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Dareus in line for about $22M

Buffalo Bills first-round draft pick Marcell Dareus figures to score a contract worth about $22 million over the first four years under the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement in the NFL. The labor deal has a new rookie wage scale. First-overall pick Cam Newton of Carolina would be in line for $22.03 million over the first four years, according to a summary of the rookie scale outlined by the league. We presume the third pick would get about that much. The clubs will have the option to retain first-round draft picks for a fifth year. That option must be exercised after the third year of the contract. For a top-10 pick, the option year would be worth the amount of the "transition label" tender for that fourth year of the contract. That means it's worth the average of the top 10 paid players at his position. Defensive tackle and defensive end have roughly the same transition tender for the coming year, about $10 million. Figuring in 5 percent increases per year, Dareus' fifth year would be worth about $11.4 million. So that's about $33.4 million over five years. Not too shabby. Last year's third overall pick, Gerald McCoy of Tampa, signed a deal that was worth $55 million over the first five years. Of course, if Dareus plays like the Bills hope, that fifth-year tender offer won't matter. They'll be re-signing him to a bigger contract extension. But that's way down the road. Let's let Dareus have a strong rookie year before worrying about his five-year value.

---Mark Gaughan

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