|Thanks to the new rookie wage scale, high-round picks have no incentive to hold out. (US PRESSWIRE)|
While the new collective bargaining agreement is far from perfect (look no further than players complaining that they're unhappy that commissioner Roger Goodell can both levy punishments and rule on appeals), it has expedited the process of teams signing their first-round draft picks thanks to a new rookie wage scale that provides no incentive for players to hold out.
On Monday, the Seahawks wrapped up Bruce Irvin, and a day later, the Chargers came to terms with the 18th-overall selection, linebacker Melvin Ingram, according to the team's Twitter feed.
Like all contracts for first-round picks, Ingram signed for four years (with a fifth-year option), though terms weren't immediately available. San Diego also inked second-rounder, defensive lineman Kendall Reyes, and center David Molk, a seventh-round selection.
San Diego's defense was among the worst in the league last season, ranking 29th in Football Outsiders' metrics. The team addressed those needs with Ingram and Reyes, who are expected to see plenty of playing time in 2012.
General manager A.J. Smith admitted after the draft that the Chargers were fortunate to land Ingram so late in the first round.
"I consider this a part of luck," he told the San Diego Union-Tribune at the time, "because when I see what I consider a bonus pick, outside our cluster, it's luck. He's a mean, nasty man, extremely physical with a great motor."
In his annual draft grades roundup last month, CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco gave the Chargers a B+ noting: "A.J. Smith did a nice job. He stayed put and landed Ingram and then got two other potential starters in the second and third rounds for the defense." San Diego took safety Brandon Taylor in Round 3.
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