CBA slotting makes signing picks easier

The Vikings still have three first-round picks to sign, but the contracts they will receive are pretty well-defined already by the CBA. We take a look at the numbers of those that have already signed and those left to sign.

The Vikings' two-day binge of signing draft picks last week has slowed, but that's hardly cause for concern.

This isn't July 20 and this isn't the old days of trying to negotiate rookie contracts under the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement. The procedures in 2013 are much easier and promote faster signings than the pre-2011 method.

Rookie contracts are pretty well spelled out: Any player drafted in rounds two through seven receives a four-year contract with rookie salaries and a slotted range for signing bonuses.

That helped the Vikings sign their six picks that were selected in rounds four through seven over a two-day period. LB Gerald Hodges (fourth round) received a signing bonus of $420,108; P Jeff Locke (fifth round) received a $184,192 bonus; OL Jeff Baca (sixth round) got $96,600 in his bonus; and seventh-rounders Michael Mauti ($62,728), Travis Bond (62,448) and Everett Dawkins ($50,352) pushed up to the maximum they could receive under the rookie allocations.

After a couple of intense days of signing last week, the Vikings used nearly 39 percent of their $6,849,789 rookie allocation.

After trading away their second- and third-round picks, among others, to the New England Patriots to move back into the first round for a third pick on April 25, the Vikings are left with only their three first-round draft picks to sign and just over 61 percent of their rookie allocation money.

The timing is a long way from the days when select picks from the first half of the draft were holding out in hopes of every last dollar before signing their rookie deals. The old Vikings tenet of usually waiting until after the Fourth of July to start signing picks is well in the past.

So where do things stand with their first-round picks?

Only three first-round picks have been signed so far. One of them was Ezekial Ansah, who signed a four-year deal worth $18,594,514 and a signing bonus of $11,903,272, according to published reports. Ansah was drafted No. 5 overall by the Detroit Lions, which shows just how much Sharrif Floyd, who was projected to be a top-five value, lost in his draft-day slide.

Floyd was the Vikings' top pick at No. 23, where he is expected to sign a four-year deal worth an estimated $8.1 million with a signing bonus of about $4.25 million.

Xavier Rhodes, select by the Vikings No. 25 overall, is expected to sign a four-year deal worth about $7.85 million with a signing bonus just over $4 million.

Cordarrelle Patterson, the object of the Vikings' trade-up back into the first round, should get a four-year contract worth about $7.25 million with a signing bonus around $3.63 million. One of the advantages for the Vikings is that because Patterson was a first-round pick, the team will have the ability to execute a fifth-year option on his contract if they choose to do so after his third year in the league.

That option also applies to Floyd and Rhodes. In all three of the Vikings' first-round choices, that fifth-year option would be figured somewhat like the transition tags are figured in free agency, only it would be the average salary of the third through 25th-highest salaried players at their respective positions at the time.

The parameters of rookie contracts are pretty clearly defined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, meaning it shouldn't be too difficult to have Floyd, Rhodes and Patterson join the likes of Ansah, Kenny Vaccaro and Kyle Long among the first-round picks that are already signed.

Last year, the Vikings signed seven of their 10 draft picks on May 22. First-rounder Matt Kalil and third-rounder Josh Robinson were the last ones to sign. Robinson agreed to terms on July 25 and Kalil came aboard the next day. If the Vikings don't get any of their three first-rounders signed this week, it is hardly cause for concern. The Collective Bargaining Agreement put in place in 2011 has alleviated most of the nail-biting in July as a lead-up to training camp.

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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