Riders first round pick, OL Dakoda Shepley received substantial signing bonus from the Jets

Canadian offensive lineman Dakoda Shepley received significant free agent signing bonus money and it means he’ll likely be in the NFL for at least a year.

NFL teams are allotted a total of just $80,000 to dole out as signing bonus money for players who aren’t selected in the NFL draft. Shepley signed a standard three-year rookie contract which included $10,000 upon inking his deal with the New York Jets.

For comparison, that’s double what University of Manitoba offensive lineman Geoff Gray received from the Green Bay Packers a year ago and he spent the entire 2017 season in the NFL between the Jets and Browns after Cleveland signed him off New York’s practice roster. That amount of cash all but ensures Shepley will be on the Jets roster in some way, active or practice, in 2018 and from there it’s nearly impossible to predict.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders chose Shepley in the first round, fifth overall, fully knowing New York signed the big athlete to a priority undrafted free agent contract with the five-figure cash payment up front. Shepley said he was certainly surprised to hear the Riders call his name.

Shepley played his university football at the University of British Columbia. He worked out at Eastern Michigan University’s pro day because it’s within 50 miles of where he graduated from Holy Names High School in Windsor, ON. More than 20 NFL teams saw him there and that helped earn him the NFL contract.

The UBC product was a 2017 Canada West all-star at right tackle and won a Vanier Cup with the Thunderbirds in 2015. Shepley’s lucky break to begin his football career was a bone.