The Green Bay Packers officially signed eleven undrafted rookies last week at the start of their rookie minicamp, effectively filling out their roster following the 2019 NFL Draft. That phase of player acquisition is always one of the more chaotic ones, as agents for undrafted players scramble to find the best landing spots for their players.
“Best” in that context means different things to different individuals, of course. Some players value a chance to make the roster, but for others, some guaranteed money can sweeten the deal. ESPN’s Rob Demovsky has reported the signing bonuses given out to the group of eleven, which is as follows:
Signing bonuses and guaranteed money for the Packers undrafted free agent class. First time I can remember then guaranteeing part of a base salary. https://t.co/b76wg5eGyV pic.twitter.com/SMjS2KIRdx— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) May 8, 2019
There are no particularly large signing bonuses in this group. However, the big news is that Greg Roberts, an edge rusher from Baylor, got more than just a $7,000 signing bonus; he got a portion of his base salary guaranteed as well. That amount — $65,000 — is just a fraction of the $495,000 rookie minimum salary for 2019, but it is a way for the Packers to effectively provide Roberts with a bonus that does not hit the team’s UDFA signing bonus amount. This can be valuable because all NFL teams have a capped amount that they are allowed to give out to these players in signing bonuses, but guaranteed salary is not limited.
As Demovsky noted, this appears to be the first time that the Packers have provided a guarantee like this to an undrafted free agent. However, it has become common practice for some other teams around the NFL as a way to get around the bonus pool.
This suggests that out of these signees, the Packers expect Roberts to have the best chance to make the team in September. Given the versatile roles envisioned for the team’s top outside linebackers and the lack of proven depth behind them, there could certainly be a spot up for grabs at that position.
In total, seven of the Packers’ 11 UDFAs got $7,000 at signing apiece, while the whole group collectively received $57,700 on signing day. Should any of these players fail to make the 53-man roster to start 2019, those amounts will hit the salary cap as dead money. Likewise, if Roberts does not make the team, that $65,000 will also go on the cap.