Only one first-round rookie has agreed to terms. But that rookie, Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, did a deal in the slot directly in front of Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. And so it becomes easier to estimate the value of Tebow’s first NFL contract.
With rookies reporting in Denver on Wednesday, it’s unclear whether a deal will be finished in time.
According to Mile Klis of the Denver Post, the Broncos and agent Jimmy Sexton are negotiating a five-year deal with an expected value of $12 million, including $8 million guaranteed. Klis says it would be a surprise if Tebow isn’t signed before the first full-squad practice on Sunday.
The so-called “quarterback premium” should help Tebow leapfrog Bryant. And the contract should include escalators based on playing time, which will pay Tebow a lot more money if/when he becomes the starter.
But here’s where Tebow needs to be careful — holding out for those escalators could delay indefinitely the timeline for Tebow to ascend to the top of the depth chart. And, as current Broncos backup Brady Quinn learned the hard way, it could spark a chain of events that prevents Tebow from unlocking the high-end dollars tacked onto his deal.
Either way, Klis points out that Tebow is likely to sign before receiver Demaryius Thomas, the team’s other first-round selection. Thomas, taken 22nd overall, is represented by Todd France, who has a reputation for waiting until his clients are bracketed with contracts negotiated in the spots before and after the player was taken, making the negotiation simpler and less risky.