CINCINNATI -- In the days just after the draft earlier this month, the Cincinnati Bengals signed 11 players as undrafted free agents.
Some of them may make the 53-man roster. Some may make the practice squad. Most won't make the team in either capacity.
Still, as the Bengals kick off voluntary organized team activities this week and start gearing up for training camp in late July, they had to sign as many undrafted players as they could in order to give their starters some added relief, and to see what extra talent there might be worth adding before the preseason games begin. Offense was a big part of the Bengals' post-draft additions this year, with only two defensive players being signed as part of the undrafted free agent class.
That's not too surprising. The Bengals are looking to tweak their offensive identity to a more aggressive and physical run-first style of play.
All of the undrafted players signed for around the league minimum base salary with some small signing bonus added in. Each have three-year deals that can be amended heading into their third seasons if they make the full roster. Consider current third-year linebacker Vontaze Burfict. He's entering the final year on his rookie undrafted free agent contract and is in the middle of negotiations for a deal that could pay him in the $6 million per year range. Right now he's scheduled to make $570,000 this season.
The only guaranteed money the undrafted free agents will see right now comes from their signing bonuses. Only four players received signing bonuses, though none of which exceeded $10,000. As a result, the Bengals have very nominal changes to their cap space at the moment. Once any of the undrafted free agents make the roster in any capacity, though, their individual cap values will be added to the team's overall salary cap.
As the current undrafted free agents take the practice fields with Burfict for Tuesday's OTA, let's look at the financial breakdown for each of their 2014 contracts. After making on average about $420,000 in base salary in 2014, these players can expect to see around $510,000 in 2015 and $600,000 in 2016. That means on average, they're looking at around $510,000 annually. These numbers come to us courtesy ESPN Stats & Information.