Charles Harris’ first NFL practice is next week, and he plans to participate in it — even if his contract isn’t signed.
Harris, the Dolphins’ first-round pick, will at some point sign a four-year contract worth in the neighborhood of $11 million, with a $6 million signing bonus.
That’s basically a lock because of the NFL’s rookie wage scale.
Still, some high draft picks haggle with their teams over other terms, such as offset language, that keep them unsigned. Joey Bosa missed the entire 2016 preseason over such a dispute.
Injuries in the spring are rare, but they can happen. Browns fourth-rounder Howard Wilson fractured his kneecap and could miss the season.
Some have even argued that unsigned rookies shouldn’t practice in the spring — even though they can sign letters of protection that basically assure them the full value of their rookie contract, even if they get hurt before putting pen to paper.
But Harris, speaking before an on-field event with athletes from the Special Olympics Tuesday, isn’t one of them.
“I don't care at all. Contract, no contract, I'm still going hard,” Harris said. “It's one thing the coaches will tell you. It's not going to make any difference how I play. I'm still going 100 percent. I'm still first one in last one out.”
While Harris, the defensive end out of Missouri, has been with the team for just a few weeks, he’s already bent the ear of veterans Cameron Wake and Andre Branch.
“It's been great,” Harris. “They tell jokes every day. ... They've talked to me about technique. Preaching technique. Getting the basics down and fundamentals of the defense. Also understanding the why. It's one thing to do something it's another thing to understand why you're doing it. So getting the why behind everything and getting a feel for the whole system.”
The Dolphins announced the signing of fifth-round pick Davon Godchaux, a defensive tackle out of LSU.