COLUMBIA - Jadeveon Clowney's massive payday has finally come.
The former South Carolina defensive end signed a four-year contract Friday worth a guaranteed $22,272,000 that includes a $14,518,000 signing bonus, according to the Houston Chronicle. Clowney was the first overall pick in the NFL Draft on May 8 and has been in Houston going through rookie training.
Clowney's rookie contract guarantees more money than the rookie salaries of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck ($22,107,998) and Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton ($22,025,498). Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins - the fourth pick in last month's draft - signed a four-year contract worth a guaranteed $19,935,603.
Clowney is making a transition from defensive end to outside linebacker in Houston's 3-4 defensive scheme. He's already impressed his new position coach, former New England Patriots linebacker and three-time Super Bowl champion Mike Vrabel.
"I think his attitude, much like all of our guys, their attitude has been great," Vrabel told ESPN.com last week. "They've come in, they've tried to be vocal in the meeting rooms, not always right, but at least they have the confidence to try to make the calls, make the adjustments and make the corrections while we're in there. He's somebody that we're excited about because he has the natural ability, but he also has the attitude to want to learn. He doesn't think he has it all figured out."
Clowney signed his contract two days short of a month after being drafted. Left tackle Eric Fisher, last year's No. 1 overall pick, signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in the final week of July.