Chicago Sun-Times

It's slow going in the NFL signing draft picks

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On this date last year, Cliff Stein was signing, sealing and delivering offensive tackle Aaron Brant, a seventh-round draft pick.

So what, you say.

While Brant’s Bears’ career was as insignificant as they come—he received an injury settlement after being waived during training camp—he marked the fifth member of the 2007 draft class to sign by May 23. It was all downhill from there and all but defensive end Dan Bazuin were in the fold by July 3 as the Bears were the first team to have all of their draft picks under contract for the second consecutive summer.

With 12 picks outstanding, Stein faces an uphill battle to achieve that status—and maybe a little mid-July vacation—but there’s no danger of the Bears not having draft picks in Bourbonnais on time. Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher? That might be another story, another story for another day.

It’s been slow going around the league getting draft picks done, unless you’re the Miami Dolphins with four in hand already, or the Atlanta Falcons with quarterback Matt Ryan on board. You can get any selection signed with a $72 million, six-year contract. What’s the challenge in that negotiation?

There are a few ideas floating around as to why it’s been quiet on this front. One is that the Dolphins did some player-friendly deals earlier this week when they signed running backs Jalen Parmele (6th round, Pick 10, 176 overall), Lex Hilliard (6th round, Pick 38, 204 overall) and defensive lineman Lionel Dotson (7th round, Pick 38, 245 overall). The Dophins had some wiggle room with their rookie pool after signing No. 1 pick Jake Long to a five-year deal instead of a six-year contract, and consequently signed these three late-round picks for a little more than the slots were projected to get.

Agents are going to take these deals and run with them, using them as a basis for their own negotiations with other late-round selections. Hilliard was drafted four slots ahead of Bears’ defensive end Ervin Baldwin. Dotson was selected within three slots either direction of three Bears’ picks—linebacker Joey LaRocque, offensive tackle Kirk Barton and wide receiver Marcus Monk. Eventually the marketplace will be better defined, but it’s going to takle a little time.

*** As far as the owners’ vote earlier this week to opt out of the CBA early, that decision should not affect the signing of draft picks after the top half of the second round. So the Bears may have an extra obstacle in working to get deals done with offensive tackle Chris Williams and running back Matt Forte, but again, we’re not talking about issues that are going to drag into late July. Clubs are going to have to take a hard look at the “Deion rule” and how is applies given the current situation.

*** One other idea being tossed around is that the hard roster limit of 80 players is slowing the signing of players. It was a soft cap in the past because of exemptions created by players who participated in NFL Europe. The thinking is that teams want to have as many players around as possible and when you sign a draft pick, he officially counts on the roster. Right now the Bears have 85 players on roster but the 12 unsigned draft picks do not count. Techinically, they count at only 73 right now and could therefore actually sign seven more street free agents. Of course, in order to sign each draft pick, they would have to release one player.

The problem with this theory is that the exemptions from Europe were not even in play at this time of year for teams, not stateside anyway. The Europe players didn’t return until mid-June, meaning teams are operating with the same number of players right now as they did at this time last year.

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Figures Parcells would be the one to change the landscape getting rookies into camp. He is trying to create his culture in Miami and will do anything to get his message across. I don't see where this would really create too many problems, the BEARS need to prioritize the late round picks they really want to take good looks at and get them signed first, Williams will get his money based on the slotting process, so no worries there, but these late o-line prospects need to be in camp as much as possible, they need the Reps, and coaching. I'm hoping to find three people to fill spots available we lost 2-starters last year, depth is critical...time for Hiestand to show us he can coach, somebody young other than Williams will have to play this year, and play well...

Here are the numbers from last year to figure this year

2007 draft same draft slot:

14- darrell revis- /15/2007: Signed a six-year, $30 million contract. The deal includes $11 million in guarantees and $16 million in the first four years. Another $6 million is available through incentives. The final two years can be "bought back" by the Jets for a minimum of $14 million ($5 million for 2011 and $9 million for 2012). 2008: $672,500, 2009: $827,000, 2010: $981,500, 2011: $1.236 million (Voidable Year), 2012: $1.3905 million, 2013:

44- sidney rice -/27/2007: Signed a four-year, $2.981 million contract. The deal included a $1.316 million signing bonus. 2008: $370,000, 2009: $460,000, 2010: $550,000, 2011: Free Agent

70-lorenzo booker-/24/2007: Signed a four-year, $2.1 million contract. The deal included a $435,000 signing bonus. 2008: $370,000, 2009: $460,000, 2010: $550,000, 2011: Free Agent

90-tony hunt 5/24/2007: Signed a four-year, $2.265 million contract. The deal included a $600,000 signing bonus. 2008: $370,000, 2009: $460,000, 2010: $550,000, 2011: Free Agent

4th-7th basically getting the minimum lsary and a small bonus( 50K for 7th rounders up to a few 100,000 for 4th rounders)

thought revis contratc way to high so checked on hat carricker(#13 and what timmons got ( 15)

carricker- 7/27/2007: Signed a five-year, $12.8 million contract. The deal includes $9.4 million in guarantees. Another $1.7 million is available through incentives. 2008: $370,000 (+ $5.52 million option bonus), 2009: $720,000, 2010: $1.07 million, 2011: $1.42 million, 2012: Free Agent

timmons-/22/2007: Signed a five-year, $12 million contract. The deal includes $8.053 million in guarantees. Another $3 million is available through incentives. 2008: $370,000, 2009: $460,000, 2010: $550,000, 2011: $650,000, 2012: Free Agent

which both seem much more reasonable and even revis "gurantees "only 11 mill.

So based on the above and the cap went up 6%
So i'd expect:

wililams in the $13-15 mill range with $9+ mill guaranteed based on 6% cap increase

forte- $3.-3.5 millin- $1.5 million guranteed

bennet- $2.7-3 mill - $1 mill gurnated

harrisson- $2.4-2.8 million- $800K guranteed

Patrick D what a great effort you put in your post. I like the passion. Keep it up I enjoy it!

The Bears have been the best the last few years at getting their picks signed early.I believe that will hold true again this year! GOD BLESS! GOOD LUCK BEARS IN 2008!!

PAtrick nice. They do have a history of getting 2-7 into camp and signed July will tell the story when the pads go on I don't place too much on these padless walk/run throughs. Just like the story on Benson talk to me about his power when he takes a hit talk to me about his quickness when he has to cut back then I will believe it. I hope the best but expect the same old Ced just a kinder gentler one, kinda re-manufactured, because the truth is he will not get faster hopefully wiser.

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