Paye is first to ink a contract
The NFL Draft is in the rearview mirror, and the 2022 schedule release is on the horizon. That gives NFL fans a little bit of a breather this week, but the organizations are still working hard behind the scenes to get draft picks signed.
The first player to sign a contract out of the first rounds is Indianapolis Colts defensive end Kwity Paye. The Colts announced five player signings from the draft on Thursday, and the former Michigan star is the first rookie first-rounder under contract.
As the 21st overall selection, Paye will account for $2.4 million of the Colts salary cap this season.
Rookie of the Year Odds
With the draft complete, oddsmakers have set the lines for the 2021 Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year. Those odds could change slightly next week as schedules are revealed but shouldn’t have too much of an impact since opponents are already known.
It is no surprise that quarterbacks take the top four spots for Offensive Rookie of the Year and five of the top six spots.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence is the favorite at +300. The top selection is expected to be under center very early on, if not immediately for Urban Meyer. The other quarterbacks on the roster are Gardner Minshew, CJ Beathard, and Jake Luton, providing no real competition to Lawrence starting in 17 games in 2021.
Chicago traded up to get Justin Fields from Ohio State, and while he may not start from day one, Fields is +600 to win Rookie of the Year. The Bears have veterans Andy Dalton and Nick Foles on the roster, so when Fields gets on the gridiron is the biggest question.
San Francisco took Trey Lance from North Dakota State with the third overall pick, and he is +600 as well. Lance will presumably start the season on the sidelines as the backup to Jimmy Garoppolo. But if history is any indication, Garoppolo has a tendency to get hurt which gives Lance ample opportunity to play.
The New York Jets will very likely call on Zach Wilson from day one to be their 2021 quarterback. The former BYU star is +700 to win the ROY. After trading Sam Darnold to Carolina, the Jets have just James Morgan and Mike White on the roster at quarterback, clearing the way for Wilson to start opening week.
The only non quarterback in the top five of the odds is Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris at +1000. Harris was a monster at Alabama and should be durable to rack up carries with the Steelers moving on from James Conner.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
The top two defensive players off the board last week were cornerbacks, but neither are among the top five in odds for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
The favorite is Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons at +400. The 12th overall selection out of Penn State, Parsons will take over for retired Sean Lee as Dallas looks to rebuild their defense.
Defensive end Jaelan Phillips of the Miami Dolphins is second at +700. The 18th overall selection was a Chuck Bednarik Award finalist at the University of Miami in 2020 with eight sacks.
Linebacker Jamin Davis is +900 after being drafted by the Washington Football Team with the 19th pick. Davis led the Kentucky Wildcats in tackles last season and now plays alongside 2020 NFL DROY Chase Young.
The aforementioned Paye is +1000, along with Zaven Collins of the Arizona Cardinals. Collins was the 16th pick of the draft after winning the Bednarik Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy at the University of Tulsa.