Even though the pace of draft pick contract negotiations is swift, not every team has joined the race.
With closing in on 200 of the 254 draft picks under contract, seven teams have signed all their picks, and 31 teams have signed at least one.
The Rams are the lone holdout, and they have a reason.
“We just feel like they’ll be better suited if we can take them through step A and B of Financial Planning 101 before we give ‘em the money,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said, via Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It’s just that simple. We’ll get them all signed and we’re communicating with them. . . .
“It’s a life-changing event for them. We try to better prepare them for that.”
Fisher also added, jokingly: “They’ve got a roof over their head and three meals, and they’re doing fine right now.”
Rookies are housed in a team hotel and fed at the facility during offseason workouts, part of the Rams’ philosophy of team-building. There, they work with former defensive tackle La’Roi Glover, the team’s director of player programs.
“A big focus of our entire program, with an emphasis from coach Fisher and [General Manager] Les [Snead] is on player development and skill development,” said Kevin Demoff, executive vice president of football operations. “We get La’Roi Glover involved, and really taking a holistic approach to the maturation process of the rookies and the vets.
“One of the things that we think is important with that is bringing the rookies in as a group, having them live together as a group, and not having any real differentiation between the first-round pick and the undrafted rookie.
“They’re in the hotel together. They’re eating meals together. They’re doing things together. And then [by the time] they all scatter, we’ll sign their contracts. They’ll leave knowing the contract’s done, so they don’t have to worry about that headache when they go on vacation.”
Demoff said all the contracts would likely be completed before players leave for the summer break, so the focus could be solely on football when they return in late July for training camp.
And while their decision keep the money out of their players’ hands for a month, the plan they have in place may help those players hang onto some of it.