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Originally published April 13, 2011 at 8:18 PM | Page modified April 13, 2011 at 8:20 PM

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League wants to slash pay for rookies

The NFL wants to cut almost 60 percent of guaranteed pay for first-round draft picks, lock them in for five years and divert the savings to veterans' salaries and benefits.

NEW YORK — The NFL wants to cut almost 60 percent of guaranteed pay for first-round draft picks, lock them in for five years and divert the savings to veterans' salaries and benefits.

More than $525 million went to first-rounders in guaranteed payments in 2010. The league wants to decrease that figure by $300 million, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The league's offer would free more than $1.2 billion over four years through 2015 — $37.5 million per team overall — and slow the growth rate of guaranteed payments to first-rounders, which the documents show increased by 233 percent from 2000 to 2010.

Such quarterback busts as JaMarcus Russell ($32 million), Matt Leinart ($12.9 million), David Carr ($15 million) and Joey Harrington ($13.9 million) received huge guaranteed payments that totaled $367 million in the past 10 drafts.

Of course, Eli Manning ($24 million), Philip Rivers ($17.9 million) and Matt Ryan ($34.7 million) have not done too badly for their teams.

Guaranteed money paid to top-10 selections since 2000 reached nearly $2 billion. Guaranteed payments for all first-rounders were at $3.5 billion. The average career length of a first-round pick since 1993 is 9.3 years.

Eagles president Joe Banner said the original aim of the draft is being compromised by the expenses associated with signing top picks.

"It can become a disadvantage to be in one of the top spots," Banner said.

Mediation resumes

MINNEAPOLIS — One month and two days after the NFL and its players cut off negotiations on a new collective-bargaining agreement and put the 2011 season in peril, the two sides will return to the table for court-ordered mediation Thursday with a key legal ruling on the lockout still pending.

NFL executives met with U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan on Wednesday for five hours the day before the first talks between the league and the players since the middle of March.

Lawyers for the players met with Boylan for about four hours on Tuesday.

Note

• Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt was arrested in his hometown of Bayonne, N.J., after an officer reported seeing him speeding at 71 mph in a 50 mph zone. Britt, 22, faces charges of eluding the officer, hindering apprehension and obstructing governmental function.

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