Following every other draft pick being officially signed to contracts with the Cincinnati Bengals, first round pick Darqueze Dennard was the only player yet to ink his name to paper.
Until now, at least.
News just broke that Dennard is officially being paid for dressing in stripes, as Dennard signed his first NFL contract.
Dennard was practicing for every OTA practice without a contract, though he acted very professionally about the situation, stating it was all about the timing and that he was confident a deal would be done in the near future. Bengals fans can rest assured that he won't be missing a beat as he continues normal practices with Cincinnati.
Dennard was considered one of the top cornerbacks of this year's draft, with CBSSports.com listing him ahead of both Kyle Fuller and Justin Gilbert. The selection of Dennard addressed a major need for Cincinnati, as injuries and lack of depth have plagued the team in recent seasons. Leon Hall has now injured both Achilles tendons, two years apart.
Adam Jones has been very solid, but has only seen extended playing time in specific schemes, namely the nickel package. On top of that, Terrence Newman is aging, and Dre Kirkpatrick has battled injuries that have prevented his NFL career from kicking off.
Dennard gives the depth to the cornerback position that the Bengals desperately need, and he will look to compete for starting time in his rookie season.
His deal is not yet finalized, but we can expect him to earn about $8.5 million over the course of his 4-year rookie contract. But of course, that does not include a signing bonus and we can only speculate as to the specifics of the deal.
For now, Dennard can put contract talks behind him, and focus on his play on the field.