This past week WR Romeo Doubs and OL Zack Tom both signed their rookie contracts. That left WR Christian Watson as the only member of the 2022 class who hasn’t signed his deal. While there should be no reason to panic, it is possible that the lack of agreement is financially motivated.
Under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) the length of a rookie contract cannot be negotiated. All rookies receive a standard four year deal. Players drafted in the first round have the fifth year option built into their contracts (that teams have to decide upon after the player’s third year). When it comes to deciding how much these rookie contract are going to be worth, often times previous years are taken into account. For example if a wide receiver is taken 34th overall three years in a row, the previous contracts can determine this year’s contract. That is exactly what is happening with Christian Watson.
Comparing the previous wide receivers taken at 34th overall:
In 2022, Watson became the third consecutive wide receiver drafted with 34th overall. Elijah Moore (2021) and Michael Pittman Jr. (2020) were the previous two. Michael Pittman Jr. of the Indianapolis Colts signed a four year contract worth $8,612,842 with a guarantee of $6,625,377. The percentage of the guaranteed money amounted to 76.92%.
A year later, Moore was taken 34th overall by the New York Jets. Moore’s received $7,061,273 in guaranteed money out of a total $8,940,422. This resulted in a guaranteed rate of 78.98%. Since Moore was able to get more collateral than Pittman Jr., it’s possible that Watson is now trying surpass both of these wide receivers.
No need to stress… yet:
The two parties have from now until the start of the training camp to get a deal done. It is also worth noting that only 11 of the second round draft picks have signed their contract so far, according to Spotrac. As years go on it will be interesting to see if these rookie deals earn more and more guaranteed money.
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