That was fast. Signing draft picks is usually an extended process, or so it seems, with a constant trickle of second day picks signing here and there through the July heat. The St. Louis Rams signed nine of their eleven 2010 draft picks in one quick beat. With the draft picks from round 3 through 7 reportedly signed and the OJ Atogwe situation resolved, Billy Devaney and Kevin Demoff can turn their attention to the summer's biggest contract job: signing first overall pick QB Sam Bradford.
Contract details are still emerging. CB Jerome Murphy, the Rams third round pick, signed a four-year deal worth $2.727 million with a $937,739 bonus. Selvie got a four-year, $1.846 million deal with a signing bonus of roughly $56,000, according to Mac's Football Blog. Hull received a $1.824 million deal with a signing bonus in the neighborhood of $35,000. Recall that the Devaney-led front office signs draft picks to four-year deals, breaking with the previous regime's tradition of the three-year contracts, which I always felt made it harder to retain good players.
First, it's worth noting that while ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that the Rams have signed all of their draft picks save for Bradford and second round pick OT Rodger Saffold, the only confirmed signings thus far are Murphy, fifth round pick TE Michael Hoomanawanui and seventh rounders DE George Selvie and LB Josh Hull. Brian Stull of 101 ESPN in St. Louis says to expect more news on Monday about the rest of the draft picks. Ok, let's take a stab at the numbers.
The Seahawks signed the pick directly behind Hoomanawanui, Va Tech S Kam Chancellor to a four-year, $2.003 million deal with a $213,600 signing bonus. Uh Oh's deal is probably around $2.004 with a $215,000 bonus.
WR Mardy Gilyard was the first player picked in the fourth round. Using the contracts of the players picked closest to him (via Mac's Football Blog), Gilyard should get a four-year, $2.34 million with a signing bonus in the neighborhood of $543,000.
So, now what about the big rookie contracts?
Second round pick Rodger Saffold's deal won't be that tough once the draft spot/contract size relationship starts to take shape as teams start signing second rounders. Lions S Louis Delmas, the first pick of the second round last year, signed a four-year deal worth $5.699 million with $3.5 million guaranteed. LB James Laurinaitis, the Rams second round pick and the third pick of that round, got a four-year deal worth $5.09 million with $3.29 guaranteed.
Sam Bradford's contract is the biggie and the one likely to take the longest to get done. Still, Kevin Demoff has a long precedent of getting first rounders to sign in time for camp (Jason Smith reported on the second day last year). The Rams don't have to wait on the other first round picks to sign, since the slotting system for Bradford will have much more to do with the fact that he's a QB and the first overall pick. His deal will be based on the six-year, $72 million with $41.7 million guaranteed that last year's first pick, QB Matthew Stafford, got from the Lions and the six-year, $66 million deal with $34.75 million guaranteed that Matt Ryan got the year before.
You can be sure the Rams will sign Bradford to a six-year deal and the money will probably be pretty close to, if not exactly, $50 million in guaranteed money.
And that begs the question whether or not rookie contracts will be on the table when the league and the players union start hammering out a new labor agreement. But that's a conversation for another time.
As Tevin said yesterday, you've got to give this front office credit for getting players signed, whether it's the rookie deals or letting Atogwe test the market and bringing him back at a reasonable price. The Rams have gone from zero to hero on the front office side of things, transforming the dysfunction of the Zygmunt era into the focused effectiveness of Billy Devaney and his crew. Now the work shifts to the coaches and players.