2020 NFL Draft: Nearly 75% of Picks Remain Unsigned
Jason B. Hirschhorn
Since the 2011 NFL collective-bargaining agreement created, in effect, a salary slotting system for rookies, few draft picks have sat out while negotiating their first contracts. Cases like Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa's holdout that lasted into the regular season have grown rare due to the lack of leverage currently afforded to rookies, leaving most to sign their deals well in advance of training camp.
A different story has unfolded in 2020, however. Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, teams have signed few if any of their draft picks with roughly a month to go before training camp kicks off in late July. In a memo sent by the NFLPA on Wednesday, 186 draft picks remain without contracts, including all but three of the 2020 NFL Draft's first-round picks. That means only a shade over 27% of draft choices have a deal in place at present.
According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, clubs have told agents the reason for the lack of deals relates directly to the inability to conduct physicals at team facilities. The league office has restricted access to those buildings due to the pandemic since March and physicals remain barred at this time. Accordingly, draft picks might have to wait until just before training camp in order to put pen to paper on their contracts.
The Chargers have yet to sign any of the seven players they selected during the 2020 NFL Draft. Still, some of those rookies have managed to meet with their new teammates, as first-round pick Justin Herbert has participated in private workouts with tight end Hunter Henry, among others.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH