Four of five first-round quarterbacks remain unsigned

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Most of the 2021 draft picks have signed their rookie contracts, and many contracts were signed fairly quickly after the seventh round ended. In the first round, 75 percent of the selections have agreed to terms.

That said, eighty percent of the first-round quarterbacks have not signed.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields, the 11th overall pick in the draft, previously did his deal. Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (No. 1), Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (No. 2), 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (No. 3), and Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (No. 15) have not agreed to terms.

It’s not a cause for concern, especially since all of the first-round rookie quarterback participated in offseason workouts without having their contracts signed. As July unfolds, however, it will be important to keep ears and eyes open for any potential snags.

The 2011 CBA dramatically streamlined the process of negotiating rookie deals by removing most of the things about which player and team can haggle. At the top of the draft, however, several negotiating points remain. For example, whether and to what extent the fully-guaranteed payments for the first four years will be subject to offset if the player is released sometimes becomes an issue. (Historically, the Jaguars have no insisted on offset language.) Also, cash flow becomes an important consideration; it’s one thing to earn money — it’s quite another thing to get the money. Other fights have emerged regarding the fine print that would void future guarantees. In 2018, a lengthy holdout by Bears first-round linebacker Roquan Smith was fueled by that very issue.

This year, the top three quarterbacks are represented by different agencies, which adds another wrinkle to the process. Each firm will want to be able to tout the deal it did in comparison to the other two. Also, given the picks invested in Lance, his agents at CAA could drive an even harder bargain, reasoning that they won’t want him to miss a single minute of meetings and practices as they get him ready to take over inevitably for Jimmy Garoppolo.

Although less frequent than they used to be, holdouts still happen. It’s possible that one or more will happen this year. And with the first three picks in the draft all quarterbacks for the first time since the new rookie compensation system was put in place, it makes sense to watch closely how those negotiations unfold.

11 responses to “Four of five first-round quarterbacks remain unsigned

  1. Much ado about nothing….. plenty of time to dot the i’s & cross the t’s

  2. Not much wiggle room for rookies to negotiate in … not even Rd1 drafted QB’s. It’s just agents posturing.

  3. The Rookie Payscale is pretty much set in stone, but there are also little things in negotiations such as salary splits, offsets, guarantee language, workout bonuses, and timing of payments that will have to be agreed upon. The agent wants as much upfront money as possible for their client and also the wording of the contract is really important.

  4. For a team that’s typically way behind the curve on pretty much everything, congrats are in order to the Bears on this one.

  5. Should have wrote a article on all the 2nd round picks that remain unsigned. A much larger number. You could have also explained all the reasons why 2nd rounders are harder to get deals done with quickly.

  6. “….fine print that would void future guarantees”” . What?? Did someone change the definition of guarantee?

  7. Wilson might have some leverage. Jones needs to realize there are three other QBs in the room that can start.

  8. Mac Jones looked like he would have used Goodell’s back as a surface to sign it on draft night.

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