The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed five of their seven draft picks from the 2022 NFL draft. While concern over players being under contract before training camp in the NFL has gone by the wayside with the rookie salary scale established in the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement, it is still beneficial when all players on a team have put pen to paper. Although the concern by fans about Kenny Pickett and Calvin Austin III ultimately signing their deals is minimal, some do wonder why contracts have yet to be announced.
According to spotrac.com, There are 80 draft picks from the 2022 NFL draft who have yet to sign their contracts, or at least have those contracts reported to where Spotrac can publish the numbers. Some simple arithmetic shows that the average for the 32 NFL teams would be 2.5 unsigned draft picks at this time.
Of course, there are teams on both ends of the spectrum when it comes to the number of players remaining. The four teams who have all of their 2022 draft picks under contract the Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts, and Jacksonville Jaguars. At the bottom of the list, neither the Los Angeles Rams or San Francisco 49ers have signed any of their draft picks. Other teams such as the Baltimore Ravens who had a plethora of draft picks, have only signed the two of their 11 selections. For the Steelers to only have two players left to get under contract, they are in fairly good shape compared to the rest of the league.
Where things may be a little concerning, if there were a reason to be concerned, is the fact that there are only five unsigned draft picks who were selected in the first round. The Steelers have yet to get 20th overall selection Kenny Pickett under contract while 27 other selections have already linked their deals. Of the five players in the first round not under contract, two were selected by the Baltimore Ravens in 14th overall pick in Kyle Hamilton and 25th selection Tyler Linderbaum. The other two selections from the first round who are not under contract are Seattle Seahawks ninth overall pick Charles Cross and New England Patriots 29th overall pick Cole Strange.
Where the Steelers are doing well is in the second round where only 11 players have signed their rookie deals, which includes Steelers wide receiver George Pickens. While the second round has 21 unsigned draftees so far, they are not the most of all the selections.
Where the most amount of unsigned players from the 2022 NFL draft falls is in the fourth round where only five of the 38 players have signed a rookie deal. With 33 players from Round 4 yet to sign, it’s not surprising that Calvin Austin III has yet to do so with the Steelers. Although the basic structures of rookie deals are set based on their draft position, there is some leeway and often times players don’t want to sign a deal which ultimately ends up being worse than someone selected after them. For this reason, when there is a group of unsigned players from a recent draft class, they are often clustered together as various things get worked out.
When it comes to the final three rounds of the 2022 NFL draft, there is only a total of 11 unsigned players from rounds five through seven. With 119 total players drafted in those three rounds, it’s an overwhelming majority who are under contract. As for the specific breakdown, there are only two unsigned players from Round 5, five unsigned players from Round 6, and four unsigned players from Round 7. Much like the majority the NFL, the Steelers have all three of their selections from rounds six and seven under contract.
Although there should be a little concern about the issue, it is interesting to see how many players from the 2022 NFL draft who have not signed their contracts at this time. With teams conducting OTAs and mandatory minicamp before taking some time off prior to training camps kicking off in late July, I expect there to be even more rookie signings announced across the NFL in the next three weeks. Just to tie up all the loose ends, hopefully the Pittsburgh Steelers will end up on the list of teams that have all their picks under contract much sooner than later.