If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed or follow us on Facebook. Thanks for visiting!

Matt Stafford

Yes, I know Matt Stafford has signed with the Detroit Lions, nevertheless, he represents the NFL Draft’s first round — at least for this post, he does. The issue at hand is with NFL training camps starting this week, out of the 32 first round draft picks, only four have signed their contract — Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack, and Evander “Ziggy” Hood by the Pittsburgh Steelers. It should be noted Hood was the final pick of the first round.

But that’s it. Only those four players; leaving 28 others who have yet to ink their first NFL contract. If you listen to some of the experts, this situation may not change anytime soon, either. Whether it’s agents jockeying for position for the next crop of unsigned talent or waiting for the player who was drafted before client to move, the fact of the matter is these players are not under contract, even though there’s been an ample amount of time to get things done.

Hell, the ball should’ve started rolling when Sanchez and Stafford signed. So what gives? After reading Mike Florio, it sound like the agents are to blame:

With 2010 possibly being the last year under the current rookie salary structure, which features exorbitant contracts at the top of the draft, there will be significant competition for the crop of college seniors and the underclassmen who choose to make the leap while the safety net is still lined with large bills.

And so the agents who’ll be boxing each other out for next year’s first-year players know that the deals they do for clients in 2009 will be used to lure the 2010 clients to them — and/or used by other agents to lure the 2010 clients away from them.

As one league source put it this morning, “It’s very hard to get deals done early with agents more worried about recruiting than the players.”

However, there’s a big risk playing this game with your current crop of rookies and it might come to a head if these players don’t make some kind of progress:

The agencies with first round picks should be careful not to extend this process too long. It is okay when a few players hold out of camp, but if practically the entire first round of picks is sitting on the sidelines, we will start hearing more cries for a slotting system like the NBA uses on first round picks.

Judging by these sentiments, it looks like the “hurry up and wait” strategy might be starting to backfire. Here’s the list of this year’s first round draft picks and the current status of their contract.