NFL teams face stiff competition for undrafted rookies.
Teams are able to offer some financial incentives for free agents, including signing bonuses and guaranteed money. The St. Louis Rams used a $20,000 signing bonus and $30,000 in other guarantees to convince West Texas A&M defensive end Ethan Westbrooks to sign with them.
The Ravens, meanwhile, gave undrafted Virginia Tech defensive tackle Derrick Hopkins a $10,000 signing bonus -- the highest bonus negotiated this year for their class of undrafted free agent rookies.
The 6-foot, 321-pound tackle recorded 165 career tackles, 13 sacks, 25.5 tackles for losses, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He was a second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection as a senior.
The bonus isn't necessarily a predictor of future success. After all, former Ravens starting linebacker Bart Scott got a $500 signing bonus in 2002, future Kansas City Chiefs Pro Bowl running back Priest Holmes got a $2,000 signing bonus when he signed with the Ravens in 1997 and Pro Bowl kicker Justin Tucker had no signing bonus two years ago.
Here are the next-highest bonuses for the Ravens' undrafted rookie free agent class after Hopkins: North Carolina offensive tackle James Hurst ($9,000), Oklahoma State offensive tackle Parker Graham ($9,000), Middle Tennessee State cornerback Sammy Seamster ($8,000), Iowa offensive tackle Brett Van Sloten ($6,000), North Carolina A&T cornerback Deji Olatoye ($6,000), Texas A&M cornerback Tramain Jacobs ($4,500), Northern Colorado wide receiver Jace Davis ($4,000), Tennessee-Martin wide receiver Jeremy Butler ($4,000), Ashland defensive tackle Jamie Meder ($3,500), North Texas linebacker Zach Orr ($3,000), Oregon cornerback Avery Patterson ($3,000), Western Kentucky linebacker Xavius Boyd ($1,500) and Utah State defensive tackle A.J. Pataiali'i ($1,000).
There were no bonuses for Temple defensive tackle Levi Brown or Albany State safety Dexter Moody.
Texas Tech linebacker Terrance Bullitt agreed to a $5,500 signing bonus, but a shoulder issue scuttled his deal with the Ravens.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun