Preseason League Insider Notes

Can Cleveland find more ways to score this season? What is worrying player agents at this time? Read about that and more inside this week's version of the league insider.

Seattle Gets Two Signed

As first reported by and Seahawks.Net, the Seattle Seahawks fourth-round pick G Mansfield Wrotto has signed a four-year contract with the team.

Wrotto will receive minimum base salaries of $285,000, $370,000, $460,000, and $550,000 with a signing bonus of $417,000. A league source points out Wrotto has bonus money tied to participating in 80% off-season workouts in each year of his contract.

The former Georgia Tech University lineman projects to play at guard and could be the eventual successor to starting RG Chris Gray who re-signed with the team earlier this year for two more seasons. Seattle considered signing free agent OL Cooper Carlisle to replace Gray but a league source points out that they never made him an offer.

A league source indicates Seattle also signed fifth-round pick LB Will Herring also to a four-year deal who is projected to play on the weak-side.

The undersized, former Auburn University star will also receive minimum base salaries of $285,000, $370,000, $460,000, and $550,000 with a signing bonus of around $163,000 which was a small increase of about $1,000 over Philadelphia Eagles fifth-round pick TE Brent Celek.

Herring, like Wrotto, has bonus money tied to participating in 80% off-season workouts in each year of his contract.

Second-Year Player Could Have Key Role With Cleveland

When the Cleveland Browns selected RB Jerome Harrison in the fifth-round of last year's draft, it was assumed by many team observers that he would be involved in their offense each game. But as it turned out, he only had 29 touches in the 10 games he suited up for. He was inactive for the other six.

It's been widely noted that Harrison needed to improve on his blocking and he needed to get stronger. Harrison took heed of that and put on about 15 pounds or so on his frame. In an interesting side note, a league source indicated that Harrison could lose $5,000 in any season where he doesn't participate in the team's off-season workouts.

Another league source, who scouted Harrison heavily during 2006 Senior Bowl practices, points out that the speedy former Washington St. University player could see increased playing time in 2007. It was during those practices where Harrison showed very good elusiveness and got around end quite well.

Harrison's best attribute is his speed and the hope is that his increased bulk won't slow him down. And when Cleveland drafted him, they envisioned him as a change of pace back who could also see time on third downs. The coaches would like to see Harrison have a role on passing downs and his increased strength could certainly help him block better. Coaches are generally reluctant to give young backs a chance to get on the field if they can't block well. Harrison, the source points out, also needs to position himself better in blocking situations and to take better angles.

New York Gets One of Four Signed

As first reported by, the New York Jets reached a four-year contract agreement with sixth-round pick OL Jacob Bender.

The former Nicholls St. University lineman will receive minimum base salaries of $285,000, $370,000, $460,000, and $550,00. He got a signing bonus of $110,000. A league source points out the player picked above Bender, Minnesota Vikings LB Rufus Alexander, got a signing bonus of about $113,000 with the same base salaries.

Bender, who played left tackle in college, is expected compete for playing time at right tackle and possibly right guard if starter Pete Kendall is traded or released.

Last Player Taken Under Contract

The Detroit Lions signed seventh-round pick CB Ramzee Robinson to a three-year contract this week with minimum salaries of $285,000, $370,000, and $460,000. A league source points out that Robinson's signing bonus is about $25,000.

Robinson, despite being the last player selected in the 2007 draft, the former University of Alabama defensive back could at least make the practice squad.

The Lions have depth at the position but have very few proven players.

Agents Not Happy With Workout Clauses

Several agents have not been happy with the early negotiating ploys of several teams -- mainly with the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, and San Francisco 49ers

The teams have been offering the same structured contract to their mid-and-late round picks, making adjustments for slotting and salary. The point of contention is a de-escalator clause these organizations are forcing on rookies which requires them to attend 85% of off-season workouts at the team's facility in each year of the contract or forfeit $100,000 in salary. 

As of Thursday, the Bears have signed all but one of their selections -- second-round pick DT Dan Bazuin. A league source told that all of their selections from rounds three through seven have de-escalator clauses in their contracts triggering at 85% of off-season workouts.

All four Packers signed draft selections have the de-escalator clauses at 85% participation in off-season workouts for each season.

Interestingly, the source points out San Francisco's three signed draft selections have 50% of their escalator clause tied to 90% participation in each season.

Agents fear that other teams, seeing what those three teams have done, will try to do the same thing.

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