Chiefs Draft Pick Signing Dates
|Average||July 29th||July 23rd||July 21st||July 16th||July 11th||July 20th||July 5th|
As of today, no Kansas City Chiefs '09 draft pick has agreed to contract terms. This isn't uncommon. We're only in early June now and there is still plenty of time for the Chiefs, their draft picks and their agents to get together to complete deals before training camp. The first practice of training camp is scheduled to begin on August 1st and we'll see most, if not all, of the Chiefs' draft picks under contract by that time IMO.
The Chicago Bears, on the other hand, have already signed seven of their nine 2009 draft picks. Only 14 draft picks out of the entire draft have signed contracts so far. The Bears are traditionally one of the earlier teams to complete their summer deals.
How do they do it? Well having a former NFL agent, Cliff Stein, in their front office has to help.
"We do things the right way," Stein said. "I think my experience [as an agent] has been beneficial because I can empathize with those guys. … And I know there are people besides the player to whom they are answerable. But they're also our [vehicle] for interacting with the player at that point. Everything we do, from the first-rounder to the last, is transparent, especially after you get the first deal finished. But you want an agent to tell the client and his family that the team was fair with him. "
Another factor in the Bears' early success in getting picks signed is the simple fact that they start negotiations earlier than pretty much any other NFL team.
Indeed, part of what makes Stein unique is his uncanny ability to complete contract negotiations before most franchises have even started talks. Given the NFL's deadline mindset, many teams don't even begin discussions with rookies and the players' agents until early July, basically using the impending start of training camps as negotiating leverage. By then, however, Stein typically has completed deals with all of Chicago's rookies.
"We usually start [negotiations] right after the draft," Stein said. "For us, it's a pretty busy time."
Seems easy enough to me. I wonder why more teams don't operate like this.
The table above shows data from the last five years on when the Chiefs signed their draft picks, sorted by round and averaged out at the bottom for you. I pulled this data manually from ESPN.com and KFFL. Why only five years? Because this is a ton of freakin' work to put together. Five years is good enough for me to get to a starting point in this conversation.
Lots of factors fuel a contract signing date - the team culture, the front office personnel, the round a player was picked in and perhaps most influential is the player's agent. It's these NFL agents that are holding out for the bigger contracts. I can guarantee you every Chiefs' draft pick wants to get on the field ASAP. But, alas, this is a business. A business worth millions to all of the players involved.
I know what some of you are thinking right now - "Carl Peterson was the worst negotiator of all time! He never got any of our picks signed in time for training camp!" Well, that's not exactly true in the last five years, as the data above shows. This is one of those Chiefs Myths that crop up on message boards and talk radio based on a couple of incidents, most notably Dwayne Bowe in the last five years. I know Carl Peterson has had issues in the past signing top draft picks but as Bob Gretz noted almost a year ago today, Peterson's recent track record isn't an anomaly in the NFL.
Since the Chiefs, like every NFL team, keep a tight lid on any contract negotiation details, we don't really have a lot to speculate on here as far as dates the team's picks will sign. All we really have to go by is Kansas City's recent track record of signing draft picks listed above and now New England's track record of contract signings. I'm sure Scott Pioli wasn't in a lot of negotiations with his Patriot draft picks but he was a big time executive in New England so there may be some data in the Pats history that we can glean for our own use.
For a new perspective, after the jump, we've gone ahead and collected the same data on the New England Patriots. As you'll see when you compare the two tables, over the entire seven rounds of these drafts, Carl Peterson was relatively successful and got the vast majority of his draft picks in training camp on time and in many cases, signed very early in the summer.
Click through to check it out.
Patriots Draft Pick Signing Dates
|Average||July 29th||July 22nd||July 24th||July 22nd||July 12th||July 18th||July 16th|
The average dates for both teams are quite similar, with the Chiefs getting their seventh rounders signed quite a bit earlier than New England. Like I said above, a lot of factors influence an NFL rookie's contract so keep that in mind when you're looking at these dates.
To get a nice little conversation started this morning, what's your gut feeling on when the Chiefs' 2009 rookie class will make it into camp? Are we going to have any holdouts?