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Browns Still Waiting to Sign Rookie Contracts

David Maxwell

We are just a little over two weeks removed from the 2014 NFL Draft, and as of Thursday night, over half of the draft picks in the league had already signed their rookie contracts. The percentage of signed players is higher (75%) in the later rounds but lower in the first round (22%), according to Pro Football Talk.

It sounds unusual to hear about so many draft picks already being under contract so soon after the draft, but we have to think about the timetable: although the draft shifted from late-April to mid-May this year, in terms of when most teams start signing draft picks, that hasn't changed too much. Also, the rookie wage scale in the collective bargaining agreement has helped expedite negotiations for rookies year-by-year (because there pretty much isn't anything to "negotiate" unless you're a first-rounder).

Although a lot of draft picks are under contract, the Browns are one of three teams that have not locked up one of their players yet:

Is that abnormal? I don't think so. Last year, the Browns had five draft picks, and the first one to sign was S Jamoris Slaughter on May 21. OG Garrett Gilkey signed on May 24. The other three picks -- DE Armonty Bryant, OLB Barkevious Mingo, and CB Leon McFadden -- did not sign until July 19-21, right before the start of training camp.

So, what's the delay this year? Well, it's not really that much of a delay yet, but remember that the Browns had no draft picks in rounds 5-7. The higher the round a player is selected in, the *slightly* more complex the negotiations may get. Don't worry about a holdout, though -- the rookie wage scale prevents that, for all intents and purposes.