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The Eagles won a bidding war for undrafted Stony Brook offensive lineman Michael Bamiro by guaranteeing nearly a quarter of a million dollars of his base salaries over the next two years, according to a source familiar with the details of his contract.
The unusual journey of the 6-foot-8, 338-pound Bamiro started in Pittsburgh, continued in Stony Brook, N.Y., and led to Philly on Tuesday, when the Eagles agreed to terms of a three-year contract with the massive 22-year-old offensive tackle.
They officially signed him on Wednesday, and it turns out that his contract, negotiated by agent Tony Agnone, is quite unusual for an undrafted rookie.
Bamiro’s deal is worth $1,486,170, which isn’t the unusual part. That’s minimum wage for rookies over the next three years. What is unusual is the amount that’s guaranteed.
Bamiro’s minimum-wage base salaries are $405,000 in 2013, $495,000 in 2014 and $585,000 in 2015, but $140,000 of the first year’s salary is guaranteed, and $107,100 of the second year is guaranteed, for a total of $247,100 in guaranteed base salary in the first two years of the contract.
Even if the Eagles cut Bamiro today, the undrafted rookie keeps nearly a quarter of a million dollars.
Bamiro is considered a long-term project with tremendous upside, but the size of his contract is a strong indication that the Eagles are willing to be patient with him and give him time to develop.
Because the CBA limits teams to a total of $75,000 in bonus money for their undrafted rookie free agents, and the Eagles -- along with every other team -- have long since spent that money, the Eagles couldn’t lure Bamiro to Philadelphia simply with a signing bonus.
So instead, they guaranteed a large chunk of his base salaries. Bamiro’s signing bonus was actually just $1,170, which means even if he never plays a snap for the Eagles, he’s guaranteed to earn $248,270.
With such a tiny signing bonus, only $390 per year pro-rates, so Bamiro’s cap numbers are only slightly above his annual salaries: $405,390 in 2013, $495,390 in 2014 and $585,390 in 2015.
Bamiro went undrafted because NFL teams did not realize he was technically draft-eligible. That’s why he wasn’t eligible for the supplemental draft.
After spending 2008 at Pitt, where he didn’t play football, Bamiro red-shirted in 2009, then played from 2010 through 2012 at Stony Brook, a Division I school located along the northern coast of Long Island, N.Y.
He applied to the NCAA for another year of eligibility, since he had only played three seasons of football, but the NCAA denied him, since with the occasional exception of injuries, the NCAA requires Division I eligibility to be used up within five years, and even though he didn’t play at Pitt, he was eligible.
The Eagles out-bid several other teams for Bamiro, who was projected to be a fourth- or fifth-round pick had teams known he was eligible for the draft in April.
The size of the guaranteed components in Bamiro’s contract are a little bit less than the guarantee given the final player taken in the fourth round (Levine Toilolo of the Falcons, $300,584) and a little more than the guarantee given the first player taken in the fifth round (Sanders Commings of the Chiefs, $215,512), so he’s being paid about halfway between a low fourth-round pick and a high fifth-round pick.
Bamiro is the second Stony Brook player the Eagles have signed this offseason as an undrafted free agent.
They signed running back Miguel Maysonet on April 29, two days after the draft, and gave him a $10,000 bonus, only to release him on May 20, six days after they signed veteran running back Felix Jones.
Bamiro has been training recently at the Medford, NJ gym owned by former Eagles all-pro offensive tackle Tra Thomas. Once rookie practices start at the NovaCare Complex on Tuesday, he will be wearing Thomas' jersey No. 72.