With the new collective bargaining agreement being signed in 2011, the Cincinnati Bengals have been able to get their first-round picks signed and into camp very quickly, a far-cry from the prolonged holdouts of players like Andre Smith. The new NFL CBA implemented a slotting process in order to allow teams to be able to sign their draft picks quicker and put limitations on base salaries and signing bonuses. Rookies can no longer dictate their rookie contract, and negotiations are now reduced to guaranteed money, workout bonuses and escalators.
Because of that, it’s easy to project the contracts that will be signed by the 2013 first-round picks, as they will make around or slightly more than what the picks in their corresponding spots received last year.
Notre dame tight end Tyler Eifert was drafted with the 21st-overall pick, the same spot Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones was drafted in 2012 by the New England Patriots. Jones’ contract was a four-year, $8.173 million deal with $7.42 million guaranteed, including a $4.384 million signing bonus.
For comparisons sake, Jermaine Gresham’s rookie deal was for 5 years, $15.85 million, and he is making $975,500 in 2013. He’ll make $2.13 million in 2014, which will be the final year of his rookie deal.
So in the next two seasons, the Bengals will be paying over $10 million to their tight ends, which could make it difficult to re-sign Gresham after the 2014 season, since it will also be in the same year that Vontaze Burfict, Andy Dalton, Clint Boling, and A.J.Green will be free agents.