Lack of Draft Signings Indicates Different NFL Approach in 2020

We have spoken about the potential impact of the Covid-19 crisis on revenues for 2020 and the cap in 2021 and one of my thoughts was that teams could try to stash some money now rather than doing immediate signings that often have at least a partial payment of the signing bonus coming within two weeks of signing. Through June 7 the data would seem to back that up.

We track most transactions in the NFL and while we are not going to be perfect with the official signing dates we tend to do a pretty good job in that regard. At the worst it would be a few players off here and there. I decided to look at how many draft picks had signed contracts by June 7 the last three seasons to see if what we were seeing this year was different.

Year% Signed

Basically we have gone from an 85% signing rate to just barely over 20%. If this is attributed to not being to not being able to conduct physicals in the normal manner then signings should accelerate now that facilities are slowly beginning to re-open. If its more of a financial consideration then there is no reason to speed things up until they have a better idea about camps.

I don’t expect any franchises to push back on rookie salaries but I guess it could be a consideration if things looks bleak. Though rookie contracts are slotted there is actually a rarely known and never used rule that actually sets a minimum salary for the players based primarily on round. Those numbers are lower for most than the slotted salary everyone uses. Teams also do not have to max out the raises allowed (they never do it for picks after the 3rd round already). I cant imagine any of this is in play but I just thought it was worth mentioning in the event that there is a resurgence in infections in the coming weeks that change the dynamics again of sports in the fall and winter.