Ever since the Buffalo Bills made EJ Manuel their top overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, I've been peppered with one or two questions per day about the type of contract he'll sign under the NFL's collective bargaining agreement. The short answer: it's a meager contract. The longer answer: the Bills saved themselves a good amount of cash by trading down from No. 8 overall to No. 16.
Rookie contracts are now slotted and paid out according to draft order, so the fact that Manuel is a quarterback won't play into negotiations. He will end up signing a contract similar to last year's No. 16 overall pick, New York Jets defensive lineman Quinton Coples, who signed a four-year, $8.803 million contract (fully guaranteed) with a $4.842 million signing bonus.
That's a fairly significant drop from what they'd have paid out at No. 8 overall. Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill signed a four-year, $12.668 million deal with a $7.653 million signing bonus last year. Assuming that the slotting process will yield similar contracts in 2013 (which is a very safe assumption), the Bills saved themselves almost $3 million in signing bonus and almost $4 million over the life of the deal on their hand-picked franchise quarterback by trading back.
If things go well for the Bills and Manuel, of course, his second contract will look exceedingly different.