The draft began 11 days ago. Less than two weeks later, more than 70 players have signed their rookie contracts.
It’s no surprise. The negotiation process has become much simpler under the 2011 labor deal. The fact that so many players have been signed suggests that teams should endeavor to sign all draft picks as quickly as, for example, the Bears have done.
Still, with most of the players not signed and all of them (as far as we can tell) showing up for offseason workouts, not enough agents are insisting on contracts being put in place before players assume the risk of serious injury during offseason workouts. While the players receive a one-page letter of protection that ostensibly gives them the value of their contracts if they suffer a serious injury, the effectiveness of the device remains unknown because it’s never been challenged.
The safest course remains to insist on a contract before showing up for offseason workouts. While we’ve heard that some agents are doing this, not nearly enough have taken what should be a fairly straightforward position on behalf of their clients — if you want me to work, pay me.