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Clausen and Tate sign rookie contracts

Jul 28, 2010, 1:09 PM EDT

News broke today that both Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate have agreed to terms on their rookie contracts and will be in their respective training camps on time.

Clausen’s contract was a four-year deal with $2.53 million in guarantees that could top out at $6.3 million, a somewhat startling number for the 48th pick in the draft. Even more unique, as PFT’s Mike Florio points out, is the fourth-year escalator put into Clausen’s contract, a rarity for a second-round draft pick, giving Jimmy the chance to earn $2.85 million in 2013 alone. Credit Clausen’s agent Gary Wichard for getting a rare boost in the final year of the contract and the Panthers for realizing that not all 48th picks are created equal.

Meanwhile, Tate’s signing with Seattle was much more in line with his slot in the second round. The National Football Post reports that the Biletnikoff winner’s deal was a four-year, $3.261 million deal with $1.471 million guaranteed. To put Tate’s contract in perspective, the Browns signed the 59th pick, Tennessee running back Montario Hardesty, to a four-year $3.372 million deal with $1.572 million guaranteed and the Jets signed UMass tackle Vladimir Ducasse to a four-year $3.225 million deal with $1.435 million guaranteed as the 61st pick. Both Tate’s contract and guaranteed money slide right into place.

While a work stoppage in the NFL and a change to the rookie salary structure is the ultimate wild card, you can’t help but wonder if both Clausen and Tate hurt their causes financially by leaving Notre Dame after three seasons.

(The obvious answer right now is: ABSOLUTELY.)

I don’t think even the biggest skeptic on either Clausen or Tate saw them falling to 48th and 60th in the draft, especially after Golden ran a lightning fast 40-yard-dash, but that leaves Irish fans to imagine what the Notre Dame offense would look like with potentially four preseason first-team All-Americans lining up with Tate, Clausen, Rudolph and Floyd.

Another unfriendly reminder of what could have been…

  1. Randy Allison - Jul 28, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    It appeared at the time that they were both strongly encouraged by former head coach Weis to enter the draft. For all his supposed expertise and connections with the NFL this seems to be another misguided evaluation on his part and one that hurts the Irish team for this coming season. The gift that keeps on giving.

  2. Captain Obvious - Jul 28, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    Hindsight is 20/20. They made the exact right decision at the time they made it. A new coach was coming in, their stock would never be higher, and a rookie salary cap was looming.
    Best of luck to both of them. They played their butts off and did ND proud while they were here.

  3. Dick Murata - Jul 28, 2010 at 10:29 PM

    Agree 100% with Randy Allison….both were misguided by Weiss. I can only dream how the Irish would be had they stayed in school.

  4. TLNDMA - Jul 29, 2010 at 8:30 AM

    I have a hard time blaming Charlie for this one. These kids were allowed to talk to NFL people, to find out where they stood. That they both slipped a little can’t be put on Charlie. Tebow before Clausen? Before the draft who saw that coming? Tate’s size and concerns about his route running hurt him.
    Though he would be nice to still have, Clausen is not the typical Kelly QB. His running ability leaves a little to be desired. Tate, if he had stuck around, would be in NY in december, to pick up his Heisman.

  5. BryanW - Jul 29, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    A year running the spread would have done little to improve Clausen’s stock. At best, it would have calmed down the character concerns, but I doubt that. Most of the negativity surrounding Clausen was based on his announcement at the HOF when he was in high school. If he couldn’t shake that image in 3 years, who’s to say 4 would have been enough?
    Golden would have come back and been the #2 WR. Floyd is an NFL ready physical specimen who would have won the Biletnikoff himself if he had been healthy. Tate is a phenomenal athlete, but he is undersized and is an average route runner. That’s why he dropped to the 2nd round. Receiving routes in the spread are based on pushing the defensive backs away from the play rather than beating them with quick changes of direction and body position. Golden would have been excellent in it, but the route running issues wouldn’t have been improved.
    In the end, though, none of this matters. There is going to be a rookie salary cap for next year’s class that will pay incoming players like the unproven gambles that they are. They had to leave.

  6. BrianM - Jul 29, 2010 at 2:05 PM

    I agree with Captain Obvious. Not only that, but even in retrospect I think they made the right choice. A multi-million-dollar contract is nothing to sneeze at, and for every chance they might have had to increase their earning, they’d also take another risk at a career-ending injury or a stock-torpedoing performance. Not only that, but as BryanW mentions, with the rookie salary cap coming into play next year, the notion that they might have made more money by sticking around another year is foolishly optimistic, at best.

  7. borromini - Jul 29, 2010 at 2:22 PM

    Silly…just silly to be blaming Charlie on this. Others have posted the reasons. Clausen definitely made the right move. Tate is the only one that had potential benefits to staying, but we’ll find out next season when we’ll know if a rookie salary cap gets implemented.

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