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Despite rookie wage scale, 10 first-round picks still aren’t signed

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With a brief lull in the free-agency free-for-all, it was time to take a look at the status of the first-round draft picks.  Despite the implementation of a rookie wage scale, which gives teams and agents fewer issues than ever to negotiate, only 22 of the 32 first-rounders have been signed.

The holdouts, five days into the compressed process, are as follows:  Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (No. 11), Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (No. 12; pictured), Rams defensive end Robert Quinn (No. 14), Patriots tackle Nate Solder (No. 17), Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget (No. 18), Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara (No. 19), Browns defensive tackle Phil Taylor (No. 21), Colts tackle Anthony Castonzo (No. 22), Eagles guard Danny Watkins (No. 23), and Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (No. 24).

The bulk of the holdouts are clustered from picks 17 through 24.  Only one player in that stretch, Bucs defensive end Adrian Clayborn (No. 20 overall) has agreed to terms.  The fact that Clayborn overshot the allocation for his slot by roughly $75,000 possibly has contributed to the problem.  Clayborn received $8,210,000; the formula pegged his slot at $8,135,000.

Clayborn not only overshot his own slot — he got more than the number that the formula provides for Amukamara at No. 19 ($8,180,000).

Another issue could be the question of the extent to which the contracts will be guaranteed.  Clayborn’s deal is fully guaranteed, which squeezes Pats, Chargers, and Giants to do the same thing.  Likewise, the players picked at No. 21 through No. 24 may be seeking fully guaranteed deals, and the teams may be resisting.  The 25th pick, James Carpenter of the Seahawks, has a guarantee only for the first three years.

There’s every reason to think these 10 remaining deals will be done soon.  Then again, there’s every reason to think they already should have been done.

UPDATE:  Per Howard Balzer of the SportsExchange and, Quinn has agreed to terms.  He is expected to practice Sunday.

SECOND UPDATE:  Watt technically isn’t a holdout yet because the Texans don’t report until today.  Multiple sources tell us that Watt is expected to sign today and participate in the first practice on Monday.

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40 Responses to “Despite rookie wage scale, 10 first-round picks still aren’t signed”
  1. boneyardbuc says: Jul 31, 2011 2:21 AM

    Mark Dominik is throwing his weight around… lol

    Is there an emoticon for sarcasm?

    Some of those teams that haven’t signed their first rounders have been the most active in free agency….Eagles is a prime example…

  2. dbellina says: Jul 31, 2011 2:23 AM

    This is because, America.

  3. hobartbaker says: Jul 31, 2011 2:30 AM

    Watt and Ponder have issues to settle with their “buddy” Gabbert who threw them under the bus.

  4. digirootune says: Jul 31, 2011 2:33 AM


  5. johnsticle says: Jul 31, 2011 2:36 AM

    Ponder has been in Minnesota now for a few days, I’m sure they’re working on his contract as we speak. I bet he’ll be signed and out on the field for camp by Tuesday morning.

  6. possiblecabbage says: Jul 31, 2011 2:51 AM

    So some late round pick gets screwed because Clayborn’s agent demands $75,000 more than the EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS he was scheduled to receive?

    That’s really classy.

  7. goawayeverybody says: Jul 31, 2011 2:53 AM

    10 of 32 is a fairly high percentage. I’m sure this will all be sorted out soon though.

  8. tbtrojan says: Jul 31, 2011 3:28 AM

    But… but… I thought the Glazers were cheap!!!
    Listening to a large number of supposed Bucs fans & media Tampa refuse to spend money, yet all we hear is…
    they “overpaid” for Clayborn
    they “overpaid” for Davin Joseph
    they “overpaid” for Michael Koenen
    they “overpaid” for Quincey Black
    Gerald McCoy is due over $13 million in bonus money this season, which is “overpaying” him
    Jeff Faine is “overpaid” and needs to be cut
    Why is Kellen Winslow being made the highest paid TE in the league when he has one leg?

    Whenever the Bucs sign anyone the “fans/media” whine they are overpaid but those very same “fans/media” whine when the guys they would sign in Madden aren’t picked up and call the Glazers cheap. Make up your freakin minds already do cheap owners overpay seemingly everyone?

  9. giveseanpaytonhisjuicyfruit says: Jul 31, 2011 4:05 AM

    Despite the new wage scale, it’s going to be impossible for the Saints to sign Cameron Heyward

  10. skoobyfl says: Jul 31, 2011 4:29 AM

    You now see what happens when agent Smith gets his codes.

  11. dangcote says: Jul 31, 2011 5:58 AM

    When Danny Watkins (no 23) was drafted, he even said that he would not be a holdout, that he wanted to be at camp on time, specially since he is already pegged the starter. So much for that Danny.

  12. surshot says: Jul 31, 2011 6:30 AM

    Cameron Heyward does not play for the Saints he plays for the Steelers and they already signed him a couple of days ago

  13. danrooneyii says: Jul 31, 2011 6:33 AM

    “Saints defensive end Cameron Heyward (No. 24).”

    Cameron Heyward is holding out because he thought he was drafted by the Steelers.

  14. tomsd1 says: Jul 31, 2011 6:44 AM

    So Mike: How long until this gets figured out? Seems from your prior post – it should just be a matter of filing in the blanks.

  15. ICDogg says: Jul 31, 2011 6:55 AM

    I know it appears that some of the disputes are whether to guarantee 3 of 4 years vs all 4 years. But maybe they can split the difference and guarantee 3 and a half years for those middle spots and get these guys into camp already?

  16. donttouchthedirtypenny says: Jul 31, 2011 6:59 AM

    I remember PFT a post from last week or two weeks ago saying that a rookie wage scale would make holdouts a thing of the past. Then all the comments were about ” what about guaranteed money”? Maybe the readers were right

  17. woodson26pitt says: Jul 31, 2011 7:00 AM

    Mike, that’s Cameron Jordan of the Saints, not Heyward.

  18. cup1981 says: Jul 31, 2011 7:01 AM

    “Eagles guard Danny Watkins (No. 23), and Saints defensive end Cameron Heyward (No. 24).”

    Hmmm… Last I knew, Cameron Heyward was taken by the Steelers, with the 31st pick and he signed yesterday… Just sayin’…

  19. uclabruininstlouis says: Jul 31, 2011 7:27 AM

    Quinn just signed.

  20. brasho says: Jul 31, 2011 7:32 AM

    Cameron Heyward was drafted by the Steelers, not the Saints.

  21. jenniferxxx says: Jul 31, 2011 7:38 AM

    Leave it to the Bucs to make a mess.

  22. mattsffrd says: Jul 31, 2011 7:38 AM

    Isn’t the rookie wage scale there so that these things don’t happen?

  23. pittsburghsteelerz says: Jul 31, 2011 7:40 AM

    “Saints defensive end Cameron Heyward (No. 24).”

    Cameron Heyward did sign…. with the Steelers!

  24. edmazeing1 says: Jul 31, 2011 7:41 AM

    Guess clayborn had the smartest agent!!!

  25. steelerfan9598 says: Jul 31, 2011 7:52 AM

    Cameron Heyward was drafted and already signed by the Steelers.

  26. norseman69 says: Jul 31, 2011 7:54 AM

    Ponder should take his time since the vike queens signed McDumb

  27. mojosmagic says: Jul 31, 2011 8:02 AM

    All these young players do is hurt themselves over chump change. Most will end up falling behind and not playing in their rookie season which cost them for the rest of their careers. Players change agents throughout their career and the agents are only looking out for themselves.

  28. ehatem says: Jul 31, 2011 8:14 AM

    Cam Heyward is the Steelers 1st rounder. Cam Jordan is the Saints 1st rounder. Not to be confused with Jordan Cameron the Browns 2nd round pick. Entirely too many Cams this year. Bet they all buy Camaros.

  29. burghermeister says: Jul 31, 2011 8:16 AM

    Cam Heyward signed two days ago and practiced yesterday.

  30. burghermeister says: Jul 31, 2011 8:17 AM

    I think you meant Cam Jordan Cal defensive lineman from the Saints… although saying its Heyward from the Steelers does fit your agenda better

  31. sixburghsteelers says: Jul 31, 2011 8:44 AM

    I see you guys are STILL deleting peoples comments…lol

    That’s ok, only about 10 other people commented on your mistake on Cam Heyward…

  32. FinFan68 says: Jul 31, 2011 9:20 AM

    Doesn’t the league need to approve all contracts before they become effective? If there is a specific breakdown by slot and the 1st player that signed exceeded it, doesn’t that set a precedence for everybody else to exceed it too. It’s just $75K this time, but what if Luck uses that next year to jack up his earnings for millions?

  33. bobnelsonjr says: Jul 31, 2011 10:02 AM

    If you were Ponder would you sign up with Adrian Peterson’s slave team?

  34. lifelongbrownsfan says: Jul 31, 2011 10:07 AM

    Let’s not forget, the Bucs were $56 million UNDER the salary cap, and nearly $20 million under the new “floor.” They have a lot of ground to make up for between now and the end of the year, when they will be forced to close that $20 million gap to reach the floor. It’s not unreasonable to expect that they’re going to be a bit more spend-happy. They’re being forced to.

  35. pjxii says: Jul 31, 2011 10:18 AM

    I would tend to lean toward the rookies wanting more guaranteed money than the Bucs giving 1% more to their draft pick holding things up.

  36. cuzidid42 says: Jul 31, 2011 10:48 AM

    If I were Ponder, I wouldn’t sign anything and wait till next year. This team is doing nothing in FA to make them better anyway. Sure they got Donavan, but what have they done since, picked up other team rejects that are second tier players at best. Gonna be a disappionting year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  37. 1brocktacular says: Jul 31, 2011 10:55 AM

    All this drama over 75 Gs.

  38. socalseahawker says: Jul 31, 2011 12:08 PM

    Is it shocking that the Chargers have a 1st round holdout? Even with a rookie wage scale? AJ can still find a way to try and F with these guys.

  39. ohiogator says: Jul 31, 2011 3:58 PM

    Come on Big Phil. You need to get in there and practice a little. Need to sign now!

  40. gilleybuc says: Jul 31, 2011 7:33 PM

    Necessary to overpay if it meant getting him into camp on time. Our defensive end play last year was awful and we need Clayborn to come in and start immediately. Clayborn’s agent most definitely knew this and probably threatened to holdout for a bit if not given a bit more. I don’t blame Dom for giving in.

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