Sam Darnold signs with Jets, making Roquan Smith last unsigned pick
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The Jets officially signed No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold to his rookie-scale contract Monday. Darnold, who announced the deal himself on the Jets’ Twitter, is 255th of 256 draft picks to sign – leaving Bears first-rounder Roquan Smith as the only one still awaiting a contract.
Darnold was one of the last two holdouts from the 2018 draft class along with Smith, who the Bears selected with the eighth overall pick. The NFL’s collective bargaining agreement determines the length and overall value of each rookie contract, but teams and players negotiate over details such as the timing of payments and when guaranteed money can be taken away.
As the No. 3 pick in the draft, Darnold will receive a four-year contract worth a slotted amount of $30.2 million. According to ESPN, the deal includes a $20 million signing bonus, but Darnold’s guarantee would be voided if he was fined of suspended by the NFL for disciplinary reasons.
Disagreement over the ability to void guaranteed money appears to be at the center of the current impasse between Smith and the Bears. Coach Matt Nagy said Sunday that part of the issue was that Smith’s camp wants language inserted in his deal that guarantees he gets his money even if punished by the league under its new use-of-helmet rules.
GM Ryan Pace briefly discussed the situation during an appearance on ESPN 1000 Monday afternoon.
“Sometimes all the details aren’t maybe fully out there,” Pace said. “We’re going to work through it and we’re going to do it the right way with agents that we respect, with a player that we respect.”
Getting Smith under contract as soon as possible is a top priority for the Bears, not just because he’s the last man standing unsigned from the 2018 class. The former Georgia star is slated to be an integral part of the Bears’ linebacker corps alongside Danny Trevathan, and he’s missed crucial reps at training camp over the past couple weeks.
The Bears open their preseason schedule with the Hall of Fame Game against the Ravens on Thursday night. The regular season starts Sept. 9 with a “Sunday Night Football” matchup against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.