Most of the Colts' 2016 draft picks have already signed contracts. First round pick Ryan Kelly, fourth round picks Hassan Ridgeway and Antonio Morrison, fifth round pick Joe Haeg, and seventh round picks Trevor Bates and Austin Blythe have all agreed to their rookie deals.
That leaves just two players from the Colts' draft class not to have signed: second round safety T.J. Green and third round tackle Le'Raven Clark. With the new rookie wage scale, there's really no reason to worry at all anymore about holdouts and is the reason why so many signings come early now. It makes most of the deals pretty easy, perhaps especially first and second round picks. But one thing I didn't know was that third round picks can often bring the hardest negotiations.
Here's what ESPN's Mike Reiss wrote this weekend regarding third round picks (as a result of looking into why Patriots' third round quarterback Jacoby Brissett hasn't signed yet):
While nearly 75 percent of this year's draft class is already under contract, one thing I learned when looking into Brissett's situation is that the third round has only produced 15 signings among 35 picks. Why so many third-rounders who have yet to sign? One NFL salary cap man relayed that third-round negotiations have proven to be more challenging than other rounds in recent years. The reason is that first- and second-round picks can receive a maximum of 25 percent allocation of a team's rookie salary cap, but because the third round doesn't max out at 25 percent, there is often debate over what the correct percentage should be. That has created a situation where the third round has been the spot in the draft where some agents are pushing for more annually, such as the inclusion of workout bonuses in the deals.
It turns out that third round picks can often have the most interesting discussion when it comes to rookie contracts, then, as there is more room for debate. The agents will naturally fight to get as much as possible, and it seems that for third round picks that number is less set in stone than for other players.
For the Colts and Le'Raven Clark, the negotiations could be more difficult as Clark looks to get more workout bonuses or things like that included in his contract. There's absolutely no reason for concern whatsoever about either T.J. Green or Le'Raven Clark getting under contract before training camp rolls around, but this report from Reiss helps us understand why things might be taking a little longer in the negotiations with Clark.
CBS4's Mike Chappell projected the two deals, and it's likely to be pretty close to accurate due to the predictableness of the rookie wage scale. Chappell projects Green to sign a four-year, $4.2 million deal with a $1.2 million signing bonus and Clark to sign a four-year, $3.2 million deal with a $750,000 signing bonus.