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Southward lone unsigned Falcons rookie

5/26/2014

As the Atlanta Falcons begin organized team activities this week, one of nine drafted players remains without a contract.

Third-round pick Dez Southward, the safety out of Wisconsin, has not signed a deal or agreed to terms. The unfinished business easily could be completed at some point this week.

What's the hold up? Well, there's no real rush, considering the Falcons simply want to have all their rookies signed by the start of training camp. But Southward's contract won't be as simple as first-round pick's Jake Matthews fully guaranteed deal worth $16,434,500.

Southward will get a four-year deal, too. Based on last year's slot, he should receive close to $700,000 guaranteed to go with base salaries of $420,000 in 2014, $510,000 in 2015, $600,000 in 2016, and $690,000 in 2017. His agent might be trying to angle for a little extra money somewhere.

One of the initial third-round picks to sign from this year's class was linebacker Preston Brown with the Buffalo Bills. Brown, selected five slots after Southward, received a $648,000 signing bonus in a four-year deal and has workout bonuses totaling $95,000 from 2015-17. Brown's cap number is $582,000 for 2014.

Again, getting Southward under contract should not be much of an issue. As for on the field, the Falcons hope he picks up the defense quickly and pushes veteran newcomer Dwight Lowery for the starting free safety spot next to strong safety William Moore.