With mega contracts being handed out left and right across the NBA landscape, NFL players have obviously taken notice. This summer marked the first of many to come that NBA players will begin to command $200-million-plus contracts with Steph Curry and James Harden becoming pioneers in a sense.

Tweets from numerous NFLers during the opening of NBA free agency in the first week of July were coated in a sense of humor to mask the heavy aroma of jealousy and regret.

Denver wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and his tweet in response to NBA players contracts. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney and Twitter)

“Looks like I chose the wrong sport,” Denver wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders tweeted in response to Curry’s extension which was then stamped by his teammate, linebacker Shane Ray who tweeted: “I’ll b(sp) happy when they start giving football players what they deserve.”

Several more NFL players like Seattle defensive back Richard Sherman have suggested that the players strike when the current collective bargaining agreement is due to be renegotiated in 2020, but that may not help. Despite being the world’s most watched sport — and perhaps the most dangerous — the NFL continues to lag behind in terms of player compensation while both the NBA and MLB continue to pay more and more each season to its performers. What’s even worse is that the trend will continue, possibly putting a major dark cloud over labor talks a few years from now. The NFL is never going to compensate its players like some other associations and leagues do but something definitely should be done. Perhaps a larger portion of upfront signing bonus money or additional performance and veteran bonuses may be in order.

Things may never be equal in terms of compensation and with the growing knowledge relating to concussions and post-football health effects, the population of amateur players and incoming rookies could diminish greatly. The participation in Pop Warner football has been on the decline for years now with the continuing concerns about health steadily staring in the face of the NFL. Heavy financial compensation could’ve been seen as a give-and-take in prior years but now the compensation simply doesn’t compare to the risk especially when comparing salaries to other leagues. The NFL may never match its players’ compensation levels to those of other sport leagues but if the money doesn’t change the league could indeed be impacted by the disparity.

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO