- Coley Harvey, ESPN Staff Writer
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CINCINNATI -- When Darqueze Dennard signed his rookie contract with the Cincinnati Bengals last Thursday, he ended up inking a deal that will pay him about $6.5 million guaranteed, and that assures he will be a key piece to the franchise for the next four years.
His contract, obtained through ESPN Stats & Information, also stipulates the Bengals will take a series of cap hits the next three seasons if they try to get rid of their first-round draft pick cornerback. It's because of those details that make the contract favorable both for Dennard and the organization, which has faith he will be part of the defensive back rotation for the foreseeable future.
All told, Dennard's deal will pay him the nearly $8 million he was slotted for as the No. 24 overall pick in last month's draft. Per the latest collective bargaining agreement, rookies signed to contracts since 2011 receive cap values based upon where they get drafted. The higher the pick, the more money the player receives.
Dennard was the last of the Bengals' eight draft picks to sign, meaning Cincinnati is now done with setting that portion of its roster ahead of training camp next month. In total, the Bengals will pay about $5 million to their draft picks for the 2014 season.
As part of the nearly $6.5 million guaranteed he'll be paid across the next four years, Dennard will take home a signing bonus of just over $4.1 million. The signing bonus will come from an annual proration of $1,030,709. The remainder of his guaranteed money will come from his base salary in the first three seasons.
While his Year 4 base salary isn't guaranteed, he is eligible for a roster bonus of $420,000 that season. It's also the only year on the deal that the Bengals will actually have a cap savings if he's released.