Why Washington Redskins CB Kendall Fuller is among many unsigned third round picks

An oddity within the NFL's collective bargaining essentially changed the rules when it comes to signing third round picks like Kendall Fuller.

Two things stood about Kendall Fuller's performance at last week's Organized Team Activities. 

  1. The cornerback coming off microfracture knee surgery was a hustling fiend in practice.
  2. The unsigned third round pick was participating in the practice.

Washington selected seven players in the 2016 NFL Draft. Six are under contract. Fuller is not. While his status might standout among his new teammates, it's rather common among third round pick this year.

According to an article in the Florida Times Union, the top 13 players selected in the third round remained unsigned entering Memorial Weekend. Washington drafted Fuller 21st in the round, 84th overall.

By comparison,  only three in the second round and a combined six in rounds 4-7 remained unsigned. 

As one agent told the FTU, “It’s just a weird round. called the [NFLPA] a couple weeks ago to ask about it, and they said, ‘It’s the wild, wild West.’”

As for why it's so wild, more from the Florida Times Union:

It’s weird and wild because the collective bargaining agreement essentially allows for negotiating in the third round.

“I don’t know why they did that,” the agent said.

Based on the rookie compensation system, Ngakoue - as the sixth pick of the third round - is assured of a $540,000 minimum salary and a $856,172 signing bonus ($214,043 cap charge for four straight years).

But per salary cap expert J.I. Halsell, the system also allows for “additional compensation,” of $456,000 for Ngakoue ($76,000 in 2017, $152,000 in 2018 and $228,000 in 2019). But there is no language in place for what percentage of that the players should get. Thus, the negotiating.

Last year, Houston receiver Jaelen Strong, the third round’s sixth pick (Ngakoue’s slot this year), got 62 percent ($249,000 of an available $402,000). Three picks earlier, Jaguars guard A.J. Cann received 75 percent ($311,000).

The delay in signings occurs when the team and agent look at the slot since 2011 and see what they feel is an abnormality. The team feels a higher percentage was given in the previous years and they want to lower that or the agent feels the previous teams successfully low-balled the player and thus, a greater increase is required.

In 2015, the Philadelphia Eagles selected linebacker Jordan Hicks with the 84th overall pick. Hicks agreed to a four-year, $2.99 million contract with around $652,000 in guaranteed money.

All these delays could have teams waiting to see what other picks around them get paid. 

Former Redskins salary cap analyst J.I. Halsell commented on Fuller's situation. 


Jets linebacker Jordan Jenkins, selected one slot ahead of Fuller, agreed to four-year deal for $3,123,920 with $723,920 fully guaranteed.

“What might be happening is there is something that sixth slot that hasn’t been consistent over the past couple years,” the agent said. “The other possibility is - and this happens often - is the team and player can’t agree and they might be saying, ‘Let’s just see what happens around us, the pick before and after.’”

Let's see if Fuller is back on the field this week when the media gets a chance to watch practice. Washington isn't rushing the talented corner or pushing him too hard coming off surgery. For now, there doesn't seem to be much of a rush with getting the third round picks to sign on the dotted line. 


Ben Standig is the Publisher of Breaking Burgundy and the Huddle Report's 2012 NFL Mock Draft champion. You can find him on Twitter @benstandig and on Google+

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