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Undrafted players get screwed in the new deal

Kurt Warner of St. Louis Rams

F363722 55: (NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA SALES ONLY) Quarterback Kurt Warner of the St Louis Rams is escorted off the field after winning Super Bowl XXXIV at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia on January 30, 2000. The St. Louis Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans 23-16. (Photo by Doug Pensinger)

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Undrafted players sign contracts for the minimum annual salaries. The only thing that distinguishes one team’s offer from another team’s offer is the signing bonus.

The decision to cap each team’s signing bonuses for undrafted free agents to $75,000 hurts these players who have been waiting patiently for work in a way far more significant than the dollars and cents of the signing bonus. As a league source explained it to me earlier today (and as I ranted a bit on PFT Live), it will now be harder for agents to know which teams are serious about the chances of an undrafted player to make the team.

Every team says it. But then when the team offers a signing bonus of only $2,500, the agent knows that it’s just talk. When $20,000 is offered, the agent knows that the team has real interest.

Per the source, one team was ready to offer $20,000 to six different undrafted players. Another team budgeted $150,000 for undrafted rookie signing bonuses.

None of that will happen now, and it will be even harder for undrafted players to know which teams truly have high regard for them, especially in a year that will include 90 players going to training camp. As a result, it’ll be even harder for the next Kurt Warner to separate from the scout team and become a Super Bowl hero.