Signing draftees next order of business

The NFL draft just ended on Saturday, but one team already started the process of signing its draft picks as the Chicago Bears agreed to terms with two players on Monday.

With the Atlanta Falcons, they could move swiftly with some of their nine draft picks as well. Of course this year's draft was pushed back, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see some contracts completed sooner than later.

Last year, the draft ended on April 27. The Falcons signed their first draft picks on May 17: fourth-round pick Malliciah Goodman, fifth-round pick Stansly Maponga and seventh-rounders Kemal Ismael and Zeke Motta.

Fourth-round pick Levine Toilolo signed on May 21, followed by second-round pick Robert Alford on June 14.

First-round pick Desmond Trufant and seventh-rounder Sean Renfree were the last two signed on July 24.

Of course, this year, most eyes will be on how matters unfold with first-round pick Jake Matthews, the sixth overall selection from Texas A&M. Considering how Matthews is a no-nonsense guy ready to get to work, one wouldn't anticipate any problems with his contract situation.

Last year's sixth overall pick, Cleveland pass-rusher Barkevious Mingo from LSU, signed a fully guaranteed four-year, $16 million deal on July 21. It included $10.7 million signing bonus and fifth-year option.

That could be in the neighborhood of what Matthews will receive. This year's cap increase won't necessarily increase signing bonuses across the board.

The Falcons currently have $8.5 million in cap space. A little more room can be created if a player such as receiver Roddy White gets the extension he anticipated receiving after the draft.

The rookies participating in team activities while not yet under contract can sign an injury protection form which states that event of an injury, the club and player will negotiate in good faith for player drafted in his slot.