College free agents (the players that weren't drafted and are looking for NFL homes this weekend) are usually locked into three-year deals when they sign with a team following the NFL draft. College free agents that signed with NFL teams in 2015 will earn a minimum contract that pays $435,000 in 2015, $525,000 in 2016, and $615,000 -- roughly the same as anyone drafted after the third round.
Where a significant difference exists, is the signing bonus. For example, James Wright, one of Cincinnati's seventh-round draft selections last year, signed a $49,824 signing bonus. Ryan Hewitt, one of the team's undrafted free agents that made the 53-man roster, signed a $10,000 signing bonus. Hewitt and Wright have identical base salaries in 2015 ($510,000) and 2016 ($600,000) -- and had identical salaries in 2014 ($420,000). Another difference is that Wright is signed through 2017, Hewitt becomes a restricted free agent after 2016.
Even Will Clarke signed an identical deal to what Wright signed, in terms of
All NFL teams are capped at $86,957 in signing bonuses -- this, along with the likeliness that a player could find himself on the 53-man roster, are the primary recruiting tools when signing free agents. Of the college free agents that Cincinnati has signed, we know of the signing bonus of four players (h/t Coley Harvey).
- Terrell Watson, RB, Azusa Pacific: $6,000
- Floyd Raven, S, Texas : $5,000 (NOTE: Aaron Wilson lists him at $5,500)
- Kasen Williams, $3,000
- Trevor Roach, LB, Nebraska: $2,500