The Chicago Bears signed their last remaining draftee of the 2012 class on Monday. Third-round pick Safety Brandon Hardin is now under contract with a four-year deal. Terms were not disclosed.
It will certainly be interesting to see the structure of Hardin’s deal once those numbers are released. As of just a few days ago, only two third-round Draft picks from the entire 2012 NFL Draft class were under contract.
Folks around the NFL suggested the third-round was the grey area for rookie contracts in 2012. The new rookie wage scale sets a floor and a celling which dictate pay ranges for rookies based on Draft status. While teams were willing to negotiate base salaries with first- and second-round selections, most drew the line in round three.
Essentially, most teams were not willing to go above the base minimum of $2.1 million for a rookie third-round pick; keeping in mind that signing bonuses and other incentives don’t count against that base salary. For fourth-round picks on up the ladder (or down the ladder depending on how you’re looking at it), it’s understood that there is little to no negotiating room heading in.
Again, it will be interesting to see what his deal entails since there isn’t much precedent for third-round picks yet. Some clubs are budging on signing bonuses, while others are offering increases in other areas or additional workout bonuses.
Hardin, at 6’ 2”, 222 pounds, started 15 of 38 games played for the Oregon State Beavers (2007-11), registering 105 tackles (73 solo), three TFLs, three forced fumbles, one interception and seven passes defended. He was a two-time Pac-10 all-academic selection but missed his entire senior season due to a shoulder injury.
You can read our initial analysis on the pick here.