Sometime soon we’ll talk about why, despite the stellar pro day performance of Robert Griffin III, the Colts are very likely to pick Andrew Luck with the first pick in the draft. But for right now, let’s talk about why that matter will not be finally settled until draft day or sometime very close to it.
One of the most frequently asked questions I get is from fans who want to know if Luck is going to sign with the Colts anytime soon. They would like to see Luck get locked in to Indy so the path is completely clear for RG3 to hold up the No. 1 Redskins jersey in Radio City Music Hall on April 26.
And unfortunately for those folks the answer is that negotiating a contract with the first pick prior to the draft is a thing of the past. It used to be that teams would want to talk contract with a player who was the potential first overall selection to gauge his “signability”. A possible lengthy holdout during training camp could be avoided by getting the guy you wanted to sign on the line.
The new CBA ratified last summer ended the signability factor. Salaries and most terms are pretty well set. Last year, top overall pick Cam Newton signed a four-year $22 million contract that was mostly dictated by the CBA. A few items, such as the amount paid up front as a signing bonus. But those are minor matters and chances are the player will be in camp on time.
So now there actually is a disincentive to sign a player prior to the draft. Teams can take every available minute to evaluate the decision that will shape the future of the franchise for years to come. And, although nobody likes to think about it, waiting avoids a situation where your just-signed prospect could suffer some sort of fluke injury.
Since there are no advantages to signing your guy early and some potential downside to doing so, don’t look for Luck to be putting a pen to a contract with the Colts anytime soon.