Three Days and Counting

With three days to go until rookies report to Seahawks training camp on Thursday, I thought it might be helpful to look at how the signing of the NFL’s 2010 draft class has been proceeding.

Teams usually sign their draft picks in reverse order of when they were chosen, and this year is no exception. Of the 193 players chosen in rounds three through seven, only 16 remain unsigned (6 third rounders, 5 fourth rounders, 1 fifth rounder, 1 sixth rounder, and 3 seventh rounders).  Compare that to the 64 players taken in the first two rounds, of whom only 9 have been signed to contracts (1 first rounder and 8 second rounders).  The Seahawks’ draft signings mirror this trend — the team has signed all of its picks from rounds four and later (they had no third round pick), but still hasn’t signed second round choice Golden Tate or first rounders Russell Okung and Earl Thomas.

First, the good news: there is a high probability that Golden Tate will be signed in time for the start of training camp.  Most draftees in the top two rounds are not signed until the player chosen immediately after them has been signed to a contract; teams use those contract numbers to ensure that they aren’t overpaying players and agents use them to make sure their clients aren’t getting stiffed.  In Tate’s case, the players chosen after him (61st overall pick Vladimir Ducasse) and before him (59th overall pick Montario Hardesty) have already been signed by their teams, which greatly narrows down the possible range for his contract figures.  Granted, there’s always room for plenty of disagreement over the details of his contract, but if I had to guess I would say that we will see Tate on the field this weekend at the latest.

Which brings us to the bad news.  At this point, it is still theoretically possible that Russell Okung and Earl Thomas will be signed prior to the beginning of training camp, but I wouldn’t bet on it.  To date, the only first round pick to be signed is Dez Bryant, who was chosen 24th overall.  If Okung and Thomas had been chosen, say, 23rd and 25th overall, Bryant’s numbers would be helpful in speeding up their contract negotiations.  Unfortunately, they were chosen 6th and 14th, so chances are good that they will both be spending the first few weeks somewhere other than the shores of Lake Washington.

[CORRECTION: Training camp begins for rookies and veterans alike on Saturday, so rookies will not be reporting to VMAC on Thursday.  So yes, I referenced the wrong calendar dates entirely, but in my defense sometimes I am pretty dumb. -Ed.]