Inside The Bills

Why draft choices are signing faster than ever

Posted by Chris Brown on May 16, 2014 – 11:47 am

NFL draft choices are signing faster than ever. Exactly one week after the NFL draft a few clubs have almost all of their draft choices signed prior to their team’s rookie minicamp. The Bills signed three of their draft picks Thursday. Even fifth overall pick Khalil Mack signed with Oakland. Here’s why.

Even though the salary cap went up more than eight percent there is a freeze on signing bonuses so all this year’s picks will get the same signing bonus as the players did last year who were taken in their draft slot. For Sammy Watkins that’s Philadelphia’s Lane Johnson, who got just over $12.8M. 

The reason why bonuses are staying flat is because teams borrowed money from future rookie pools (2012, 2013) after the lockout in 2011 to make sure that rookies that year wouldn’t be paid less than the rookies from 2010 prior to the readjustment in salary cap and the rookie wage scale. That money is now being repaid in 2014. CBSSports.com’s Joel Corry did a great job of laying everything out if you want to know more.

So essentially the only increases the 2014 draft class is seeing is in their base salaries. 

Forbes.com put together a very good contract projection for all of the first-round picks earlier this week and nailed Mack’s contract to the dollar. Of course it’s much easier now knowing there are only a couple of increasing variables. In any event here’s the projection, which includes Sammy Watkins.


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