Seven first-rounders still unsigned

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With Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (No. 11 overall) and Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (No. 12) agreeing to terms on Sunday, seven first-round picks are still unsigned.

Strangely, they all land from picks No. 17 through 24.  They are Patriots tackle Nate Solder (No. 17), Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget (No. 18), Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara (No. 19; pictured), 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 only player signed in that eight-man stretch is the first first-rounder to sign:  Bucs defensive end Adrian Clayborn, the 20th overall pick.  Clayborn’s deal, negotiated by up-and-comer Blake Baratz, overshot the pick-by-pick formula not only for the 20th slot, but also for the 19th slot, occupied by Amukamara.  That wrinkle could be keeping Amukamara’s deal from getting done.

The bigger issue is the extent to which the teams are willing to fully guarantee the four-year deals.  Clayborn’s at No. 20 is fully guaranteed.  The contract signed by Seahawks offensive lineman James Carpenter at No. 25 is guaranteed only for the first three years.  For picks No. 21 through No. 24, the fight centers on whether three or four years will be guaranteed.

The Colts are drawing a line in the sand at No. 22 with Castonzo.  “Agents are asking for a four-year guarantee, which we will not do,” Colts vice chairman Bill Polian said, via “As I mentioned, we are old school and if we won’t give Joseph Addai, who helped us to two Super Bowls and helped us win two AFC championships, a fully guaranteed contract, we aren’t going to do it for a rookie, any rookie.  We love Anthony.  We think he’s a great draft choice and we think he would be a great Colt, but it’s time for him to prove that before he gets a fully guaranteed contract.”

Ditto for the Eagles at No. 23; per Reuben Frank of, the Eagles only want to guarantee the first three years of the contract.

The solution could be for the teams and the agents to agree to guarantee three years — the last three years.  As a practical matter, this guarantees the entire deal, allowing the teams to say that they didn’t guarantee the entire four years.

Either way, look for these deals to get done soon.

13 responses to “Seven first-rounders still unsigned

  1. Wow. So Tampa Bay screwed everyone drafting around them.

    The Patriots are also likely insisting on a 5 year deal. That has been the holdup with their first round picks for years (Mankins, Watson, etc…).

  2. Why not just guarantee the whole damn thing? If you can’t be certain that your first round pick will and should be on your roster for the next four seasons, you should re-evaluate your draft strategy and prep.

  3. @docredskin says:
    Aug 1, 2011 10:30 AM
    “Why not just guarantee the whole damn thing? If you can’t be certain that your first round pick will and should be on your roster for the next four seasons, you should re-evaluate your draft strategy and prep.”
    It’s all about leverage, you give one guy a guarantee you set a benchmark that other agents will use on other players come contract negotiating time (rookies and vets). There are a ton of 1st round busts that are known fails even by years 2 and 3 of their contract, but most GM’s and coaches don’t gave the stones to cut them because it makes them look bad (Look at Vernon Gholston). Nothing’s certain.

  4. And why did the Bucs overshoot the mark? Did they do some type of Enron math?

    The rookies are already behind the eight-ball. Their agents are doing them a further disservice by keeping them out over less than 100k and whatnot.

    Get these guys in camp and let’s roll…

  5. Thanks a lot Bucs for effing it up….

    Good PFT is clearing up why none of these guys are unsigned, didn’t seem to make any sense.

  6. Tony Grossi, of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, reported in his Twitter feed from training camp that Shurmur confirmed the hold-up with Phil Taylor is “guarantees.”

    This is setting an UGLY precedent for what it’ll be like next year, when there’s a full off-season.

  7. Pretty simple and fair solution here. At least for picks 21-24.

    Pick 20 – Already fully guaranteed 4 years
    Pick 25 – Only first 3 years guaranteed

    Pick 21 – First 3 years fully guaranteed, 4th year 80% guaranteed
    Pick 22 – First 3 years fully guaranteed, 4th year 60% guaranteed
    Pick 23 – First 3 years fully guaranteed, 4th year 40% guaranteed
    Pick 24 – First 3 years fully guaranteed, 4th year 20% guaranteed

  8. I understand that the fully guaranteed aspect of Clayborn’s contract can’t be challenged, but why hasn’t the NFL shot down the Clayborn contract if it overshot its slot in the newly agreed upon rookie wage scale?

    What good is a rookie wage scale if agents/teams are able to break the slots without repercussion – and create gridlock among their opponents by doing so?

    Makes no sense to me.

  9. Here’s the way I see it, Ted. Guy puts a fancy guarantee on a box ’cause he wants you to feel all warm and toasty inside.
    Ya figure you put that little box under your pillow at night, the Guarantee Fairy might come by and leave a quarter, am I right
    The point is, how do you know the fairy isn’t a crazy glue sniffer? “Building model airplanes” says the little fairy; well, we’re not buying it. He sneaks into your house once, that’s all it takes. The next thing you know, there’s money missing off the dresser, and your daughter’s knocked up. I seen it a hundred times.

  10. Wow, if Addai being part of the 2 Super Bowls can’t get a fully guaranteed contract …does that mean he hasn’t proven himself YET…or you’ll always be just THIS shy by “Old School” standards? Craziness I say! Good luck Rookie!

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