It should be obvious by now that reducing the number of NFL licensees wasn't the answer. Over saturation in the current football trading card market has caused ever decreasing value for cards on the secondary market.
While the argument can be made that the total number of products should be further reduced, I don't believe that is a long-term or viable fix. I'd much rather see the same number of products divided amongst 3 licensees. Bringing back Upper Deck in the football fold would; 1) increase competition, 2) return innovation and design to the forefront of the niche and 3) give collectors more choices.
However, this in and of itself isn't the solution. What is the solution, would be to change the rules that designate a player's rookie status and consequently his eligibility for a rookie card. The simple answer for me would be to designate a rookie as any player who makes the 53 man roster out of training camp. In addition, each licensee would be allowed up to 3 exemptions for isolated incidents like that which occurred with Brock Lesnar a few years ago with the Minnesota Vikings.
I imagine I am not alone as a collector who experiences the utter let down of a box break when confronted with the cold hard reality of one of my hits being someone who isn't even on the practice squad but was eligible for a card because they were drafted. That practice is total garbage and MUST stop. I understand the business argument behind it with the product configuration process being dependant on inserting 'x' number of scrubs to 'x' number of high profile RC's.
Would you be willing to spend a little more money for higher odds of pulling a legit RC and giving up one bogus hit? I know I would be, gladly too.