The Carolina Panthers started the process of signing their draft picks Monday when they finalized the rookie deals with second-round cornerback James Bradberry and seventh-round tight end Beau Sandland, the team announced Monday night.
Bradberry’s four-year deal is worth about $3.9 million, with a $1 million signing bonus, according to industry estimates. Sandland, taken with the penultimate pick in the draft, should make about $2.4 million over the course of his contract.
Getting draft picks under contract became a much easier process under the terms of the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, which effectively introduced a rookie wage scale based on each player’s draft slot.
The Panthers will hold a two-day rookie minicamp Friday and Saturday and it would not be surprising if their other three drafted rookies are signed by the end of the week.
Bradberry, the 62nd overall pick, was one of three corners the Panthers drafted in succession last month. The Alabama native began his career as a safety at Arkansas State before transferring to Samford, an FCS school in Birmingham where he became a three-time all-Southern Conference selection.
Bradberry, 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, was fixing his mom’s toilet on the second night of the draft when the Panthers called to tell him they were picking him. He racked up 128 tackles, eight interception and 27 pass breakups at Samford.
Bradberry will compete with fellow rookies Daryl Worley (third round) and Zack Sanchez (fifth round) for a spot in the Panthers’ secondary, which lost All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman in April when the team rescinded Norman’s franchise tag.
Sandland (6-4, 255) is a former Miami tight end who transferred to Montana State to get more playing time. Sandland was a FCS second-team All-American in 2015 after leading his team with 632 receiving yards and nine touchdowns on 37 catches.
Sandland said he was excited the Panthers took him with the 252nd pick because he didn’t want to go through all the hoopla of being the so-called “Mr. Irrelevant.” That honor went to Southern Miss corner Kalan Reed, who went to Tennessee one spot after Sandland was drafted.