KUSA—If money is an indicator – and isn’t it always? – then safeties Jamal Carter and Orion Stewart and defensive tackle Tyrique Jarrett have the strongest chance among this year’s crop of undrafted rookies to make the Denver Broncos’ season-opening roster.
Carter, a safety from the University of Miami, received a $10,000 signing bonus, plus another $10,000 of his 2017 base salary guaranteed.
The $20,000 is the largest guarantee the Broncos have given to an undrafted rookie in years. The rookie minimum salary this season is $465,000.
Carter has ideal safety qualities: 6-foot-1, 218 pounds and runs the 40 in 4.6 seconds. But he wasn’t drafted so he must prove he can play.
Stewart, a safety from Baylor, received a $12,500 signing bonus. That would have been the largest signing bonus among undrafted Broncos since returner Isaiah Burse got $12,500 in 2014.
One more undrafted player to keep an eye on: Jarrett. The 6-3, 335-pound Pitt defensive tackle received a $10,000 signing bonus.
By and large, undrafted rookies who get a signing bonus of $10,000-plus at least make the Broncos’ practice squad if not their 53-man roster.
There are longshot exceptions who make it. Chris Harris Jr., the second best undrafted player in Broncos history after Rod Smith, received a mere $2,000 signing bonus in 2011. The cornerback Harris is now making $7.5 million this year as part of a five-year, $43 million contract extension.
The Broncos have had an undrafted rookie make their opening, 53-man roster in 12 of their previous 13 seasons. Defensive lineman Kyle Peko was the undrafted roster rookie last season.
The 2017 undrafted rookie Broncos with their signing bonuses:
Jamal Carter, safety, Miami, $20,000 ($10,000 in salary)
Orion Stewart, safety, Baylor $12,500
Tyrique Jarrett, defensive tackle, Pitt, $10,000
Jerrol Garcia-Williams, inside linebacker, Hawaii, $8,000
Cameron Hunt, offensive tackle, Oregon, $7,500
Deon Hollins, outside linebacker, UCLA, $7,000
Erik Austell, offensive tackle, Charleston Southern, $5,000
Dante Barnett, safety, Kansas State, $5,000
Anthony Nash, receiver, Duke, $5,000
Ken Ekanem, inside linebacker, Virginia Tech, $5,000
Josh Banderas, inside linebacker, Nebraska, $4,000
Dymonte Thomas, safety, Michigan, $4,000
Marcus Rios, cornerback, UCLA, $3,000
Kyle Sloter, QB, Northern Colorado, $3,000
Shakir Soto, defensive tackle, Pitt, $2,500
Dontrell Nelson, cornerback, Memphis, $2,000