The San Francisco 49ers continued to make solid progress in getting their rookie class signed, sealed and delivered, as they signed two more players on Thursday. The 49ers announced they have signed Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde (2nd round) and NC State defensive back Dontae Johnson (4th round) to 4-year contracts. Rookie contracts are not nearly the same issue they were prior to the current CBA thanks to the rookie contract pool. First round picks can take a little longer to negotiate offset language, but otherwise the deals are pretty settled.
Johnson's contract is likely to be like the previous ones we have discussed. He gets his signing bonus and then four years of league minimum money. He gets a chance at the proven performance escalator, but not much else beyond that. Hyde's contract is the first to that is likely to feature non-minimum salaries. Jason from Over The Cap projects a rookie minimum, but then boosts beyond the minimum for the remaining three years.
Here are the estimates, courtesy of Over The Cap. They’ve been pretty spot on with the rookie pool estimates, but if there are any differences when others leak out the numbers, we'll update accordingly.
Signing Bonus: $997,584
2014 Base: $420,000
2015 Base: $587,349
2016 Base: $754,698
2017 Base: $922,047
Hyde will come in and compete for playing time behind Frank Gore. He will enter a fairly stiff competition, with Kendall Hunter, Marcus Lattimore, LaMichael James and Jewel Hampton all in the mix. Without knowing the full status of Lattimore’s knee, it would seem his most extensive competition will be with Hunter. James could very well stick around all year, but his primary task seems to be as a return man. Hampton was on the 53-man roster the last few games of 2012, and then spent 2013 on the practice squad.
Signing Bonus: $400,540
2014 Base: $420,000
2015 Base: $510,000
2016 Base: $600,000
2017 Base: $690,000
Johnson can play both cornerback and safety, but based on his conference call after the draft, it sounds like he will focus on cornerback for now. The cornerback depth chart is likely topped by Tramaine Brock and Chris Culliver. Jimmie Ward will compete for the nickel back job, but beyond that, you’ve got Eric Wright, Perrish Cox, Chris Cook and Darryl Morris are all in the mix. In a perfect world, Johnson and Morris would emerge ahead of the veterans and provide some decent depth behind Brock, Culliver and Ward. I could see both getting some chances at the dime back.
The base salaries are based on the minimum for each year, which is found in Article 26, Section 1 of the CBA. The contracts are generally not guaranteed aside from the signing bonus. There is no fifth year option for non-first round picks, but for picks in rounds three through seven, there is the proven performance escalator. Bruce Miller and Chris Culliver both qualified for the PPE, which resulted in a bump in their respective 2014 salaries. That means Carlos Hyde cannot earn the PPE, much like Colin Kaepernick could not.
49ers 2014 draft class
1 (30). Jimmie Ward, DB, Northern Illinois
2 (57). Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State - SIGNED
3 (70). Marcus Martin, C, USC
3 (77). Chris Borland, ILB, Wisconsin
3 (100). Brandon Thomas, OG, Clemson
4 (106). Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina
4 (129). Dontae Johnson, CB, NC State - SIGNED
5 (150). Aaron Lynch, DE/OLB, South Florida - SIGNED
5 (170). Keith Reaser, CB, Florida Atlantic - SIGNED
6 (180). Kenneth Acker, CB, SMU
7 (243). Kaleb Ramsey, DE, Boston College - SIGNED
7 (245). Trey Millard, FB, Oklahoma