News: Rookies Rake In Bonuses -

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    Lord Sun New Member

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    Rookies Rake In Bonuses

    Nick Eatman Staff Writer
    May 12, 2004, 5:55 p.m. (CDT)

    IRVING, Texas - There seems to be this general assumption the NFL draft ends once the final team makes its pick.

    However, as soon as "Mr. Irrelevant" is drafted, that is usually when the "second draft" begins, with teams now turning into recruiters, trying to sign anywhere from 10 to 20 rookie free agents.

    The Cowboys were no different this season, adding a dozen undrafted free agents. And like every business acquisition, it usually comes down to money for players to decide where they will sign.

    The Cowboys last year dished out the largest signing bonus to any of the league's rookie free agents, giving Bowie State defensive end Charles Alston $25,000 up front.

    But this year, the Cowboys have spread out the bonuses more evenly, doling out a total of $132,500 to sign 12 players. Each player received a three-year contract worth the league minimum base salaries of $230,000 this year, $305,000 for next year and $385,000 if there even is a third year.

    Duke linebacker Ryan Fowler received the largest signing bonus, getting $20,000, while Pittsburgh fullback Lousaka Polite collected $17,500 and Arkansas safety Tom Crowder picked up $15,000.

    Five more players received bonuses of $10,000 or more, including Notre Dame defensive tackle Cedric Hilliard, one of the local rookies who attended the "Dallas Day" workout two weeks before the draft. The Cowboys invited nearly 20 players who either played high school or college football in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

    Hilliard, who grew up in nearby Arlington, Texas, received a $12,000 signing bonus.

    But the big bonus money doesn't always translate into instant success.

    In 2000, the Cowboys gave LSU guard Alcender Jackson a $30,000 signing bonus. Jackson played just two seasons as a reserve lineman and was released.

    The following year, Javiar Collins received $30,000 to sign. The Northwestern defensive tackle made the switch to offensive tackle, but has played just nine games in three years, and was inactive for all 16 games last year.

    As for Alston, who was released at the end of training camp, and later picked up by the Falcons, he is currently playing for the Amsterdam in NFL Europe. Alston also signed a three-year deal last year, meaning he still counts $16,667 on the Cowboys' cap this season.

    The Cowboys normally do not sign their drafts picks until a week or two before the start of training camp.

    Here is a look at how much all 12 rookie free agents received this season:

    Rookie Signing Bonuses

    Name (Pos, College) Bonus
    Ryan Fowler (LB, Duke) $20,000
    Lousaka Polite (FB, Pittsburgh) $17,500
    Tom Crowder (S, Arkansas) $50,000
    Darrell Lee (DE, Florida) $12,500
    Cedric Hilliard (DT, Notre Dame) $12,000
    James Newson (WR, Oregon St.) $12,000
    Terrance Copper (WR, East Carolina) $10,000
    Darrick Sanders (G, Ark-Monticello) $10,000
    Steve Cargile (S, Columbia) $7,500
    Brandon Middleton (WR, Houston) $6,000
    Kevin Emanuel (DE, FSU) $5,000
    Kalen Thornton (LB, Texas) $5,000

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