For the rookies, training camp has already begun. The pre-camp warmup started Monday and wrapped up today which means technically, Raiders first round pick Gareon Conley is now four days behind as he has yet to sign his rookie deal and thus cannot participate.
Raiders second round rookie, Obi Melifonwu, signed his rookie deal on Wednesday, so he made it for the final day of pre-camp warmups. He was the lowest drafted rookie who had not signed his contract yet. Now Conley is the lowest drafted at 24th overall.
Conley is one of just three drafted rookies who has yet to sign his deal. The others are third overall pick Solomon Thomas (49ers) and 5th overall pick Corey Davis (Titans).
At this point you have to wonder if this has something to do with the sexual assault allegations against him. He has yet to be officially charged with a crime, but you wonder — and I’m purely pontificating here — if due to the circumstances the Raiders would like there to be some language in the contract which protects them in case charges are filed and this case moves forward.
That certainly wouldn’t explain why it took so long to get Melifonwu’s deal done. Reggie McKenzie is known for trying to arrange contracts not to have a lot of dead money on the back end, so perhaps that’s what’s hold things up.
Melifonwu’s deal is expected to be worth around $4.5 million over 4 years, while Conley’s would be about $10.5 million with a 5th year option. Conley’s deal is roughly a third of what the 3rd and 5th overall picks will receive, so his deal shouldn’t be all that complicated.
Earlier this week, Jack Del Rio said Tuesday in an interview on 95.7 The Game that he expected Conley’s deal to be signed soon.
“The structures in place now," Del Rio said of the rookie contracts. "We expect these things to get resolved shortly and they'll be in getting their work in.”
That was just before Melifonwu signed his deal. It’s important to note that “shortly” doesn’t mean in time for the official start of camp on Saturday.
Interesting to note is with the release of Taiwan Jones Thursday, when Conley does arrive, he can take the number 22. Up to this point he has been wearing number 2, which defensive backs are not allowed to wear, so it was inevitable he would change numbers.