. That reason has just about as much merit as showing up because it’s a chance to runway a new suit or shake Roger Goddell’s hand. Not worth it.
Perhaps Mayfield doesn’t want to go to the NFL draft because of the uncertainty. The possibility for awkwardness would be high and the TV cameras would certainly love it if Mayfield doesn’t get picked early. Makes sense Mayfield would skip out on that.
Make more sense if Mayfield decided to skip out on it because there’s no advantage to being there. One of these seasons, the players will wise up and skip out.
Oh, there’s a certain segment of fans who would watch, listen and/or consume the draft no matter how it is is given and wouldn’t have a problem if none of the players showed up. But the NFL doesn’t want that. The NFL wants its newest players on display and if the NFL wants to guarantee it will always be that way, it should pay the players to be there.