INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – What once could be a contentious give-and-take between agents and teams has been reduced to a more regimented process.
There’s still room for detailed maneuvering, but the NFL’s rookie wage scale has simplified and expedited post-draft negotiations and virtually eliminated the rancor. By and large, prolonged stalemates are a thing of the past.
Chris Ballard added nine players to the Indianapolis Colts roster during last week’s draft. No one should be surprised if he and his staff begin quickly signing them to their rookie contracts.
Last year, five of the Colts’ 10 draft picks were under contract on May 3. Four more were signed within the following week. The final to put his name to paper: linebacker Bobby Okereke on June 14.
A similar approach was followed in 2018. Nine of the 11 picks, including first-rounder Quenton Nelson, were signed by May 11. The lollygagger: second-round linebacker Darius Leonard (July 22).
The rookie wage scale involves a descending slotting process that was put in place to limit the monstrous contracts being given to high draft picks and, in principle, funnel additional money to veterans.
It certainly has reined in deals to players drafted early.
In 2010, the last year there was no limit on paying rookies, the St. Louis Rams gave 1st overall pick Sam Bradford a six-year deal worth $78 million with roughly $50 million in guarantees. In 2012, the Colts paid Andrew Luck, the 1st overall pick, a four-year contract worth $22.1 million with a $14.5 million signing bonus.
Here’s what the Colts’ nine draft picks can anticipate, according to overthecap.com. Each will receive a four-year contract:
- WR Michael Pittman Jr (round 2/34th overall): $8,612,846 with a $3,823,888 signing bonus.
- RB Jonathan Taylor (round 2/41): $7,829,154 with a $3,253,928 signing bonus.
- S Julian Blackmon (round 3/85): $4,628,848 with a $926,436 signing bonus.
- QB Jacob Eason (round 4/122): $4,027,264 with a $732,264 signing bonus.
- OL Danny Pinter (round 5/149): $3,643,696 with a $348,696 signing bonus.
- DT Robert Windsor (round 6/193): $3,469,024 with a $174,024 signing bonus.
- CB Isaiah Rodgers (round 6/211): $3,440,124 with a $145,124 signing bonus.
- WR Dezmon Patmon (round 6/212): $3,424,412 with a $129,412 signing bonus.
- LB Jordan Glasgow (round 6/213): $3,424,412 with a $129,412 signing bonus.