Malik Jefferson

Bengals Sign Rookie Malik Jefferson

Linebacker Malik Jefferson has signed his rookie deal with the Bengals, according to a tweet from his agency. Jefferson, the No. 78 overall pick in the draft, will earn $3.83MM over the course of his four-year deal.

Jefferson opted to leave Texas after his junior season and was probably expecting to go late in the first round or somewhere in the second round. He ignored the College Advisory Committee’s recommendation that he stay in school and wound up as a third-round pick. For what it’s worth, he claims he does not regret the decision.

It’s not really good feedback,” Jefferson said. “If a guy wants to come out early, they have to make a decision on their own. Really, if you’re not like a top-10 guy coming out early, it’s just up in the air from there. You just don’t know. Anything can happenSo you can be making money for the university, struggling, trying to eat dining hall food, waking up early, having to go through extreme pressures and not getting paid for none of that. Or you can not go to school, just play football all day, study film and get better and work out all day and max yourself out.”

Instead of continuing his education without being compensated for playing, Jefferson will now back up Nick Vigil and Vontaze Burfict. After racking up 233 tackles, 25.5 tackles for loss, and six pass breakups over the course of his collegiate career, Jefferson feels like he’s prepared to play at the pro level.

Jefferson’s signing leaves Ohio State defensive end Sam Hubbard as the Bengals’ only unsigned draft pick. Hubbard went No. 77 overall, one pick before Jefferson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Bengals, Jefferson, Colts

The College Advisory Committee told Malik Jefferson to stay in school for another year. After becoming a third-round pick of the Bengals, Jefferson is glad that he didn’t listen.

It’s not really good feedback,” Jefferson said, via Max Olson of The Athletic. “If a guy wants to come out early, they have to make a decision on their own. Really, if you’re not like a top-10 guy coming out early, it’s just up in the air from there. You just don’t know. Anything can happen.”

Instead of continuing his education without being compensated for playing, Jefferson will now back up Nick Vigil and Vontaze Burfict with a contract worth $3.4MM over four years.

You say stay in school, but a kid wants to better himself and his future,” Jefferson said. “So you can be making money for the university, struggling, trying to eat dining hall food, waking up early, having to go through extreme pressures and not getting paid for none of that. Or you can not go to school, just play football all day, study film and get better and work out all day and max yourself out.”

Jefferson may be happy with his choice, but in defense of the CAC, the Texas product probably anticipated going late in the first round or somewhere in the second when he declared for the draft.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • The Colts met with safeties Tre Boston and Kenny Vaccaro on Monday, but Stephen Holder of the Indy Star (on Twitter) hears that nothing is imminent with either player at this time. Boston and Vaccaro both offer significant starting experience, but the free agent market has been painfully slow to develop for them and other safeties this year.
  • Jets linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis struck an agreement with Kansas prosecutors to have his drug-possession charge dropped if he completes one year of probation, as Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes. While with the Chiefs in January, Pierre-Louis was charged with several misdemeanors, including marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. The Jets signed him to a two-year, $5.25MM deal this offseason.
  • The Bills are taking a look at former Cowboys and Bucs defensive end Ryan Russell.

Texas LB Malik Jefferson To Enter Draft

A steady run of Texas Longhorns have declared for the 2018 draft, and linebacker Malik Jefferson will be the latest.

The junior linebacker will forgo his senior season in Austin to place his name in the 2018 prospect pool, he announced via The Players’ Tribune (Twitter link). Jefferson is viewed as a late-first-round-level talent by some mock drafts at this stage of the process.

Jefferson will join first-round tackle prospect Connor Williams, along with safety DeShon Elliott, cornerback Holton Hill and punter Michael Dickson among Longhorns who will leave school early.

A former five-star recruit, Jefferson earned Big 12 co-defensive player of the year acclaim after a season that included 110 tackles and four sacks. Although 2017 represented by far Jefferson’s best season, he finished his three-year career with 13.5 sacks and 26 tackles for loss.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.