In 2011, the NFL and the NFLPA signed a new collective bargaining agreement which included a rookie wage scale. One of the many anticipated benefits of the fixed pricing was the elimination of lengthy contract negotiations, which often resulted in highly drafted players holding out into training camp, and in some cases into the season.
The 49ers experienced this phenomena first hand in 2009 when their first round pick, Michael Crabtree, held out well into the season - not signing until the first week of October.
Thankfully the new CBA and rookie wage scale have worked for the most part. But not entirely.
In 2012, WR Justin Blackmon held out 12 days into camp, and just last year LB Roquan Smith missed the Bears’ first two preseason games while holding out.
But only one player has held out longer than 30 days since the 2011 CBA was signed, and that player is Joey Bosa - brother of 49ers first round pick Nick Bosa.
Now it should be noted that by all accounts the Chargers were primarily at fault for the holdout, and Joey was able to make an immediate impact once signed (2 sacks in his first game), however there is one other small detail to consider:
Nick Bosa is represented by CAA - the same firm that represented both Joey Bosa and Roquan Smith.
So what’s the silver lining?
Number one, it’s still early. Twelve of the 32 first round picks remain unsigned, including 5 of the top 6.
Two, the afore mentioned firm that represents Bosa - CAA - also represents Solomon Thomas and Mike McGlinchey, both of whom signed within a week of the beginning of training camp.
And three: Paraag Marathe and John Lynch. Say what you want about Lynch’s talent evaluation skills, but his flexibility in negotiations combined with Marathe’s creative accounting methods have allowed the 49ers to begin the past two training camps with the full compliment of draft picks.
And I don’t expect this year to be any different.
Thanks to the 2011 CBA, the prices are already set - Bosa at 4 years/$33.55mil, and Samuel at 4 years/$7.7mil - and with both already participating in OTAs, there’s no reason to believe that the remaining details won’t be worked out before the beginning of training camp.
And now, onto the links: