Top rookie signings used to be a closely-watched issue every off-season. Before the rookie wage scale, players at the top of the draft could hold out deep into training camp to push for more cash. Just over a decade ago the first-overall pick Sam Bradford did not sign his rookie deal until days before camp, securing $50 million guaranteed on a $78 million deal.
That is no longer an issue as player salaries are set by the CBA. Some top players will push for fully guaranteed deals or resist certain offset language. It means there is little to discuss and we rarely see holdouts reaching camp.
Similar to other players, Pitts is under contract without much delay or drama. He’s officially under contract on a four-year deal.
No. 4 overall NFL Draft pick Kyle Pitts has signed his rookie contract with the Falcons. As with all first-round picks, it's a four-year deal with a fifth-year option.— Scott Bair (@ScottBairNFL) June 29, 2021
As with all rookie contracts, the Falcons will have an option for a fifth year at a salary set by the CBA. For example, the Falcons foolishly took the fifth-year option on Vic Beasley. The team declined the same option for Takk McKinley.
Adam Schefter of ESPN is the first to report the fully-guaranteed deal comes in at $32.9 million. No news on the signing bonus yet. The team may have tried for a larger-than-expected signing bonus for cap purposes. If so, it will give the Falcons a bit more breathing room before they reach cap freedom in 2023.
This is an expensive deal for a tight end. Pitts, being the highest drafted tight end ever, should come in with some lofty expectations. However, due to the big deals signed by other tight ends recently, Pitts comes in at an average annual value just between Jimmy Graham and Zach Ertz, and behind Austin Hooper, Hunter Henry, and Jonnu Smith.
With a full, healthy season, Pitts should have a great chance at showing he is worth his rookie deal.