The Washington Commanders weren’t active in free agency, so they’ll need their 2022 draft class to contribute heavily as rookies. That puts a ton of pressures who don’t have NFL experience, but explains why the front office targeted older prospects who played multiple years in college.
Look no further than the Commanders’ first three picks. Jahan Dotson played four years at Penn State, Phidarian Mathis was a starter for two seasons at Alabama and Brian Robinson Jr. played in Tuscaloosa for a whopping five years.
With Washington in need of its rookies to perform in Year 1, it would behoove the team to get these players signed before training camp. No sense having that big of a distraction hanging over their heads during the three-week camp.
On Tuesday, the Commanders did just that after they signed Mathis and fourth-rounder Percy Butler to their rookie contracts.
The Commanders have signed their entire 2022 draft class after Phidarian Mathis and Percy Butler signed on Monday.
This might not seem like a huge deal on the surface, but several teams around the league are still putting the finishing touches on signing their draft classes. The Patriots, for example, have yet to sign first-round OL Cole Strange, second-round wideout Tyquan Thornton and fourth-round quarterback Bailey Zappe.
The Commanders, meanwhile, had Dotson and Robinson signed by May 18. Two weeks earlier, QB Sam Howell (fifth round), tight end Cole Turner (fifth), OL Chris Paul (seventh) and cornerback Christian Holmes (seventh) all put pen to paper.
Of course, rookie salaries are pre-determined by the rookie wage scale. As a second-round selection (No. 54 overall), Mathis signed a four-year, $7.5 million deal that includes a $2.639 million signing bonus.
The DT had to wait his turn at Alabama, but burst onto the scene in 2021 with 53 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks. Viewed as the heir apparent to Daron Payne, who’s entering the final year of his rookie deal, Mathis is expected to have a huge role as a rookie following the departures of Matt Ioannidis and Tim Settle.
As a fourth-round pick, Butler inked a four-year, $4.449 million contract with the Commanders, including a $789,016 signing bonus.
The Louisiana Lafayette product tallied 61 tackles, six tackles for loss and a blocked kick during his final season. A projected immediate contributor on special teams, Butler will compete with Darrick Forrest for snaps behind safeties Kam Curl and Bobby McCain. He could even be in contention for the Buffalo nickel role.
It’s great to see Mathis and Butler get signed. Now the entirety of the 2022 class can enjoy summer break before training camp. Let’s hope Terry McLaurin follows Washington’s rookies in the contract department in the near future.