49ers rookie contracts: Some of the details for the deals that should be coming soon

Al Bello

The 49ers should start getting their rookies signed in the coming days. We take a look at some details of how the contracts will look.

If you follow national media on Twitter, you may have noticed draft picks are slowly starting to sign their rookie contracts. The 49ers have not had any rookies getting their deals done, but Matt Barrows speculated some deals could start getting done this weekend.

Rookie contracts are no longer a huge issue with the new collective bargaining agreement. Top end picks are not done overnight, but with a rookie compensation pool in place, life is a lot less complicated. I still expect Eric Reid to be the last of the 49ers picks to sign, but part of that could depend on when some of the higher first round picks get signed.

Brian McIntyre posted the official compensation pool minimum and maximum numbers for the entire league earlier this week. The 49ers compensation pool has to be at least $6,074,294, and no more than $6,751,737. The folks at Over The Cap have some estimates on what the various picks could look like. The 49ers will need to clear space to get these deals done, but they do not have to that stuff done now before they get the contracts done. They have the rest of the offseason to get their salary cap in order.

Reid will sign a four-year contract, with a club option for a fifth year. The fifth year option salary is a non-negotiable number, set as follows:

For any other (not top ten) Drafted Rookie selected in round one, the Paragraph 5 Salary for the player's Fifth-Year Option shall equal an amount that would apply in the fourth League Year of the Rookie Contract if one calculated the Transition Tender for that League Year by using the same methodology as set forth in Article 10, Section 4, but using the applicable third through twenty-fifth highest Salaries (as "Salary" is defined in Article 10) (as opposed to the ten highest Salaries) for players at the position at which the Rookie participated in the most plays during his third League Year.

The rest of their draft picks will sign for strictly four year contracts, and the undrafted rookies all signed three-year contracts. Players selected in rounds three through seven have the opportunity to earn a proven performance escalator. Here is how the CBA describes it:

(c) Qualifiers. An eligible player will qualify for the Proven Performance Escalator in his fourth League Year if: (1) he participated in a minimum of 35% of his Club's offensive or defensive plays in any two of his previous three regular seasons; or (2) he participated in a "cumulative average" of at least 35% of his Club's offensive or defensive plays over his previous three regular seasons. "Cumulative average" means the sum of the total number of offensive or defensive plays in which the player participated over the applicable seasons, divided by the sum of the Club's offensive or defensive plays during the same seasons. (By way of example, if a player participates in 600 of the Club's 1,000 offensive plays in his first season, 290 of the Club's 1,000 plays in his second season, and 310 of the Club's 1,000 plays in his third season for a total of 1,200 plays out of a possible 3,000, the cumulative average would equal 40%) .

(d) Amount. The Proven Performance Escalator shall equal the difference between (i) the amount of the Restricted Free Agent Qualifying Offer for a Right of First Refusal Only as set forth in, or as calculated in accordance with, Article 9 for the League Year in such player's fourth season and (ii) the player's year-four Rookie Salary (excluding signing bonus and amounts treated as signing bonus). The resulting amount shall be added to the stated amount of the player's year-four Paragraph 5 Salary. By way of example, if a rookie drafted in round three of the 201 1 Draft has a year-four Rookie Salary of $1,000,000 (consisting of $700,000 in Paragraph 5 Salary, $150,000 in signing bonus proration, $100,000 in an incentive, and a $50,000 roster bonus), and the 2014 Restricted Free Agent Qualifying Offer for a Right of First Refusal Only equals $1,400,000, then, upon achieving the qualifier, the player's stated Paragraph 5 Salary

($700,000) shall increase by $550,000 (i.e., $1,400,000 minus (1) the $700,000 Paragraph 5 Salary, (2) the $100,000 incentive, and (3) the $50,000 roster bonus). As a result, the player's total earnable Salary in the 2014 League Year (minus his signing bonus prora­ tion) shall be $1,400,000, consisting of the player's $1,250,000 Paragraph 5 Salary (as escalated), his $100,000 incentive, and his $50,000 roster bonus.

(e) The amount by which a player's Paragraph 5 Salary may increase pur- suant to this section shall not be considered Rookie Salary and shall not count toward the Total Rookie Compensation Pool, the Club's Total Rookie Allocation, or the 25% Increase Rule.

Drafted players cannot renegotiate their contract until after their third season. Undrafted players cannot renegotiate their contract until after their second season.

That last part is interesting for the 49ers, particularly in the case of Lawrence Okoye. They have zero idea what they are getting for the league minimum to which he signed. After year two, who knows where this situation will be, or if it will be remotely settled. He could have blown up on the league, or he could still be figuring out the swim move.

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