There’s a common misconception in media circles that the last three unsigned first-round picks — No. 17 (Pats offensive lineman Nate Solder), No. 18 (Charger defensive tackle Corey Liuget), and No. 19 (Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara) — have yet to agree to terms because the players want all four years of their contracts to be guaranteed, but the teams will only guarantee three.
But that issue has taken on less importance after the signing of the Phil Taylor contract at No. 21. Though the teams may have previously argued that the four-year guarantee that the Bucs gave to defensive end Adrian Clayborn at No. 20 was an aberration, the decision of the Browns to guarantee part of Taylor’s compensation in year four and to push the rest of what would have been guaranteed to a non-guaranteed roster bonus due on the first day of the 2014 League Year has made it much harder for the Pats, Chargers, and Giants to continue to resist guaranteeing all four years.
The bigger issue, we’re told, is the total pay. As previously explained, Clayborn not only surpassed the total compensation pegged for him under the pick-by-pick wage formula, but Clayborn also overshot the amount allocated for Amukamara at No. 19.
Before going any farther into the nuances and details of the rookie wage scale, it’s important to point out that the new system does not establish a specific amount for each pick. Instead, every team gets an allocation for all draft picks based on the pick-by-pick formula that was developed by the NFL and the NFLPA, and that wasn’t supposed to be disclosed to the teams and agents. Thus, a team could give more money to some draft picks, leaving less for the others picked by that team.
Based on our assessment of the numbers, the Giants have more than enough money remaining after paying all other draft picks to give Amukamara more than Clayborn. By our calculations, the Giants can overshoot Amukamara’s projected total value of $8.18 million by nearly $600,000. Whether they can and whether they will are two different issues, however.
The Amukamara standoff is causing Liuget to wait, which in turn is causing Solder to wait.
One way or another, this logjam needs to break, soon. We’re not talking about huge dollars in the grand scheme of things, and the teams and players already are pressed for time to get ready for the 2011 regular season.
UPDATE: Based on the deals done on Thursday afternoon by Liuget at No. 18 and Solder at No. 17, the guarantee remained an issue, despite the Clayborn and Taylor contracts. The players apparently chose to cave, even though the floor clearly had been set by Clayborn and Taylor.