Five first-round picks remain unsigned, including Caleb Williams

The vast majority of the 2024 draft class has signed. The biggest cluster of unsigned picks falls in round one.

Five players aren’t signed. They come from three teams.

Bears quarterback Caleb Williams (No. 1) and receiver Rome Odunze (No. 9) are not yet under contract. Ditto for Vikings quarterback J.J. McCarthy (No. 10) and edge rusher Dallas Turner (No. 17).

Also unsigned is Bengals tackle Amarius Mims, the 18th pick in the draft.

All five will have fully-guaranteed four-year deals, with the dollar value slotted based on selection number. While the 2011 CBA dramatically limited the number of topics for haggling, there are still three main categories.

1. Signing bonus cash flow: How much of the signing bonus is paid up front? How much is deferred, and for how long? Players want the money ASAFP. Teams might try to push some of it out, by a year or longer.

2. Voiding of guarantees: What will it take to let a team wipe out the remaining guarantees? There have been issues in the past about suspensions for certain on-field infractions opening the door to erasing the guaranteed money. Players want to limit the team’s ability to un-guarantee the guaranteed cash. Teams prefer the flexibility to get out from under a bad deal.

3. Guarantee offsets: If the player is released with guaranteed money left, will earnings elsewhere reduce the money owed? The player prefers to double dip. The team wants to get credit for salary from a new NFL franchise.

Frankly, there’s no reason for any of the draft picks to not be signed at this point. All players should insist on getting their deals before setting foot on the practice field for the offseason program. More and more teams are getting their deals done quickly enough to give the players the full and complete four-year protection against a potential freak injury.

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