In case you missed it last week, the 49ers signed first round pick Eric Reid to his rookie contract, completing their rookie class. Matt Maiocco tweeted out that Reid was the second earliest 49ers top pick to sign in at least twenty years. A.J. Jenkins signed on June 21 last year. The contract has not been officially announced, but it will be a four-year deal with an option for a fifth year. Teams have to decide on the option after the third year of the contract. The fifth year option salary is the average of the third through 25th-highest salaries at a player's position.
Getting this deal done before training camp is not particularly surprising now. The rookie wage scale negotiated into the current collective bargaining agreement has more or less assured us that rookie holdouts are a thing of the past. There are still some issues with negotiating offsets, but otherwise, deals are fairly locked in.
Monster rookie deals were sacrificed by the union in the last round of CBA negotiations, in what some thought would be better for veterans. That hasn't quite panned out as expected. The cheaper rookies means some teams are more likely to invest in more younger players, rather than pay veterans those low-to-mid seven figure contracts they would get in the past. That is one reason guys like Larry Grant, Eric Winston and others are left looking for work. Grant obviously is dealing with a suspension, but with cheaper inside linebackers/specialists available through the draft, cap room can be saved going younger.
For now though, all that matters is the 49ers rookie class is signed and ready for camp. Rookies report a week from Friday, with veterans scheduled to report the following Wednesday. Although not yet announced, I suspect the first full-team practice will be that subsequent Thursday.