As we’ve discussed before when covering draft pick signings – as well as those draftees who remain unsigned – the NFL’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement has taken most of the drama out of the contracts for rookies. With set amounts on signing bonuses and total values for most rookie deals, players will haggle over things like offset language, types of payment, and guaranteed money, but for the most part, there isn’t much wiggle room.
That means that we shouldn’t expect to see many – if any – holdouts when training camps get underway later this month. Still, four of 2014’s 256 draft picks have still yet to ink their contracts, so it’s worth checking in on them to see if we can discern any particular reason why that’s the case. Here are the four draftees who remain unsigned, along with the latest updates on each of them:
- Justin Gilbert, CB, Cleveland Browns (1.8): As of last Tuesday, Gilbert didn’t sound like he was too involved in his own negotiations, deferring to his agent when asked about contract talks by Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. He echoed that stance later in the week, suggesting that he wasn’t sure whether he’d be in attendance when the Browns’ training camp begins. Still, even with potential disputes over offsets and roster bonuses in play at the No. 8 spot, I’d be pretty surprised if the rookie cornerback wasn’t present for the first day of camp.
- Taylor Lewan, OT, Tennessee Titans (1.11): Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wrote this week that he thinks the delay on Lewan may be a result of the offensive tackle looking to replace his fully-guaranteed base salaries with roster bonuses paid out during training camp. Last year’s 11th overall pick (D.J. Fluker) didn’t receive these bonuses in his deal, but Lewan’s teammate, No. 10 pick Chance Warmack, did get them. Considering Lewan is viewed as the Titans’ left tackle of the future, making him a more essential piece on the offensive line than Warmack, he has a reasonable case for those roster bonuses. In Florio’s view, a brief training camp holdout is a possibility for Lewan.
- Marqise Lee, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (2.39): Lee was long viewed as a likely first-round pick, so the delay on his signing may be related to his trying to recoup some guaranteed money after slipping to No. 39. In his latest mailbag, John Oesher of Jaguars.com couldn’t offer any specific details on the holdup for Lee, but stated confidently that something should get done before training camp.
- Billy Turner, OT, Miami Dolphins (3.67): There haven’t been many rumblings about the contract talks, who is the last third-rounder to sign. Most recently, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote last Monday that the unresolved issues for Turner “are not insurmountable.”