The New Orléans Saints kicked the recent trend of waiting until the last-minute to sign their draft selections, inking four of their five picks to contracts Thursday evening.
With the team three-day rookie minicamp opening up this weekend, the Saints revealed the signings of their first-round pick Kenny Vaccaro, the teams third-round pick Terron Armstead, fifth-round pick Kenny Stills and sixth-round pick Rufus Johnson. Each of the deals are for four years.
The Saints finalized the signings of their drafts on Friday by agreeing to terms on a four-year deal with defensive tackle John Jenkins, the second of the Saints' two third-round picks.
Vacarro, the 15th pick overall out of Texas in last month's draft. He is the first first-round draft pick from the 2013 NFL Draft class in the league to sign a contract. The Safety out of Texas is an excellent tackler with a strong closing speed which head coach, Sean Payton loves .
Vacarro was one of the best all-around athletes at the position and has the game tape to prove that he is a legitimate NFL starter. Vaccaro, who ran a 4.63 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, could play either safety spot in the NFL. Vaccaro will give the Saints the much needed upgrade at the safety position . As a junior at Texas, Vaccaro emerged as a big-time prospect, posting 82 tackles, eight tackles for loss, two sacks, eight passes broken up and two interceptions.
Last year as a senior, Vaccaro had a career-high 107 stops, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. This was an intelligent and safe pick that fills a need.
The great thing for the Saints is the early signings almost certainly will guarantee the Saints won't have any holdouts for training camp.
In recent years, the Saints have been slow to reach contract agreements with their rookies. Although rookie contracts are commonly slotted, leaving few major negotiating points, the Saints and the players' representatives haven't moved too swiftly to reach a deal.
But the Saints, who were about $3.1 million under the NFL's salary cap before the signings, shouldn't have to worry about holdouts now.
Although financial terms of the deals weren't released, Vaccaro's contract is estimated to be worth $9,465,782 and include a $5,234,328 signing bonus, according tosportrac.com.
Meanwhile, the team's rookies reported to the franchise's Metairie training facility Thursday and will take part in a three-day camp starting Friday. Here is the full list of participants in the rookie camp.