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Signing on dotted line not as easy as 1-2-3

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; By Skip Wood, USA TODAY With the jersey-holding preening complete and the happy talk out of the way, one particular bit of business remains unfinished for every first-round NFL draft pick besides top choice Mario Williams. Getting a deal done. ...

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Old 05-05-2006, 11:51 AM   #1
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Signing on dotted line not as easy as 1-2-3

By Skip Wood, USA TODAY
With the jersey-holding preening complete and the happy talk out of the way, one particular bit of business remains unfinished for every first-round NFL draft pick besides top choice Mario Williams.
Getting a deal done.

Last season, for example, just seven first-round choices had signed with their teams by the end of July, when most teams already had begun training camp.

Thus does Mickey Loomis, the New Orleans Saints' general manager, recognize the obvious. With the second pick his team grabbed Southern California running back Reggie Bush.

"Negotiations at the top of the draft every year are difficult ...," he said. "There's nothing that makes them easy. I hope we have a quick resolution, but based on past history, those negotiations are tough even when the first pick is signed. The first pick being signed set a bar that we can work off of."

Houston came to terms with Williams the day before the draft, with the Texans agreeing to a six-year, $54 million contract, of which $26.5 million is guaranteed to the defensive end from North Carolina State.

Slotting system aside, the question becomes whether Bush and his agent, Joel Segal, will accept at least a similar deal. When reached at his office, Segal declined to comment.

The effects of the new collective bargaining agreement will be minimal, although players taken after the first round can sign for no more than four years. Had there been no extension, however, teams would have had less to spend because the salary cap would have been $94.5 million rather than the current $102 million.

Last season's final holdout, Chicago Bears running back Cedric Benson, missed 36 days and all five preseason games before signing just before the regular season. Benson wound up as little more than a bit player behind incumbent Thomas Jones.

Similarly, quarterback Philip Rivers was expected to challenge Drew Brees two years ago but the then-rookie missed 25 days and Brees was able to put a hammer-lock on the job.

On the other hand, Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson was a rookie holdout for 32 days in 2001 before finishing with 1,236 yards.

Bush insists he wants no part of a holdout.

"I think it's important," he said, "to get into camp on time and just get off on a good foot with the organization, and the community, really, just to show them that, look, I'm here to play football."



http://www.usatoday.com/sports/footb...tiations_x.htm

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