With the New England Patriots having to forfeit their first round pick this year because of the Deflategate scandal, only 31 players were selected in the 2016 NFL Draft’s first round. The last time this happened was in the 2008 draft when, again, New England Patriots were punished for the Spygate scandal.
This may be a disadvantage for the Patriots, but interestingly it could help (or hurt) the first pick of the second round, defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah of Oklahoma State, and everyone else picked beyond the 29th pick this year.
Why? Well, he is now the 32nd pick in the draft. In any other year that the league has 32 teams with no forfeited picks, he is a first round pick.
The Cleveland Browns owned the pick and this presents the question: how big is Ogbah’s signing bonus going to be? Furthermore, is he going to be paid as the first 2nd round pick or as the 32nd overall pick?
The differential is somewhat substantial, especially for a person that made no earnings playing football in the three years at Oklahoma State (assuming he played by NCAA rules):
If Forbes is correct, offensive lineman Germain Ifedi, the 2016 31st pick, will earn a $1,052,697 signing bonus in 2016. Linebacker Stephone Anthony, the 2015 31st pick, made $970,766 through his signing bonus. This is a 8.44% raise for the draft pick.
From 2014-2015, each pick from 31-33 saw an equal signing bonus increase of about 15%. So if Forbes predicts around a 8.44% increase in signing bonuses and the increase stays consistent throughout the picks, Ogbah, the 2016 32nd pick, should receive a signing bonus of about $1,029,337. Add the 2016 rookie base salary of $450,000, he makes almost $1.48 million in his first year.
If he is paid as the first second rounder rather than the 32nd pick, his signing bonus would be $735,036. This totals a $1.185 million for his first year. This totals near $295,000 in a salary difference and a 24.89% raise if he were the 32nd pick versus the first second round pick. This would be the highest of the six years under the new CBA deal, which previously topped at 24.53% in 2011.
If Ogbah wants more money, he may have a good argument to be paid as the overall pick rather than the first second round pick. The new CBA deal between the NFLPA and NFL fixes salaries for each pick. What does this mean exactly? Smells like a potential lawsuit if the language is unclear about how the picks are counted and if Ogbah wants to earn more cash.
It is also noted that Ogbah may not have been selected in the first round even if the Patriots had their first round pick this year. The draft after the forfeited pick would most likely be very different from our current reality. It is still a bummer for the player that would have been apart of the hypothetical scenario of the 2016 32 pick first round draft.
For those looking for reasons to hate the New England Patriots more for Deflategate, not only did it take away one player’s dream away by removing a pick from the draft entirely, but also one less player gets to be paid a first round salary.
It goes the other way as well though. In this case, Ogbah could be found lucky if he is paid as the 32nd pick because he may not have been a first round pick with the Patriots being eligible. This is all assuming that he would have gone to Cleveland at the 33rd pick if not picked in the hypothetical first round.