This isn't a great way to begin your first NFL training camp, Devon Witherspoon. Witherspoon is not practicing because he and the Seattle Seahawks have not come to an agreement on his contract. But it seems a bit silly to squabble over how much bonus money he gets paid now rather than later (he's going to get the money either way) because that must be the hold-up at this point.
The NFL has a tiered contract system with rookies. We know what the contracts will be before the player is chosen at a certain selection. In Witherspoon's case, he is going to have a contract that is a four-year deal with a total value of $33.3 million, a signing bonus of $21.2 million. The only reason for a contract not to be worked out months after the draft is that a player's agent wants to work out how much of the bonus money is frontloaded.
There are a couple of factors at play here. One is that this doesn't bode well in five years, assuming that Seattle picks up Witherspoon's non-guaranteed fifth year, when the Seahawks and Witherspoon's people meet to discuss what a second contract might look like. If John Schneider is still the Seahawks general manager in the 2028 offseason, he won't take kindly to an agent playing hardball in negotiations about Witherspoon. Schneider doesn't usually react well to that kind of thing.
Report: Devon Witherspoon not practicing for Seattle Seahawks to start training camp
But for Witherspoon, any missed reps in his first training camp are not good. He still needs to prove he's worthy of earning a starting spot as, while he was great in his final year in college, he hasn't shown he can do anything at the NFL level. He needs to build cohesion with his secondary mates.
The other issue for Witherspoon is 2022 starter Michael Jackson is still on the roster and isn't simply going to hand his starting spot opposite Tariq Woolen to Witherspoon. Jackson was surprisingly quite good for Seattle in 2022 and would be fine as a starter this year.
So while a deal will get done between the Seahawks and Witherspoon eventually - hopefully sooner than later - the only person that his not practicing is doing is helping his main competition for the starting CB spot, Jackson. Maybe someone should make Witherspoon's agent aware of that fact.