Tied with the Kansas City Chiefs at 12 for having the most picks in the NFL draft, it’s no surprise the Bears have the fifth-highest rookie pool at $5,791,190, according to figures obtained by ESPN.com. The Chiefs have the highest figure at $8,221,790, followed by Atlanta, Miami, St. Louis and then the Bears. The difference is the Bears are the only one of the bunch not to own a pick in the top five, or top 13 for that matter. Their top pick, offensive tackle Chris Williams, went No. 14.
Kansas City tops the board as the Chiefs had two first-round picks—DT Glenn Dorsey (6th) and OL Branden Albert (15th). They have an extra third-round pick to sign as well. The Falcons had four picks in the top 68 and also had two players in the first round—QB Matt Ryan (3rd) and OT Sam Baker (21st). Miami owned the No. 1 pick and already signed OT Jake Long to a $57.75 million deal. The Rams had the No. 2 pick and used it on DE Chris Long.
The rookie pool is a salary cap within the salary cap that was designed to help teams slot pay for draft picks. That hasn’t stopped the rookie contracts from spinning out of control, though.
The Bears have been the first team to have all of their draft picks under contract the last two summers, but with 12 players to sign it’s going to be a tall task for contract negotiator Cliff Stein to complete a hat trick. Running back Garrett Wolfe was the first draft pick to sign a contract last year, agreeing to terms on May 15. Tight end Greg Olsen, the Bears’ first-round pick last year, was the first pick from the first two rounds of that draft to sign, putting his name on a contract July 3.
Obviously, the Bears do not expect to have any holdouts when camp opens July 23 in Bourbonnais, but Stein might be hard-pressed to carve out a vacation for himself before players head to Olivet Nazarene University.