If you have anywhere from a 2-6 draft grade you go really now because the only decent guaranteed money is the Top 10.
I hear people throw this around a good bit but I just do not agree.
Every pick gets paid less than the pick before him. These differences might not seem like much, when strictly considering the 4-year cash value of the contract, but that ignores important considerations, specifically guaranteed money. For instance, the first pick of the 3rd round is guaranteed at around $700k, while the last pick is guaranteed around $500k- nearly a 30% decrease. Compare that to the last pick of the 4th round at $300k, roughly 60% and 40% decreases for the picks in the same position of the previous rounds. That is a significant amount of money. Also note that from the 4th round on, the base salary remains static at the minimum for rookies ($420k in 2014).
The primary reason the signing bonus is important is obvious, its guaranteed. Moreover, in terms of salary cap, a signing bonus will be prorated over the life of the contract, unless a player is released, in which case the unrecognized portion of the salary will hit the cap that year. As such, the higher the signing bonus, the more difficult it will be for the team to choose to release you as it will be a larger stress on the cap. In other words, the higher your signing bonus, the more likely you are to receive more of your original contract.
I don't expect a 21 year old kid with life long dreams of playing in the NFL to understand or care about the difference between 200k and 300k over 4 years. I would just hope there is someone available truly guiding them and explaining this rationale before declaring early and foregoing a free college degree. LINK
tl;dr: I think there is value in moving up in the draft, whether it be one round or three. However, I don't expect an athlete too see it the same way I do.
This post was edited on 1/3 at 7:58 pm