The Detroit Lions announced on Thursday that they have signed second-round pick Sam LaPorta. The rookie tight end becomes the sixth Lions draft pick under contract, with just two—first-round pick Jahmyr Gibbs and second-round pick Brian Branch—remaining unsigned.
LaPorta’s signing is notable because the NFL is currently undergoing some extra negotiations with second-round picks. While the newest CBA has made most rookie signings a formality, this year, second-round picks, in particular, have been pushing for more guarantees in their contracts that have become the norm for top-20 draft picks.
This was all expedited by the historic deal that Seahawks second-round pick Derick Hall (Pick 37) signed just a few weeks ago:
As the NFLPA pushes for guarantees for 2nd-round picks, Seattle’s @derick_hall9 just signed his rookie contract, which will pay a whopping 85% of his signing bonus before training camp plus a $100K guarantee in year 4 — both firsts for a 2nd-rounder. Negotiated by @NSAFootball— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 6, 2023
The details of LaPorta’s contract are out now, and it appears he, too, has set new precedents for second-round rookie contracts:
LaPorta, the 34th overall pick, appears to have gotten 20% of his fourth year guaranteed, this is more than any 2nd rounder last year by a good margin . Avila at pick 36 got 10% of yr 4 guaranteed. Mayer had signed at pick 35 but no details yet, probably 15ish% of yr 4 guaranteed https://t.co/ZVQLqRCxKI— Daniel Salib (@salibdaniel1) June 15, 2023
That said, there are still plenty of second-round picks—including Branch—who have yet to sign their rookie contracts. Per Spotrac’s draft tracker, as of Thursday, only 12 other second-round picks have signed their rookie deals.
LaPorta was a standout at Lions OTAs and minicamp over the spring, and he’ll enter training camp with high expectations.
“He’s right where he needs to be,” tight ends coach Steve Heiden said this week. “He’s doing a good job, every day. We’re trying to implement the things that we’re teaching, within the gameplan and the scheme, so he’s right where he needs to be.”
We’ll be sure to provide updates if and when Gibbs and Branch sign their rookie deals.