If you're a frequent visitor to the wildly popular "2010 NFL Rookie Signing Status" page, you may have already made notice of this entry:
"136. Kansas City Chiefs - Kendrick Lewis, S, Mississippi - Signed (4-years, $1.996M; $206,900 guaranteed)"
According to a league source, Lewis did not receive a signing bonus.
Instead, the fifth-round pick out of Mississippi received a $206,900 roster bonus on July 1, which is fully guaranteed.
Lewis has standard base salaries of $320,000 in 2010, $405,000 in 2011, $490,000 in 2012, and Lewis' $575,000 base salary in 2013 can increase by as much as $845,000, which would push the maximum value of his four-year deal to $2.841 million dollars.
Lewis' roster bonus is inline with signing bonuses of players chosen in that part of the draft, but by using a roster bonus instead of a signing bonus, the Chiefs can't spread the $206,900 over the four years of the deal, which would lessen the impact on the (still existent) rookie pool.
Roster bonuses are also not subject to forfeiture.
With a Top 5 pick to sign, it's an interesting, and slightly puzzling approach.