On Tuesday, the Dallas Cowboys agreed to terms with their first-round draft choice, center Travis Frederick, on a five-year contract. The deal for Frederick is for four years with an option for a fifth at $6.87 million. He will also receive a $3.37 million signing bonus in the first three years of the deal, which is all guaranteed.
Frederick is the last of the Cowboys’ 2013 draft picks to sign, so that part is cleared up on the team’s front, but the contract doesn’t help matters when talking about the pressure that is now on the the Cowboys’ first round draft choice.
Frederick was graded by most teams as a third-round pick, but the Cowboys traded down to no. 31 to take him. Certainly, if he had been picked in the second or third rounds, his contract wouldn’t be as loaded. But it is, and there is now a lot of expectations for the team’s newest center.
There was enough discussion and in some cases questioning as to why he was taken so high, so already he was labelled as a guy that needed to prove himself to warrant his high selection. Those talks will only intensify, especially given the fact that the Cowboys are one of the league’s most talked-about franchises year in and year out.
He will be expected to anchor the offensive line for the foreseeable future and provide stability at a position that has lacked that since Pro Bowler Andre Gurode‘s departure after the 2010 season.
Of course, Frederick won’t be expected to be one of the NFL‘s best centers right away. But when you spend a first round pick on a guy that had second and third-round grades and pay him first-round money, there is a certain expectation that comes with that.
To put the deal in perspective, Seattle Seahawks center Max Unger was signed to a contract extension last summer after his rookie deal of four years at $3.2 million was close to being up. Unger is now a Pro Bowler, and Frederick will make quite a bit more with his rookie contract than what Unger did.
Frederick will compete with Phil Costa in training camp for the starting center spot, so there is a slim chance that he could end up being a $6.87 million backup. Assuming that he wins the job, the pressure is definitely on him going into his rookie season.