Value shopping begins in day two of draft
Some notes on the business of football after the first day (night) of the NFL Draft:
1. With the retail prices now out of the way, the more realistic value shopping begins. There is no rule that says bonuses in the first round necessarily have to be disproportionate to the second round, but they are. Last year, the last pick of the first round, Evander Hood of the Steelers, received guaranteed money of $6.1 million, while the top pick of the second round, Louis Delmas of the Lions, received guaranteed money of $3.57 million. That’s a 71-percent difference between players one pick apart! As for the third round, the top pick last year, Shonn Greene of the Jets, received $905,000 total in bonuses. The sizzle is over; the steak takes over tonight as the real value in the draft begins.
2. Tim Tebow earned a lot of money over the past couple of months, as many who were at the Senior Bowl projected him as a third-round pick. Not only will he make as much or more than any player off the field – if he chooses – he will make a nice playing contract as the 25th pick. I negotiated the 25th pick a few years ago for a quarterback projected to go higher, not lower, than Tebow: Aaron Rodgers. Last year’s 25th pick, Vontae Davis of the Dolphins, received $7.345M in guaranteed money, and Tebow will likely receive more than $8M from the Broncos. And, of course, the contract will include the “quarterback premium” and feature incentives beyond the standard quarterback package to reflect his versatility.
3. On the other side of the ledger, Jimmy Clausen lost a lot of money last night. This is the quarterback conundrum that has occurred to Rodgers, Brady Quinn and others: Once past the teams that really need a quarterback, teams address more immediate concerns. Clausen will be taken tonight and receive a premium compared to picks around him, but as noted above, he’s lost millions in guaranteed dollars by not having his name called on day one.
4. The happiest person in the country last night was probably the head of the Alumni Giving Fund at Oklahoma University. With three of its alums – Sam Bradford, Gerald McCoy and Trent Williams -- going in the top four (how did this team not win national titles?) and Jermaine Gresham going 21st, there are some serious earnings there, potentially up to $125M guaranteed for the four players. I’m sure the university hopes to get back some of the change spilling out of their pockets.
5. Although top agent group CAA didn’t have the monster year it had last year with nine of the first 19 picks as clients – I negotiated the last of those, Jeremy Maclin, with them – they were the leaders of the pack of 19 agents representing the 32 picks. Their six-player haul included Bradford (the potential $50-million man), McCoy, Derrick Morgan, Gresham, Bryan Bulaga and Jerry Hughes. Eugene Parker and Roosevelt Barnes had a high-value night with clients Ndamukong Suh, Trent Williams and Dez Bryant, while Joel Segal was also a first-round winner with clients Brandon Graham, Maukice Pouncey and Kyle Wilson. There were also two picks in the round for agents David Dunn, Todd France, Peter Schaffer and Mitch Frankel. These agents will certainly meet their revenue goals this year in what could be the last year of first-round contracts as we know them.
6. The Cowboys will have some serious money at what some teams feel is a position not worth a large investment. Having made the mistake of extending Terrell Owens late in his career – a contract extension terminated after one season – and signing Roy Williams to a top-of-market contract upon trading for him, there is more money ahead. Taking Dez Bryant with the 24th pick will cost the Cowboys around $8.3M in guaranteed money. And then there’s Miles Austin. Although now saddled with a one-year tender as a restricted free agent, Jerry Jones said on Tuesday that the team was in negotiations on a long-term contract. There will be many millions allocated to the receiver position in Dallas in the coming weeks.
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