FRISCO, Texas – Before they began their rookie minicamp, the Cowboys got some rookie business out of the way – in a hurry.
The team's nine rookie draft picks arrived at The Star for the first time on Thursday afternoon. When they hit the practice field for the first time on Friday, eight of them will already be under contract.
Those contracts won't hit the transactions wire until later on Friday, but it's quite remarkable that eight of nine picks will have signed their rookie deals before taking the field for the first time.
Rookie negotiations haven't been too dramatic since the NFL's most recent CBA was enacted in 2011, but there is typically still some level of negotiation. Last year's first-round draft pick, Ezekiel Elliott, didn't sign his rookie contract until May 18. In 2015, Byron Jones didn't sign on until June 11.
It used to be commonplace to see the front office work backward, signing late-round picks in the days following the NFL draft and working toward the front.
This year, it was first-round pick Taco Charlton who got the ball rolling, agreeing to his four-year deal quickly upon arriving to the team's facility. The terms of the contract aren't yet available, but the contract slotting determined by the CBA makes it fairly easy to guess.
Last year's 28th overall pick, San Francisco guard Joshua Garnett, signed a $9.3 million contract with $7 million in guarantees and a $4 million signing bonus.
Behind Charlton, the Cowboys also signed cornerback Chidobe Awuzie, wide receiver Ryan Switzer, safety Xavier Woods, cornerback Marquez White, wide receiver Noah Brown and defensive linemen Joey Ivie and Jordan Carrell.
Again, the terms of those deals aren't public knowledge, but last year's draft reveals a likely ballpark figure. Last year's 60th overall pick, New England corner Cyrus Jones, signed a four-year, $4 million contract with a $1.1 million signing bonus.
Switzer was drafted No. 133 overall. The guy taken in that slot last year, San Francisco cornerback Rashard Robinson, signed a four-year, $2.7 million contract with a $383,000 signing bonus.
Cornerback Jourdan Lewis, drafted in the third round out of Michigan, remains the lone unsigned draft pick -- though it's worth noting that he isn't unique in that regard. Quirks of the negotiation process make third-round picks harder to sign than most, and only two third-round picks across the NFL have signed contracts so far this year.
Last year's third-round pick, defensive tackle Maliek Collins, didn't sign his contract until July 14 – roughly a month after every other pick.
In the meantime, the flurry of front office activity will leave the Cowboys' newest prospects free to focus on their first weekend at work. Rookie activities began Thursday with check-ins and physicals, but the real work starts Friday, with all of the team's newcomers going through walkthroughs, practices and meetings over the next three days.