Clowney's deal shows ease of rookie deals

HOUSTON -- Yes, rookie deals have gotten a lot easier these days.

Yes, rookie holdouts are generally a thing of the past.

But this early?

The Houston Texans signed the No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney to a four-year deal on Friday. The Houston Chronicle reported the deal includes $22.272 million in guarantees.

It's June 6. Training camp doesn't even start for seven more weeks.

Last year, top pick Eric Fisher signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in late July just before training camp opened. Two years ago, Andrew Luck didn't sign until July 19. In 2011, coming out of the NFL lockout, Cam Newton signed on July 29.

Before the new collective bargaining agreement set a rookie scale, first-round picks often held out for weeks. There was a lot to argue about and a lot on the line for teams that were dedicating huge chunks of money to a player who hadn't played one down yet.

The rookie scale means the risk on a top-10 pick isn't nearly what it was back when JaMarcus Russell was getting $68 million with $31.5 million guaranteed, or when Sam Bradford got $50 million in guarantees.

Now the dollar amount of each pick is set, as is the bonus amount and the length of the contract. Most of the details argued now are minor and easy to solve. There's also no longer any reason for agents to wait until the market is set by others, as the market is predetermined.

And so here we are on June 6, with only one draft pick left to sign -- the Texans' second-round pick, Xavier Su'a-Filo. And that should be done shortly, too.