Given the parameters of the rookie wage scale, it was expected that the top draft picks of 2012 would sign sooner than later. But with the complications of offset language, it's taken longer than some expected. Finally, the floodgates have opened, and the first of the top eight draft picks has signed with his NFL team.
As he tweeted early Wednesday morning, Robert Griffin III has agreed to terms on a contract with the Washington Redskins that will guarantee him $21,119,098 over the next four years. Offset language, which gives compensation to teams cutting their high draft picks if those players sign with other teams, was not an issue in this case.
The deal is very much like the one given to last year's second-overall pick, Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller, and about $12 million less than the guaranteed figure given to St. Louis Rams offensive tackle Jason Smith, the last second-overall pick signed before the rookie wage scale went into effect. Smith signed a six-year, $61.775 million deal with $33 million in guarantees.
As with all contracts given to the top-10 picks, there is a team option for a fifth year. Should the Redskins exercise that option, they would pay Griffin the transition tag value in the fifth season, which is the average salary among the 10 highest-paid quarterbacks in that year.
Here was Griffin's official tweet, which many reporters immediately sought to "confirm":
The highest draft pick to sign before Wednesday was Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, who was taken with the ninth overall pick and received a four-year, $12.58 million deal.
The Redskins traded up with the St. Louis Rams from the sixth slot to the second to take the highly productive Baylor quarterback, and they paid a high price in doing so. Washington gave up their sixth overall pick in 2012, their first-round picks in 2013 and 2014, and a second-round pick in 2012 for the pleasure of ensuring their franchise quarterback.
Griffin kept busy through the negotiation phase, shooting this commercial that got a lot of play on Twitter after its Tuesday release:
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