Forty-Niners rookies are supposed to report to Santa Clara tomorrow, and still no word on the top four – T Anthony Davis, G Mike Iupati, S Taylor Mays and LB Navorro Bowman – signing contracts.
Rookie contracts, especially at the upper end, tend to come in a torrent rather than a trickle, as every agent and NFL general manager (or vice president of player personnel) waits to see what everybody else is getting paid.
Very few first-round selections have signed yet, but second- and third-rounders have been using up a lot of ink in the past 48 hours. And because of those deals, I’m predicting that Bowman, a third-round pick out of Penn State, will secure a four-year contract worth a maximum of $3.3 million, with a signing bonus of $700,000.
Just look at the players taken directly ahead and behind Bowman, who was overall pick No. 91. WR Taylor Price, selected by New England at No. 90, got a four-year deal paying as much as $3.35 million, with $704,000 guaranteed. T Shawn Lauvao, taken by Cleveland at No. 92, could make as much as $3.22 million over four years, and was guaranteed $697,000.
That’s a pretty tight fit for Bowman’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and the 49ers’ negotiating team, presumably led by vice president of football operations Paraag Marathe. So why not get it done and meet in the middle? The only hang-ups, as far as I can see, would be the Dallas Cowboys’ leaked draft board, which had Bowman rated as a first-rounder, and Trent Baalke’s recent admission that the 49ers considered taking Bowman higher in the third round. Well, that and Rosenhaus’ involvement.
Those are minor negotiating points, though, and I wouldn’t expect them to delay an agreement.
The players bracketing second-round pick Mays also have signed – QB Jimmy Clausen with Carolina (four years, $6.3 million max, $2.43 million guaranteed) and CB Javier Arenas with Kansas City. But I have yet to see numbers on Arenas, and Clausen’s money may not be instructive because he gets the quarterback bonus (a tradition I find bizarre and counterproductive).
Davis and Iupati, the first-rounders, may take a little longer to slot. But the top players in the draft should begin to roost soon, and there’s no reason to think the 49ers won’t have their full complement of players when they take the field for practice Monday morning.