The San Francisco 49ers formally announced the signing of wide receiver Eric Rogers Thursday afternoon. Two months after working him out, the 49ers signed the CFL receiver to a 2-year $1.19 million deal. The news circulated on Wednesday, but the team made it official on Thursday.
This is an interesting story in light of Chip Kelly's arrival in Santa Clara. Rogers visited at least 16 teams over the last two months. He had led the CFL in receiving yards and touchdowns last season, and was viewed as a prized option this offseason. He visited the 49ers in December, and had also met with Chip Kelly when he was still with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Calgary Sun reporter Scott Mitchell broke the news of Rogers to the 49ers, and he had an interesting story Thursday morning. According to Mitchell, one of Kelly's first calls after getting hired by the 49ers was to Rogers. Kelly put on the hard sell to get him to the Bay Area, and it worked
"When he got hired by the Niners, he called me or two or three hours after it got announced that they were going to hire him," Rogers said from his home outside of Los Angeles, a couple hours after posting a picture of himself officially signing his contract. "He basically told me, ‘I guess I had to come to Cali to sign you since you're a Cali boy.' So he still had that kind of recruitment in him like he was at Oregon. He was like, ‘You're the first player I called and I want you to be the first player I sign at my new job.'"
For those concerned about this just being a wasted signing, it is worth noting this is nothing like the Jarryd Hayne or Lawrence Okoye signings, and really, it's different than even other CFL signings. It's different from Hayne and Okoye because he's got extensive football experience, and was really good at it in Canada. It's different than most other CFL signings because Rogers got a decent amount more guaranteed money. He got a $125,000 signing bonus, plus $100,000 of his first year salary guaranteed. For comparison's sake, wide receiver Duron Carter, son of Cris Carter, signed a deal with the Indianapolis Colts last year, and got $25,000 in guarantees.
According to Rogers, he worked out with Kelly and the Eagles two days before they had a game. Rogers said that stuck with him as he considered his NFL options.
"One coach spent an hour with me, a couple other guys spent 30 minutes with me, and Chip Kelly spent another 30 minutes with me. I was like, ‘I appreciate you guys taking the time to meet with me when you've got a game in less than 48 hours, a big playoff contention game.' That pretty much stuck with me."
It just kind of lined up to the point that it was too good to be true," Rogers said. "It was a good spot and they gave me a good offer, and it actually came up a lot more than what they initially offered."