Almost every 2023 NFL Draft pick is under contract with training camp either underway or close to commencing for teams across the league. There are only three out of 259 picks who’ve yet to sign their rookie contracts, and a pair of them are Seattle Seahawks.
As of Monday afternoon, neither former Illinois cornerback and No. 5 overall pick Devon Witherspoon nor second-round ex-UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet have inked their deals.
As best I can tell, we’re down to three unsigned rookies league-wide.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) July 24, 2023
• Seahawks CB Devon Witherspoon.
• Steelers CB Joey Porter.
• Seahawks RB Zach Charbonnet.
That’s out of 259 draftees. Remember when dozens of rookies used to hold out of camp?
Seattle’s cap space is pretty low, and even though signing both players should be possible without going over the cap limit, the Seahawks also have a vacant spot on the 90-man roster. There is the hope that that vacant spot is used on a potential regular season contributor (e.g. bringing back Shelby Harris) as opposed to a player with almost no chance of making the 53-man roster, so that’s been a bit of a side story tied to the cap situation and Seattle’s unsigned picks.
ESPN’s Brady Henderson has a logical guess as to why there’s a hold-up in the process, and it comes down to signing bonuses.
Don't know what the holdup here, but it often centers around the signing bonus. The total amount is predetermined, but teams/agents haggle over what % is paid now vs. later. Teams want to defer a chunk of it for cash-flow purposes. Players want as much as possible up front. https://t.co/olDXKhaw31— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) July 24, 2023
Field Gulls’ own John Gilbert wrote an article last month addressing this issue, saying there’s no real need to fret about this situation.
There are probably details that need to be ironed out that aren’t exactly of the most urgent nature. The money is theirs and the contracts will be signed in due time. There’s no true rush, and the difference in their ability to contribute on the field if they sign today as opposed to signing four weeks from today is absolutely zero. In addition, given that the states in which both played football in 2022 have individual income tax rates significantly higher than the 0% income tax rate in Washington, it would be prudent to have established residency in Washington prior to inking a contract that could potentially send significant amounts of money into the coffers of a state in which they no longer reside.
In other words, don’t be surprised if the signings come on Tuesday (when physicals are conducted before camp starts on Wednesday), or at the very least the signings are made official on Wednesday. It’s just an interesting factoid and I don’t suspect something dramatic is about to happen.