We conclude our contract reviews of the Cincinnati Bengals’ 2017 draft class with Brandon Wilson and Mason Schreck.
Wilson was the lone draftee that the Bengals had to trade up to select in the 2017 NFL Draft with pick No. 207. They moved up from pick No. 217 to make the pick while giving up the No. 227 pick in Round 7. The Bengals have only traded up four times in the draft in franchise history, including to select Wilson, so hopefully he turns into something special.
But first, Wilson has to make the 53-man roster, something that’s far from being assured as a sixth-round pick. According to Spotrac, Wilson is signed to a four-year deal worth $2,542,095. However, that only carries a dead cap hit of $142,095 if he’s cut this year, so the Bengals won’t have much of a penalty if they waive Wilson. He’ll make $500,523 in 2017 if he makes the 53-man roster.
This pick came one year after the Bengals took fellow Houston cornerback William Jackson III in Round 1. With Jackson off to the NFL last year, Wilson stepped up as a starter last season for Houston. In 2016, he had 43 tackles, including four tackles for loss and two sacks, five pass breakups, one interception and one forced fumble.
Wilson played all over Houston’s defense, and he even spent some time at running back. The 5’11”, 200-pound triple threat also contributed on special teams with 21 kick returns for 510 yard in 2016. He even chipped in on offense with five receptions for 52 yards and four carries for six yards, while seeing time as a running back in the Las Vegas Bowl. He was used as a running back much more in 2015 when Jackson was still on the team in Houston.
The Bengals will probably keep Wilson as a project they develop for several years, so even though he’s a sixth-round pick, I’d expect him to be on the opening 53-man roster.
As for Schreck, the Bengals wrapped up their 2017 draft class with the selection of the former Buffalo Bulls tight end in Round 7. Schreck’s rookie contract is a four-year deal worth up to $2,464,270, according to Spotrac. If waived this year, the Bengals will only have a dead cap hit of $64,270. He’ll make $481,067 in 2017 if he makes the 53-man roster.
Schreck was a productive pass-catcher in the MAC last season, earning all-conference honors this after catching 59 passes for 651 yards and four touchdowns as a first-year starter.
Schreck showed flashes of being a good tight end at Buffalo, but having just one good year of significant production in the MAC makes it hard to see him making an NFL 53-man roster as a rookie. He really doesn’t look like someone who will contend for a spot on Cincinnati’s roster this year, being that Tyler Eifert, Tyler Kroft, C.J. Uzomah and Ryan Hewitt will occupy all of those snaps and roster spots. That’s actually probably why Cincinnati took Schreck, who they may try to stash on the practice squad this season.
And again, when you have a dead cap hit as little as $64,270 (in the grand scheme of a billion dollar industry, not us normal folk), Cincinnati won’t feel obligated to keep Schreck unless he absolutely earns a 53-man roster spot.