The League

Brandon Benson
Packers Blogger

Brandon Benson

Brandon Benson is the lead blogger at Acme Packing Company.

Dominio effect

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It was recently reported that the Dallas Cowboys have signed wide receiver Dez Bryant, which brings the grand total of signed first-round choices to one. It always seems like they push their signing right up to the start of training camp, which is still a week away for most teams, so none of this seems unusual to me.

This year, it really depends on Rams quarterback Sam Bradford. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, taken two picks after Bradford, has said that he's waiting for Bradford to sign first. The money paid to Bradford as a rookie will seem crazy, but it shouldn't be much more than what was guaranteed to last year's number one overall pick, Lions QB Matthew Stafford. And Bradford is represented by someone who should know what he's doing: veteran agent Tom Condon.

The biggest stumbling block may be the complexity of NFL contracts. This was the year of the 30 percent rule which limited teams who were trying sign their young players to contract extensions. The Eagles could only give their new starting QB Kevin Kolb a one-year extension. Chris Johnson led the NFL in rushing last season, but the Titans could only give him a raise of $1.25 million. The Jets managed to reward their young LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson with a six-year extension, but it introduced me to the concept of contract guarantees based on skill vs. injury. It's frustrating for players like Giants WR Steve Smith, who's unlikely to get a contract extension because of this rule, but the players seem to understand the situation and do not appear to be ready to hold out from their respective teams.

All this leads back to this year's draft choices. Player agents are taking a close look at these recent extensions and trying to find ways to get their clients the most money now in case of a 2011 lockout. At the same time, they have to keep another eye on avoiding the 30 percent rule trap in the future (assuming the rule is still around in the future NFL collective bargaining agreement).

The word collusion has been thrown around lately. The players did seem willing to stick up for themselves by electing DeMaurice Smith, a former prosecutor, as their executive director over former player Troy Vincent, who appears to have been a little too cozy with the league since he was just hired by the NFL as a vice president for player development. Still it's hard to see how these recent public disagreements between the league and the players is having an effect on signing first round draft choices.

In the end, I expect we'll see the rookies show up for camp right before the start of it, or within a week or two thereafter. Basically the same situation as usual, except it might take the lawyers an extra day or two to figure out what exactly is in all of these contracts.

By Brandon Benson  |  July 23, 2010; 9:07 AM ET  | Category:  Collective Bargaining Agreement , Draft , NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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