NFL Draft Rumors: Williams, DeJean, Newton

This week we got news that USC quarterback Caleb Williams, widely expected to be the No. 1 overall draft selection this April, will reportedly enter the NFL without representation, per Mike Florio of NBC Sports. This isn’t totally unheard of as we’ve seen quite a few NFL players of late accomplish new deals without an agent, but the situation is a little different for a potential top pick.

We’ve seen defenders like Richard Sherman, Bobby Wagner, and, more recently, Roquan Smith sign new contracts while representing themselves. More in the realm of Williams, we recently saw Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson go through both the draft process and his first major extension without an agent.

Jackson was selected 32nd overall, while Williams is expected to be picked much earlier in the night. That means the deal that Williams will negotiate for himself will be worth quite a bit more money than Jackson’s rookie deal was worth. Still, rookie contracts are fairly restricted in how they can be built, so there shouldn’t be a ton of wiggle room in which Williams may mess something up.

Where Florio thinks the lack of representation could hinder Williams is in the leadup to the draft. He suggests that the agents of other quarterbacks or draft prospects hoping to supplant Williams’ top draft positioning will “spend the next two months trying to get teams to take their clients instead of Williams,” a process that can get dirty with negative framing being used to lessen the appeal of Williams. With a lack of representation, Williams would lack an advocate to appeal against the negative things being used against him.

Here are a few other recent rumors concerning the 2024 NFL Draft:

  • Scouts and draft pundits will be disappointed to learn that Iowa cornerback Cooper DeJean will not be participating in the testing at next week’s NFL Scouting Combine, according to Dane Brugler of The Athletic. DeJean is reportedly still working his way back from a leg injury he sustained late in the season. Widely expected to be selected on Day 1 of the draft, he is considered one of the more athletic prospects in the class and likely would have drawn lots of eyes in Indianapolis. Instead, DeJean plans to work out for teams much closer to the draft at the end of April.
  • Brugler reported that another likely first-round pick will not be working out at the Combine. Illinois defensive tackle Johnny Newton will sit out next week as he continues to recover from a January surgery that he underwent in order to repair a partial Jones fracture in his foot. He had been able to play through the injury through the second half of the 2023 season but, obviously, wished to repair the injury before heading to the league. Newton is expected to be cleared in time for an April pro day.
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