May 11, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals second first round draft pick guard Kevin Zeitler (68) walks of the field after mini camp at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, OH. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE
+ The Cincinnati Bengals announced the signing of their second first-round draft pick from this year's NFL draft, bringing offensive guard Kevin Zeitler into the fold on Friday with a standard four-year deal. All but two rookies have signed with the remaining prospects being defensive tackle Brandon Thompson and wide receiver Mohamed Sanu. Sixth-round running back Dan "Boom" Herron also signed this week (Wednesday).
Considering that the calendar still reads May, as opposed to late July when a majority of rookie contracts were signed during the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement, it has to feel like a little victory to teams and fans alike. No more media-driven
drivel wars between prospects and franchises, or teams playing chicken to determine the cost of a slotted position. We can say with some authority that those days are over, at least through the 2020 season.
Now the new CBA doesn't impact rookie signings in the second rounds or later as much as the top-ten players, where guaranteed money and thus overall salary has been significantly reduced. However fifth-round picks that signed in late July during the old CBA are also signing within a month of being drafted. And that's a small victory for everyone -- except for some highly-drafted prospects.