Chargers’ Manti Te’o among first NFL rookies to ink contract

Brian McIntyre
Shutdown Corner

In addition to this weekend being Mother's Day (you're welcome for the reminder), 23 NFL teams will be conducting rookie mini-camp. With the new collective bargaining agreement removing most of the guesswork out of rookie contracts, some teams are taking advantage of their draft picks coming to town by signing them to their standard four-year agreements.

The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears had already begun to get their picks under contract, but more teams have joined the fray this week. The Bears continued to get their picks under contract on Thursday, reaching a four-year deal with second-round linebacker Jon Bostic. That leaves first-round offensive lineman Kyle Long as their lone unsigned draft choice.

The New Orleans Saints, who did not sign a 2012 draft pick until June 29, reached agreement with four of their five picks in the 2013 draft, including safety Kenny Vaccaro, the No. 15 overall pick in the draft and the first player selected in the first-round of this year's draft to reach agreement on a contract. Vaccaro's deal will include a $5,234,328 signing bonus, which will be significantly more than the maximum signing bonus that third-rounder Terron Armstead ($617,436), fifth-rounder Kenny Stills ($194,452) and sixth-rounder Rufus Johnson ($105,308) will receive.

Five draft picks of the Philadelphia Eagles signed contracts on Thursday, the highest being second-round tight end Zach Ertz. Joining Ertz were fifth-round safety Earl Wolff and a trio of seventh-round picks — Joe Kruger, Jordan Poyer and David King — signing their deals, as well. Philadelphia still has three picks left to sign. First-round offensive tackle Lane Johnson and third-round defensive tackle Bennie Logan should be easy enough to sign, though fourth-round quarterback Matt Barkley could be tricky if his agent (Jimmy Sexton of CAA Football) attempts to extract additional guaranteed money from the Eagles.

The San Diego Chargers also got down to business on their rookie contracts, signing second-round linebacker Manti Te'o, third-round wide receiver Keenan Allen, sixth-round linebacker Tourek Williams and seventh-round quarterback Brad Sorensen to deals. With four picks down, only first-round offensive tackle D.J. Fluker and fifth-round cornerback Steve Williams are unsigned.

Te'o's contract will include a $2,141,768 signing bonus and will be worth just over $5 million with over $3.1 million in guaranteed money.

The Detroit Lions announced on Wednesday that had agreed to terms with their four late-round picks. Reports on Thursday had the Lions reaching four-year deals with second-round safety Darius Slay (initially reported by Southern Sports Edition and re-tweeted by Slay himself) and third-round guard Larry Warford (via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). The Detroit Free Press also reports that the Lions have signed fourth-round defensive lineman Devin Taylor and fifth-round punter Sam Martin, leaving first-round defensive end Ziggy Ansah as the only member of their nine-player draft class without a contract.

According to Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star, the Indianapolis Colts have signed six of their seven draft picks in advance of this weekend's rookie mini-camp. The only Colts' draftee who has not signed is first-round linebacker Bjoern Werner.

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