First-round pick Deone Bucannon flashes a smile and shakes the hand of team president Michael Bidwill after Bucannon signed his first NFL contract Thursday.
Deone Bucannon has already spent several weeks with the Cardinals after getting drafted in the first round last month, and worked plenty on the practice field.
It didn't mean he still didn't want to get his first NFL contract out of the way.
"Money was never a big thing to me," Bucannon said Thursday, after signing a four-year deal. "That's just the person I am. Honestly, I just want to play football, and my agent understands that, my family understands that. And (signing) kind of reflects it, being able to get the contract done so soon. It's just one less thing that's on the mind of my agent or my parents, because it really wasn't on my mind. I knew we were going to get it done sooner or later and I was going to play
Like every NFL team, the Cardinals have gone through arduous negotiations with first-round draft picks in the past. Not this year. Bucannon's contract, reportedly around $7.7 million, includes a signing bonus of around $3.9 million. The current collective bargaining agreement has slotted salaries for draft picks, which makes coming to an agreement much easier, although guaranteed money can sometimes be a sticking point.
Last year, the Cardinals weren't able to sign first-round pick Jonathan Cooper until training camp because of disagreements on offset language. There were no sticking points this time with Bucannon.
With Bucannon now in the fold, all seven of the Cardinals' draft picks are signed. The Washington State product said it was a "dream come true" to put his name on an NFL contract, and said he's excited to officially be a Cardinal.
"I've always wanted to be here from the start," he said. "I just want to come in here, like I've always said, I want to earn the respect of my teammates and coaches. I want to come in here and I want to play hard."
That goal is delayed slightly right now, as Bucannon sat out of Thursday's OTA with the turf toe injury he has been dealing with since rookie mini-camp in late May. He said the trainers are being cautious with him to make sure he is fully healthy, and that there is currently no timetable to return.
However, Bucannon expects to be on the field again soon because he doesn't want to miss crucial practice time.
"I can't sacrifice that many reps," he said. "I want to get in there and be able to understand the defense. I understand it now, but there's always room for improvement."