The San Francisco 49ers announced that fourth-round running back Marcus Lattimore has signed his four-year rookie contract.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, though the NFL's 2011 collective bargaining agreement has standardized the rookie signing process in such a way that it is not too hard to pin down the details. As a compensatory pick in the fourth-round of the 2013 NFL draft, Lattimore's four-year contract will be worth $2,460,584 and will include a signing bonus of $300,584, the same contract value and signing bonus that the picks before (Baltimore Ravens fullback Kyle Juszcyk) and after (Detroit Lions defensive Devin Taylor and Atlanta Falcons tight end Levin Toilolo) Lattimore have already signed with their teams.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, there was no injury protection or "funny business" in Lattimore's deal.
However, mid-to-late round draft picks usually sign contracts that include "split" salaries in the first two years of the deal. Those "splits" allow the team to pay the player at a reduced rate if he is placed on a reserve list — injured reserve, physically unable to perform, non-football injury — during those seasons. According to a source with knowledge of this year's rookie contracts, 49ers fourth-round wide receiver Quinton Patton, who was selected three spots higher than Lattimore, has a "split" in each of the first two years of his rookie contract.
Considering that Lattimore is not expected to play in 2013, and will likely spend the season on the physically unable to perform or non-football injury list, Lattimore will likely have a "split" in his contract and will be compensated at a lower rate for as long as he remains on that list. If Lattimore is on the 53-man roster this season, he would earn $405,000 in base salary this season. The minimum value of his "split" in 2013 is set at $288,000, though the 49ers could agree to pay him at the full rate while on a reserve list.
In 2010, Lattimore was the NCAA Freshman of the Year honors and was a first-team All-SEC selection after rushing for 1,197 yards and setting South Carolina records with 17 rushing touchdowns and 19 total touchdowns. Knee injuries, including multiple ligament tears in his right knee last October, limited Lattimore to just 29 games in college, during which he ran for 2,677 yards with a school-record 38 touchdowns. The 5-foot-11, 232-pound Lattimore is also regarded as a solid receiver out of the backfield, catching 29 passes for 412 yards as a freshman and finishing his Gamecocks career with 77 receptions for 767 yards and three touchdowns, giving him a school-record 41 touchdowns for his career.
Lattimore knows that the 49ers are planning on keeping him on the shelf for 2013 to allow him to fully recover from his knee injury. Lattimore told the Associated Press that he'd like to do more in his rehabilitation, and thinks he can play this season, but the team is having him slow down.
"I just want to train as hard as I can," Lattimore said. "But I understand why they want me to slow down."