The overwhelming majority of this year’s NFL draft picks have signed their rookies deals. As training camp gets started, only the following seven players are without contracts:
- Browns, 1-1: Baker Mayfield, QB (Oklahoma)
- Jets, 1-3: Sam Darnold, QB (USC)
- Browns, 1-4: Denzel Ward, CB (Ohio State)
- Bills, 1-7: Josh Allen, QB (Wyoming)
- Bears, 1-8: Roquan Smith, LB (Georgia)
- Steelers, 1-28: Terrell Edmunds, S (Virginia Tech)
- 49ers, 2-44: Dante Pettis, WR (Washington)
For Mayfield, Darnold, Ward, Allen, and Smith, the holdup is reportedly tied to offset language. Players with offset language who are cut before the end of their rookie contract have the remaining guaranteed money reduced by whatever they earns elsewhere. Without offset language, players get to double dip. Top 10 picks expect to complete their rookie contracts, but it’s an important issue for agents nonetheless. There’s no sign of real acrimony between any of the Top 10 picks and their respective teams, though Smith has been staying away from the Bears.
In Edmunds’ case, it’s likely that his agent is haggling over guarantees in the fourth year of his rookie contract. First-rounders selected near the end of the first round often don’t get the entirety of their fourth season base salary guaranteed, but that’s an area where agents can press for a bit extra in talks. Seahawks rookie running back Rashaad Penny took less in fourth-year guarantees than last year’s No. 27 overall pick, talks dragged for several other players near the back end of the round. Others, such as Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley and Jaguars defensive tackle Taven Bryan have signed, but the Virginia Tech product is still in limbo.
Pettis is believed to be in line for a significant role this season, so it would behoove the Niners to get a deal done sooner rather than later.