The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have already signed Jameis Winston to a four-year contract, general manager Jason Licht announced today. That comes just one day after drafting him with the first overall pick. Apparently the Bucs really wanted to get the formalities done quickly.
To be fair, negotiating draft picks is trivial these days as the NFL CBA has effectively instated a rookie wage scale. Over The Cap estimates the total value of the contract to be $22,355,498, which is fully guaranteed with a $14,518,544 signing bonus.
Jameis Winston signed with the #Bucs for 4-years, $25.35M, source said. He gets a $16.7M signing bonus.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 1, 2015
That's a lot more expensive than Over The Cap's usually very reliable estimates. I'm not sure what's up with that -- there's almost no leeway under the new CBA, so something's odd here. But, Andrew Brandt explains!
After rookie contracts being stagnant since 2011, numbers will now rise approximately 15% from last year. Winston will benefit.— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) May 1, 2015
The contract will run four years, although there will also be a fifth-year option to be exercised during the 2017 offseason, as is the case with all first-round rookies. That fifth-year option will cost the Buccaneers the average of the top ten highest salaries at his position. This year, that's slightly more than $14 million for Cam Newton, and it'll be a hefty salary for the 2019 season, too.
One interesting thing to watch will be whether there are any behavioral clauses in Winston's contract that could give the Bucs an out, which is what the Arizona Cardinals did with Tyrann Mathieu in 2013 when Jason Licht was on that staff. Given the fact that this contract was concluded this quickly, I would not expect that to be the case.
Still, if Winston performs the way the Bucs expect him to, his salary will be a steal the next four years, and even that fifth-year option will be cheap.