Thursday afternoon was a reminder of how the negotiation of NFL rookie contracts has changed since the current collective bargaining agreement was agreed upon in 2011.
Vikings top pick Trae Waynes signed his first NFL contract around lunchtime. Not long after Waynes put paper to pen, nine other draft picks, including UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks and Louisiana State defensive end Danielle Hunter, followed suit.
Before it was time for dinner, the Vikings became the first NFL team to sign their entire draft class, getting everyone under contract before this weekend’s rookie minicamp.
The rookie minicamp begins Friday at Winter Park.
Before the current CBA, which has established salary parameters for each draft slot, draft picks often went unsigned until training camp neared. Camp holdouts were common then, especially from the top prospects as they waited for fellow first-rounders to set the market.
But Thursday, a week after he was drafted 11th overall, Waynes became the fourth first-round pick to sign with his respective team.
Waynes’ four-year contract is reportedly worth $12.9 million with a $7.7 million signing bonus. But unlike the four-year contracts of other Vikings picks, the former Michigan State cornerback’s deal includes a fifth-year team option, standard for all first-rounders under the current CBA.
Vikings release five
The Vikings released five players Thursday. Gone are tackles Austin Wentworth and Antonio Richardson, safety Ahmad Dixon, tight end Ryan Otten and running back Henry Josey.
Wentworth played three games for the Vikings last season as a reserve guard. The Vikings signed Josey before the 2014 season finale but he did not suit up for that game.
Dixon was also on the 53-player roster by the end of the season. Otten was a practice squad player, and Richardson spent the season on injured reserve after knee surgery.