The process of recruiting undrafted free agents can be a tricky one. Even before the draft officially comes to a close, teams are busy recruiting potential UDFA signings. Signing bonuses, wide-open depth charts with the promise of a real chance to make the 53-man roster and even brochures are used as recruiting tactics, and this can lead to a lot of chaotic moments with so many important decisions being made so suddenly.
One of the classic examples of this chaos is the inevitable news of a player signing with one team before he actually signs elsewhere. The Detroit Lions got to experience this firsthand this year with South Florida linebacker DeDe Lattimore. At one point on Saturday night, he planned on signing with the Lions.
USF linebacker DeDe Lattimore says he has signed as an undrafted free agent with the Detroit Lions. Reports for rookie minicamp Thursday ...— Greg Auman (@gregauman) May 11, 2014
Despite saying he signed with the Lions, Lattimore actually signed with the Chicago Bears about 40 minutes later.
USF linebacker DeDe Lattimore says he isn't signing with Lions and has accepted a better offer to sign as undrafted rookie with Bears.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) May 11, 2014
In this particular case, a better offer could mean that the Bears gave him a bigger signing bonus, or it could mean that he simply didn't like the logjam of linebackers on the Lions' depth chart. Regardless, this is just another sign of how fluid things are with undrafted free agents. Players will often accept one deal before taking another, and teams will often make multiple offers for only one spot. This leads to a lot of chaos, and as Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio wrote on Sunday, it leads to a process that really needs to change.