On Tuesday, the Chicago Bears announced the signing of third round safety Brandon Hardin, becoming the seventh club to sign their entire 2012 Draft Class. The new collective bargaining agreement has made the process of signing picks much easier, but even under old agreement, the Bears were routinely one of the first teams to sign their draft picks.
In 2006, the Bears had their entire draft class signed by July 4. The following year, seven of the team's nine picks were signed before Memorial Day and 11 of their 12 picks in 2008 had signed contracts by July 7 -- weeks in advance of training camp.
Operating without a first- or second-round pick allowed the Bears to sign their 2009 draft class by June 10, 2009 and 2010 draftees by May 28, 2010, though the club later added and signed a Supplemental Draft choice (Harvey Unga) before opening training camp in 2010.
They weren't the first team to secure all of their picks -- the New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, San Diego Chargers, Baltimore Ravens and Carolina Panthers beat them to the punch -- but the Bears were the first team to agree to terms with a 2012 draft choice, reaching agreement with second-round wide receiver Alshon Jeffery on a four-year contract just five days after his selection. Jeffery was followed by Greg McCoy, Evan Rodriguez, and Isaiah Frey.
Last Friday, the Bears reached agreement with Shea McClellin, the No. 19-overall pick in the 2012 draft.
According to a source with knowledge of McClellin's contract details, the former Boise State standout received a signing bonus of $4,449,744. Along with a base salary of $390,000, McClellin's 2012 cap charge is $1,502,436. McClellin has fully guaranteed base salaries of $765,609 in 2013, $1,141,218 in 2014 and $775,600 in 2015 to bring his total guarantee to $7.522 million.
A $741,227 roster bonus in 2015 brings the total value of McClellin's contract to $8.263 million, a slight increase over the $8.18 million that New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara received as the 19th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Financial terms of Hardin's contract have not been released, but each of the Bears draft choices has received a signing bonus that matched the amount allotted to his draft slot. Following that trend, Hardin's signing bonus would be $591,376.