NFL Lockout: Rookie Ramifications

COLUMBUS (WTVM) - The potential NFL lockout didn't sway the decisions of some underclassmen to declare for the NFL draft.

"What other way can you picture us going out than the way we went out this year, but with the lockout looming, will it happen? That's the risk you got to take," said former Auburn quarterback and Heisman trophy winner Cam Newton.

A record 56 underclassmen took that risk in declaring for the draft this year. Before they did, their college coaches helped make them aware of what could happen March 4th when the current collective bargaining agreement ends.

Georgia prepared their players before they had to declare. "We had an executive from one of the clubs come in and talk to our guys about what might be going on with the collective bargaining agreement and how that might affect young guys that are thinking about coming to the draft," explained Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt.

"They just spoke about how it was kind of uncertain," said former Georgia Fullback Shaun Chapas who is entered his name in this year's NFL draft. "There really hasn't been a lockout like this in quite some time, they're saying this one might last a little longer. Just be prepared for the uncertainty."

The NFL is preparing for the uncertainty of the lockout and have a contingency plan in place if there is still a lockout at the beginning of the NFL season.

"You could potentially miss week two and you would basically have to eliminate the bye week and the week between the championship games and the Super Bowl," said a source inside the NFL. "Week three is where you really begin to have some problems....if you get anywhere beyond week five you have to cancel the season."

Even if there is a lockout there will be a draft, but don't expect to see Sam Bradford like rookie wages. In fact, don't expect to see wages at all.

"You run into that issue, where you have teams drafting players potentially not being allowed to negotiate contracts with them, said an anonymous NFL Source. "Realize that when the lockout goes players can't talk to coaches they can't do official team representations. They're allowed to sign sponsorship deals, but he can't be in the new commercial wearing a Panthers jersey if that's who he gets drafted by. He's not allowed to show any team affiliation though his rights will be owned by the Carolina Panthers."

Cam Newton and Nick Fairley will be fine with their sponsorship deals in place. But what about the guys in rounds four through seven?

"I do actually have a backup plan," said Pacelli Alum Mark LeGree who recently participated in the NFL Combine. "I didn't graduate I'm 16 hours short so if there was a lockout I'd just be back in school finishing my degree and continuing to work out there and my agent would help me with any financials. It's unfortunate that this is happening during my draft. "

Only time will tell how long the lockout will last, but time is not on the side of the players as CNN Money released a report this week that said the league could financially sustain a lockout for up to two years.