The Arizona Cardinals started the NFL Draft by selecting linebacker Haason Reddick, safety Budda Baker and wide receiver Chad Williams in the first three rounds, but the Cardinals have begun the process of signing their draft choices by working backward.
Reddick, Baker and Williams and fourth round selection Dorian Johnson all remain unsigned, but over the weekend, Arizona inked fifth round choices Will Holden and T.J. Logan as well as sixth round pick Johnathan "Rudy" Ford to four-year contracts.
Terms of the deals for the three rookies who signed over the weekend were not disclosed, but traditionally, very few players drafted in the fifth round or later receive guaranteed contracts. Instead, the guaranteed money players like Holden, Logan and Ford can expect to receive comes in the signing bonus each player received by signing their rookie deal.
Typically, players drafted in the fifth round or later will not make more than $500,000 during their rookie season, but the signing bonus they each agreed to will likely bring their gross income from the 2017 season past $500,000. In the past, players who sign rookie contracts expected a maximum of a 25 percent increase in their annual salary each season.
All told, by the end of their fourth season, the three rookies Arizona signed over the weekend will still be making less than $800,000 annually, so should they develop into impact contributors early in their careers, the Cardinals will have been rewarded for drafting wisely.
Holden was the Cardinals' first selection in the fifth round of this year's draft, and the second offensive lineman the team chose in 2017. After starting the final 37 games of his career at Vanderbilt, the 6-foot-7 Holden enters the NFL with the opportunity to play either guard or tackle, but will likely work at tackle at the outset of his rookie season.
Logan was the team's second selection of the fifth round, and promises to provide the Cardinals with a versatile special teams weapon as a kick returner. Logan brought back five kickoffs for touchdowns during his career at North Carolina, and amassed over 2,000 rushing yards during a four-year career.
Ford was Arizona's final pick of the NFL Draft after general manager Steve Keim traded both of the Cardinals' seventh round selections to move into the sixth round and draft Ford. A three-year starter at safety at Auburn, Ford will attempt to transition to cornerback in the NFL and make the team's roster as a coverage player and a special teams asset in his rookie season.
All of the Cardinals' draft picks were on the field over the weekend at the team's first rookie minicamp of the offseason. Arizona will be back in action this coming weekend, as the team hosts its first Organized Team Activities (OTAs).