Monday, May 18, 2009


Thanks to finfanrob for the idea for this article. It is typical fashion for drafted rookies to wait til the last moment to sign their rookie contracts. This last moment is the first day of training camp.

They CAN sign anytime before that day if they choose but there are several reasons why they usually don't, and those reasons all come down to one person, their Agent. Agents work on a commission basis, so they make the bulk of their paychecks based on the contracts of first round draftees. They're simply not going to show the same effort when representing a Davone Bess in 2008 as they would representing Jake Long's rookie contract. Why would they?

So reason number one is this: Because they spend 75% of their 2008 time or more representing that one player, some of the mid-round draftees have to 'make an appointment' basically to get into their own contract talks. Remember, these agents also have other clients from previous drafts, undrafted clients, and often clients in different sports or businesses. A guy like Drew Rosenhaus who probably has a stable of agents working for him on small-time deals, is still going to want to be THE GUY when it comes to negotiating big contracts. Rosenhaus was seen at several pro days in April that didn't have any first day prospects. That means he's taking the time to watch over the little guys too. And when you factor in the sheer amount of players in the NFL, the kind of paperwork, physicals, insurance company BS and staff vacations, there's a lot of stuff to cram into a tight schedule.

It may seem like 4 months to us fans, but to the agents it's more like 'ok, I can deal with four clients a day, allowing 2 hours each, and I have 20 clients. That means each client only gets two hours a week of my time.' And that time has to match up with Jeff Ireland's time. If it doesn't, then you wait till next time.
And so, it's easy to see why it takes so long to sign a drafted rookie. It seems like a long time but when you add up the actual man hours, it comes out to about a day and a half over the course of four months.

And then there's the reality that alot of these agencies will get all the paperwork lined up for all their clients and sign off on them only on the final week leading up to Training Camp because it maximizes the exposure and heightens the drama of it all, thus bringing in more clients.
So I can't tell you WHEN each player will be signed, but I can take a bona fide shot at guessing what the contracts will be.

Vontae Davis 5 years, $13.5M
Pat White 4 years, $4.1M

Sean Smith 4 years, $2.7M

Patrick Turner 4 years, $2.9M

Brian Hartline 3 years, $2M

John Nalbone 2 years, $800k
Chris Clemons 2 years, $800k

Andrew Gardner 1 year, free use of the weight room, 5 meals a week.

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