The newest crop of NFL players will soon know where they begin their professional careers. I don’t envy these fine young men, because with the pressure to perform comes another pressure; money.

Let’s take a step back and try to grasp something very important.

Many of these young men are or have just now propelled themselves into a new world. Like Columbus setting foot on the islands of the Caribbean, these young men suddenly find themselves earning more money than their entire families. And it is glorious. 

Jameis Winston gets to learn how to count. I hope he keeps practicing.
Jameis Winston gets to learn how to count. I hope he keeps practicing.

The number one overall pick Jameis Winston wasted no time in signing his rookie contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Worth a reported  $23.35 million deal that includes a $16.7 million signing bonus, this welcomes Winston into a new club. That club being guys that have more money in their bank account than I do…for now. #slowclap.
Regardless of my personal feelings for Jameis Winston, I do feel for the guy because when someone throws that amount of money around, they expect a show. And Winston has to put up a show, even for the $16 million that is guaranteed according to the reports of the deal. He is walking into a starting role with high expectations paving the road before him. Good luck, Jameis. You’re gonna need it.

The show has yet to even begin. Right now, the newly minted professional football players have but a moment’s rest. Tomorrow, the work begins, but the players don’t get paid until kickoff…in early-September. They have to keep working out and training. No rest for the wicked. Neither for us. This marks a new window for the DFS player. We have new scenarios to account for. What if that outside linebacker out of Illinois does impact the defense like his projections say he will. That is going to give you pause come this fall. I can’t wait for it. The NFL Draft allows us a glimpse into the future and brings with it new hope.

Like a DFS player, these new professionals have to hone their skills, set up their system and test and retest.

Soon they will attend training camp with their respective teams. Soon we will labor before the draft boards and scenarios to help us predict the future. But this does not guarantee success for us nor the professional football players.

Granted, a head coach is extremely unlikely to cut a first round draft pick with a huge paycheck stapled to his backside. This history does not account for Dimitrius Underwood. While researching this article, I learned to not believe everything one reads on Reddit. And dash aside any memories of the ghosts of NFL Drafts-Past.

Underwood was a first rounder, drafted 29th overall in the 1999 NFL Draft, who signed a five-year deal worth $5.3 million. He just so happened to walk out of the first day of training camp and forfeited the unearned signing bonus from that deal. I highly doubt that will happen to Jameis Winston. He may like his crab legs and the Florida sunshine, but Winston will stick it out…if all else fails – for the benjamins. Will he be a DFS lodestar? Time will only tell.

Either way, none of the draftees get paid until they play…for real. This is the same for you and I. I can’t take your money unless you play the leagues. The practice and the training camps don’t count. These guys may be getting paid more than anyone in their lineage has ever made, but they have yet to earn it.  Again, just like you and me.

You see players don’t get a paycheck each week or twice monthly that you or I might from some plebian task. They get paid when they play on gameday. So, all the numbers getting tossed around the Internet and via the media don’t mean squat.

These newly minted professionals have to fend off every known and unknown cousin, uncle, aunt, and baby-momma that can and will find them. I don’t envy the shooting gallery their lives have become.

If they are smart, they put as many walls between them and their money as possible. Think of it as protecting their bankroll. NFL players on average have about 3 to 4 years of playing time. For every dollar they earn, they have to protect at least 80 percent. But Uncle Sam likes his tax revenue and each time they earn a dollar at least 40 percent is taken aback by the taxman. They then have to think about how to save and spend.  This is why NFL rookies go to mandatory orientation. There they learn the do’s and dont’s. For their sake I hope they take notes.

This is a lot like the early days of a DFS player. I remember losing my head when I was on a streak. I couldn’t lose, then I lost. I learned a few rules of the DFS road: respect the bankroll; never count on your opponent being worst then you; there are no sure things.

There are numerous stories about professional athletes going broke. I don’t have to recount them for you here.

But many professionals don’t go broke. Many find riches and fame through the sacrifice we all know and love. So, to the newly minted class of Professional Football Players of the National Football League, I welcome you to the grind.

The future is sure to be glorious.

Till next time, boom goes the dynamite and follow me @Deepdfspicks.