223 of 262 draft picks have signed their rookie contracts

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The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement has dramatically streamlined the process of getting draft picks under contract. As a result, they get signed sooner than ever before.

Previously an activity that unfolded on or after the Fourth of July — especially for the first-round picks — they now start agreeing to terms much more quickly.

As of Thursday, 223 of the 262 draft picks from the 2022 class have agreed to terms, per a source with knowledge of the transactions.

In round one, 30 of the 32 selections are under contract. The only unsigned first rounders are Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (20th overall) and Patriots guard Cole Strange (29th overall). Through the 32nd pick, every contract contains a full guarantee for all four years of the deal, the culmination of a decade-long effort to stretch the four-guarantees from the roughly the first 20 selections through the entirety of round one.

More than half of the second-round picks are unsigned. Only 14 have agreed to terms. Of the 41 picks in round three, 38 have signed.

In round four, the process has slowed because the Texans exceeded the slot for running back Dameon Pierce, the second selection in the round, by $25,000. The other 14 of the first 15 players taken in round four still haven’t signed. In all, 22 of the 38 fourth-round picks have agreed to terms.

For rounds five, six, and seven, every pick has signed a contract.

That leaves 39 not signed, with more than a month to go before camp opens. It is indeed a far cry from how it used to be, when rookie draft picks participated in the offseason program with nothing other than a letter of protection promising them the contract they would have gotten, in the event that they suffer a serious injury before signing.

The best protection continues to be a signed contract. Fortunately, most draft picks now have them. With the offseason programs ended, there’s no longer any real urgency to get the deals done. For the players, the process ideally will continue to evolve to the point where every player has his contract before they put on a helmet and enter the practice field for the first time.

11 responses to “223 of 262 draft picks have signed their rookie contracts

  1. 2nd round picks think they should have gone in round 1 and want to be paid like it. Not going to happen. The Texans jumping outside the lines was stupid.

  2. Did a rookie without a contract ever get seriously injured during the off-season and the drafting team hesitate?

  3. And they can all thank Sam Bradford for either getting money which they will never “earn” or exceeding and having to hold out for a new contract.

  4. Cole Strange is probably thinking, “I don’t know if I want to play for an organization stupid enough to use a first-round pick on me.”

  5. Pickett probably asking for more than slot because he’s a QB. But what the heck is going on with Strange? He clearly didn’t think he would go that high, so you’d think he would sign quicker than most guys. Are the Patriots low-balling him?

  6. Bill is nickel & diming players before they even officially become part of the team.

  7. Our 2nd round pick hasn’t signed. The $$$$$ of the contract is all good,… but the #1 issue the agent is having is the amount of fully guaranteed money. I’ve heard that’s holding several of the 2nd rounders that haven’t signed yet. It sounds petty to me seeing most teams don’t cut 2nd rounders inside their 4 year contract,… but then again I’m not the draft pick,… agent, … or team contract negotiator.

  8. Strange that $25k is the sticking point. Most owners have probably spent that much on a dinner recently.

    On the other hand, it’s not about the $25k. It’s about setting (maintaining) the precedent that players don’t get to set the terms so don’t even think about it.

  9. First rounders should only be 3 years fully gtd with the team option for the 4th year, I mean some players don’t deserve the 4th year while others overplay their rookie contracts

  10. The Texans must have consulted Bill O’Brien on how to screw up the 4th round

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