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Second-round signings bog down over push for greater guarantees

Chris Simms and Ahmed Fareed break down the Arizona Cardinals' top non-quarterbacks of the 21st century, headlined by Chandler Jones.

The periodic argument that all players should have fully-guaranteed contract overlooks the reality that more and more draft picks have been getting more and more fully-guaranteed money at signing.

Since the current rookie wage scale was adopted in 2011, the players getting four-year, fully-guaranteed deals has extended from the first 20 or so players taken to all of round one.

Now, the push for more guarantees has extended into round two.

Via Tyler Drake of Arizona Sports, Cardinals G.M. Monti Ossenfort was asked during a Monday appearance on Wolk & Luke about the delay in the signing of second-round linebacker BJ Ojulari. Ossenfort said second-round picks have been slow to sign this year because of “guaranteed money and where that all falls.”

Ojulari has been absent from the offseason program. Ossenfort attributed the absence to medical issues, not the contractual situation.

“I’m not worried at all,” Ossenfort added, as to the effort to sign Ojulari. “That’s going to take care of itself.”

It always does. But something will have to give. As of last week, only nine of the second-round picks have been signed this year -- fewer than 30 percent of the class. In contrast, 18 of 31 first-rounders are signed, and 35 of 39 third-rounders have agreed to terms. In all, 199 of 259 picks had been officially signed as of June 7.

The CBA, as of 2011, limits the topics for negotiation in rookie contracts. The biggest sticking points usually the amount of the guarantee at signing, the timing of the payment of any signing bonuses, and the language regarding the potential voiding of future guarantees.

And this is an area that is susceptible to potential collusion by the teams. The players and their agents can coordinate their efforts. The teams cannot. If there’s ever evidence that they are, that can be a problem.