Posted by Will Brinson
It's no secret that the NFL's decision to fine players for big hits (and fine them large chunks of cheddar) hasn't been favorably received by the league's players -- particularly the defensive ones.
Add Bears star Brian Urlacher, appearing on ESPN Radio Wednesday, to the list of people complaining, as he lamented the expensive nature of fines handed to players, particularly those with lower salaries.
"I think the money’s outrageous," Urlacher said, via Michael David Smith at Pro Football Talk. "Why can’t there be different levels of fines? A league minimum guy getting fined 50 grand? That’s a lot of money for him. Making 300 grand a year getting almost a fifth of his paycheck gone? I can go on all day about this because it frustrates me when I see these hits and these guys getting fined."
Urlacher did say that the league's decision to issue fines "hasn't changed" what he or the Bears defense do on the field. He also called the process by which the fines were determined "bull" (although he admitted to not knowing exactly how they were determined), and said he thinks there should be "a panel of guys who look at those hits and go over them."
The panel notion isn't exactly a horrible idea -- but more interesting is the idea of fining guys based on how much money they make. Andy touched on this over a month ago (accurate calling the system for fines "outrageously unfair") and it's something that seems like a pretty obvious solution.
If someone makes $300,000 gets fined $50,000, they're having their livelihood significantly damaged; maybe that means that guys who make less money are less inclined to lead with their helmets, but it also gives more leeway for guys with bigger paychecks to avoid changing their style of play.
And while the league has shown some leniency towards players with lesser salaries and better intentions (Kurt Coleman, who makes very little money, wasn't fined for his monster hit on Austin Collie) it simply remains unfair that someone could lose one-sixth of what they make annually on a single play that they're not guaranteed to have any control over.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.