Packers sign six draft picks to deals, add 11 undrafted free agents
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers entered their rookie orientation camp with only two signings to go Friday after inking six of their eight draft picks and 11 undrafted free agents.
First-round picks Rashan Gary (No. 12) and Darnell Savage (No. 21) both finished deals with the club, making them two of the first players in their round to complete contract agreements. Savage is believed to have been the first when he agreed to terms Thursday, and it’s likely Gary’s deal was done at the same time or a short time later.
The Packers also signed fifth-round defensive lineman Kingsley Keke, cornerback Ka'Dar Hollman and running back Dexter Williams (both sixth-round picks) and seventh-round linebacker Ty Summers. The club announced all the signings.
Still unsigned are second-round offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins and third-round tight end Jace Sternberger. Both can sign insurance waivers so they can take part in the camp, and it’s likely their deals will be completed well before training camp starts.
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Rookie holdouts are rare because of the rookie wage scale that places a salary-cap figure on every spot in the draft, giving both sides parameters of the deal’s total worth. Often, the only debate is over how the guaranteed money is paid, but the Packers typically like to pay as much as possible in signing bonus, which is preferable to the player.
Both Gary and Savage were required to sign four-year deals with a fifth-year club option. After the player’s third year, the team must declare in May of that off-season whether it intends to execute the option. The player receives a fifth-year salary based on where he was drafted and the average of the highest-paid players at his position.
The Packers officially executed the fifth-year option on nose tackle Kenny Clark this week, guaranteeing him a salary of more than $7 million in 2020. He remains bound to the terms of the fourth year of his deal this season.
Players in Rounds 2-7 are required to sign four-year deals.
The Packers also announced the signing of 11 undrafted free agents. JSOnline and PackersNews had reported on the agreements, but there were two changes.
North Texas cornerback Nate Brooks, who had agreed to terms on a deal, signed with the Arizona Cardinals. It’s likely the Packers had a concern about an injury and decided against signing Brooks.
To fill his spot, the Packers signed West Chester cornerback Nydair Rouse. The 5-10½, 188-pound corner ran a 4.44-second 40-yard dash at his pro day. He had a 34½-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot broad jump and benched 225 pounds eight times.
He played corner his first three seasons but moved to a hybrid linebacker/defensive back position. He only played in eight games last season and finished with 14 tackles, six pass break-ups and two interceptions.
Here is a list of the other undrafted free agents who signed:
- Randy Ramsey, DL, Arkansas: 6-3, 238, 4.78, 30, 24. Played in 39 games with 22 starts. He totaled eight sacks in four seasons. Will be used as an outside linebacker in the pros.
- Greg Roberts, DE, Baylor: 6-5, 258, 4.72, 34½, 23. Played in 42 games with 26 starts in three seasons. Had 81 tackles, 15½ for loss, and three sacks, all during his senior season. He played defensive end but could wind up being an outside linebacker in the NFL. Signed three-year rookie deal.
- Javien Hamilton, DB, Mississippi: 5-10, 184, 4.5, 39, 13. Joined Ole Miss after two years in junior college and made four starts as a junior and four as a senior. Had 38 tackles and three interceptions. Signed three-year rookie deal.
- Yousauh Nijman, OT, Virginia Tech: 6-6½, 314, 4.89, 30½, 27. Started out as a defensive end, then moved to tackle. Became the starting left tackle his sophomore season. Missed five games in ’17 due to a leg injury and two games in ’18 due to undisclosed injuries.
- K.B. Ento, WR, Colorado: 6-1½, 187, 4.52, 41½, 11. Played two seasons at East Central (Mississippi) Community College where he caught 59 passes for 885 yards (15.0 average) and 10 touchdowns. Caught eight passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns as a junior, redshirted the next season so he could build up his body and caught 12 passes for 161 yards as a senior. Will attempt to make team as a cornerback.
- Curtis Bolton, ILB, Oklahoma: 6-0, 228, 4.58, 38, 17. He played mostly as a reserve early on, playing in just three games as a sophomore and eight as a junior due to an ankle injury. But he became a starter last year and had 142 tackles, including 12 for loss and 4½ sacks. Signed three-year rookie deal.
- Matt Eaton, WR, Iowa State: 6-4, 209, 4.64 34, 10. Started out at Temple, but after two years transferred to a JC and then played two seasons for the Cyclones. He caught 48 passes for 512 yards and six touchdowns.
- Davis Koppenhaver, TE, Duke: 6-3½, 245, 4.89, 32, 14. Played 41 games but only started one. Caught 49 passes for 431 yards (8.80) and 12 touchdowns, the latter a career record by a tight end at Duke.
- Larry Williams, OL, Oklahoma State: 6-4, 322, 5.35, 25, 25. Junior college transfer who started out at East Carolina. Injuries ended both of his seasons and he finished playing in just eight games, all of them starts. Williams was granted a sixth year of eligibility last season because of the injuries he suffered in 2017.
- Manny Wilkins, QB, Arizona State: 6-2, 193, 4.7: A fifth-year senior last season, Wilkins completed 247 of 393 passes (62.8 percent) for 3,025 yards, 20 touchdowns and six interceptions. Over a three-year period, he started 28 games. At 6-2 and 193 pounds, he doesn’t have a big build, but the Packers may have liked the fact he ran a solid 4.7-second 40-yard dash.