July 26, 2017 - 3:10 pm
Updated July 26, 2017 - 3:16 pm
OAKLAND, Calif. — It took longer than it should have, but it’s done now.
Obi Melifonwu is officially under contract.
The Raiders signed their second-round pick Wednesday, putting an end to a negotiation that cost the rookie safety a couple practices this week. Melifonwu was the NFL’s only draft selection after the first round to remain unsigned. His signature leaves cornerback Gareon Conley, the team’s first-round pick, as the last member of the nine-man draft class who has yet to agree to terms.
Disagreement over contract language is what held up Melifonwu’s four-year, $4.5 million deal. For further context, the ex-Connecticut standout switched agents after the draft, leaving the Raiders to work with his new representative, Sean Stellato of SES Sports, for a good portion of the negotiation.
It is fairly unusual for a drafted rookie to switch representatives before signing his contract. Agents generally invest thousands of dollars to train a client for his NFL Scouting Combine and pro day appearances. Hours and additional dollars are devoted toward his recruitment and handling. Agents do not see a return on such pre-draft investments until their client is secured and signs his first NFL deal. And even then, some agents come up short.
Raiders rookies reported Monday to Napa, California. Veterans are due Friday. The first full-squad practice is Saturday.
Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.