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Paul Dawson contract breakdown with Bengals

The final pick on Day 2 of the NFL Draft saw the Bengals take Paul Dawson. We break down his first professional contract.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, the Bengals signed linebacker Paul Dawson to his first NFL contract.

Cincinnati took Dawson with the 99th-overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Dawson signed a four-year, $2,952,710 contract that includes a $581,952 signing bonus, $581,952 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $738,178.

Here's a breakdown of that contract:

TOTAL: $2,952,710 
GUARANTEED: $581,952


Base Salary

Signing Bonus

Cap Hit

Dead Cap






















As of now, Dawson would be the seventh-highest paid linebacker on the Bengals roster in 2015 behind Rey Maualuga, Vincent Rey, Emmanuel Lamur, Cris Carter, Marquise Flowers and Vontaze Burfict. This, despite the fact he may open the regular season as the starting weakside backer with Burfict possibly missing the start of the season.

The value of Dawson's contract isn't much different than the rest of the Bengals draft class after Round 2. Once you hit Round 3, the total value of contracts slowly dips from $3 million to $2.3 million between pick No. 65 and No. 256. That's why all of Cincinnati's picks between Round 3-7 will be making between $2.3-2.5 million over their four-year deals, plus varying signing bonuses.

Dawson was once projected as a late first or early second-round pick in this year's draft. Had he gone in the even the second round, Dawson would have gotten a contract worth as little as $3.7 million and as high as $6 million. Hopefully, Burfict can give him some comfort that falling in the draft doesn't have to cost you over the course of your entire career.