Breaking down some of the underlying financials for 49ers rookies

Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE

The 49ers welcome their rookies to minicamp this weekend. As the players look to earn a spot on the 53-man roster this fall, they will be fending for themselves financially in many instances.

Earlier this week, the San Francsico 49ers announced 12 undrafted free agency signings, as the team continues to fill out their 90-man roster. The signings come a few days before the team opens its 2013 rookie minicamp.

On Friday, the 49ers' 11 draft picks and 12 undrafted free agent signings will join at least two tryout candidates. The 49ers invited Nate Montana to minicamp, and recently invited Fordham WR Greg Wilson for a tryout. I imagine they will bring in additional tryout candidates, but we'll wait and see what the weekend brings.

Earlier today, we discussed some of the UDFA signing bonuses, and questions arose about the kind of money players earn during minicamps and the rest of the offseason workout program. During the program, plenty of rookies have to deal with certain financial issues. The UDFAs have signed contracts that pay them a base salary of $405,000 in 2013, but it is important to note that money does not begin to pay until the end of training camp, after the final roster cutdown.

Once training camp starts, the team provides room and board, along with a rookie per diem. For this year, rookies will earn $925 per week in per diem. I imagine many will pocket that money since the team provides a lot of food at the facility.

However, before training camp, rookies do not get quite as many perks. During minicamps, per diem is only available to veterans. When rookies negotiate their contracts, they can only earn the per diem starting in the second year of their contract. Article 13, Section 6(e)(iv)(3) provides for covering certain expenses:

Expenses for travel, board and lodging for a player participating in an offseason workout program or classroom instruction shall not be included in Salary or Team Salary, so long as such expenses are reasonable and customary and generally of­fered to all players by that club. Any such expenses in excess of reasonable and customary levels, or not generally offered to all players by that Club, shall immediately be included in Salary and Team Salary.

The CBA is not entirely clear about all this because "Article 22 - Minicamps", section 4(c), says:

Any "rookie player" (defined as a person who has never signed a Player Contact with an NFL Club in a prior League Year) shall not be entitled to compensation for his participation in any minicamp, other than the reimbursements or payments per­mitted under the Club's Rookie Orientation Program.

For the undrafted free agents and the players just getting a tryout, there is not much of anything to be had. Rookies can start to negotiate endorsement deals, but I can't imagine UDFAs are able to get much out of that. They're getting a few bucks to cover things, and I imagine they get some help from their agents, but it is still a financial commitment on their end initially.

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