Once the NFL Draft has concluded and the teams have made all of their requisite picks, the rush to secure the best of the remaining undrafted free-agent prospects from the US collegiate system gets into full swing.
It sees the teams hit the phones to negotiate with and secure agreements with the best remaining players – and while big-money contracts are a non-starter for these lesser-graded players, the teams are able to sweeten the pot for the young prospects by offering signing bonuses to help them choose their team over any others that might also be interested.
But for 23-year-old former North Central College quarterback and national champion Rutter, a signing bonus wasn’t even on the table when he put pen to paper on his first professional contract with the 49ers.
But after committing himself to last year’s NFC champions, the San Francisco team reconnected with Rutter with an unexpected gift – a bonus of $279.
NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero explained how the 49ers had secured all of their free-agent signings, then realized they still had $279 left in their bonus fund, so decided to give Rutter a call and hand the remaining money to him.
Rutter has his work cut out to make it at the 49ers, whose quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league. But after an impressive college career, albeit at a lower level of the collegiate game, Rutter hopes his hard work will see him establish himself as a valuable member of the 49ers roster.
“I’m just so grateful that they looked past the school I went to, the level I played at, and just looked at me as a football player and a person,” Rutter told NBC Chicago.
“I couldn’t be more grateful for them for giving me the opportunity, and I truly feel like I belong.”