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Signing bonuses for Bengals college free agents

Teams have a pool of $86,957 that can be applied to signing bonuses for college free agents. We know of four signing bonuses in Cincinnati... so far.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

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
The Bengals have much more to spend, in terms of signing bonuses and we're not aware of the others that Cincinnati has signed. There are other differences between CFA and drafted players -- notably the the length of the rookie deal, when a player can sign extensions, etc... Eventually a quality college free agent that performs in the NFL will make up the difference that he lost with his next deal (see Burfict, Vontaze).