As July approaches and minicamp nears, Bengals fans are getting closer to the edge of their seats in expectation of hearing about draft picks being signed. The last thing we want to see is a guy like Jermaine Gresham, who could potentially make an immediate impact on the team, miss out on camp because he and the team couldn't come to some sort of contract agreement. For fans, a rookie holdout is one of the most frustrating things in football. Unfortunately, Joe Reedy says that we should all ease back into our seats because there won't be any signings any time soon.
That is due to a variety of factors. For one, there are only nine draft picks this year compared to 11 last year. The other reason is that the Bengals currently have 89 guys in camp (80 signed) which is the most they have ever had here. You can only take 80 signed guys to camp meaning that between now and the early estimated reporting date of July 28, the Bengals have to jettison nine guys off the roster (last year they had 85 for minicamp). You can only take 80 signed to training camp. In the case of Jason Shirley, they could opt to put him on the reserve/non-football injury list which would then make it eight.
This is good and bad. The fact that there are so many guys in camp means the Bengals are going to have to cut more people which means that there is going to be much more competition and more competition makes better players. Here's the bad: I get nervous when the Bengals wait to sign rookies late. Mike Brown isn't know for burning holes in his pockets and sometimes that's exactly what you have to do to win.
As of today, only 31 of the 255 draft picks have signed with their team and none of the draft picks in the AFC North have been signed and just in case you were wondering, this is how the Bengals rookie contracts should break down:
For most of the draft picks it should be the standard four-year, $1.79 million deal ($320,000 this year, $405,000 in 2011, $490,000 in 2012 and $575,000 in 2013) not including signing bonuses or other incentives. Also as set by the NFL, the Bengals have a rookie pool of $4.889 million.
Well, I don't know about you, but I plan on staying on the edge of my seat. The anticipation is just going to make the signings better.