The Cleveland Browns drafted Florida Gators defensive tackle Caleb Brantley in the sixth round (No. 185 overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Typically, we pay little attention to sixth-round draft selections. But Brantley is not a normal sixth-round pick. Cleveland claimed it may release Brantley because of its concern of Brantley being investigated for an alleged incident of misdemeanor battery.
The morality of Brantley playing in the NFL will be fodder for sports talk shows. I have clear thoughts on that. But I want to look at the financial implications of Brantley’s actions.
It seemed that Brantley was going to be a second-round pick at the worst before the seriousness of the incident came to light. The first pick in the second round in 2016 (Emmanuel Ogbah) received $4.4 million guaranteed. The 185th pick in 2016 (DeAndre Houston-Carson) received $141,000 guaranteed from the Chicago Bears. Houston-Carson made $590,000 last season because he made the roster. But if Chicago had cut him before the season, the Bears only would have lost the guaranteed money.
So that means Brantley’s alleged incident could cost him approximately $3.8 million.
But getting drafted will cost him even more. NFL rookie compensation
All NFL draft picks get four-year deals, followed by unrestricted free agency. But undrafted free agents only get three-year deals, followed by restricted free agency. Undrafted free agents with Pro Bowl-level talent have the ability to out-earn Pro Bowl players who get drafted late.
In the sixth round of the 2013 draft (181st overall), the Raiders selected running back Latavius Murray. Murray signed a four-year contract that paid him $2.2 million, and he made the Pro Bowl in 2015. This offseason, he signed a contract with the Vikings that guarantees him $3.4 million, for a total of $5.6 million guaranteed.
After that same draft, C.J. Anderson was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Broncos. For the same four years, Anderson has made $7.6 million. He has more total money guaranteed to him than Murray ($9.3 million). He made the Pro Bowl in 2014.
The discrepancy in pay for the two players exists because Anderson became eligible for a new contract after three years. In a league where the average career is 3.3 years, this is a big deal.
You could make the argument that undrafted free agents don’t get any guarantees. This was true of former Gators defensive back Brian Poole, who signed a contract with the Falcons last year with a $3,500 signing bonus after not being drafted. Caleb Brantley situation similar to La’el Collins’
But the closest recent situation resembling Brantley’s is that of La’el Collins , a former LSU guard who signed as an undrafted free agent with the Dallas Cowboys. Collins was a potential first-round draft pick who fell because police were set to interview him about the shooting death of a woman with whom he had previously been in a relationship. Without time to fully explore the development, teams weren’t willing to take a chance on Collins.
But Collins’ agents made them less […]