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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Nothing doing among first-rounders; Will Buccaneers' Josh Freeman's deal get done?



Taking a quick look around the league, it appears there are just three first-round picks signed even as training camps everywhere are preparing to get underway later this week. And keep in mind, two of those -- Matt Stafford of the Lions and Mark Sanchez of the Jets -- have been under contract for a couple months or more.

In Tampa Bay, we're watching the status of draft picks in other places because each signing helps set the market for the players selected before and after. That applies to Buccaneers rookie Josh Freeman, too, who was preceded by 16th pick Larry English of the Chargers and followed by 18th pick Robert Ayers of the Broncos. The Chargers' rookies reported on Sunday, but the full-team reports on Friday. The Broncos report on Thursday.

As we've told you in the past, Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco's contract last year provided a nice blueprint for a mid-first round quarterback. That takes some of the guesswork out of this contract negotiation. But any agent worth a darn wants to know whether the market is settling higher this season, in which case he'll likely push for a little more for his client.

Don't expect any kind of prolonged holdout under any scenario. Freeman has a chance to play and it will behoove him to be under center on Day 1. But the likelihood that Freeman reports on time on Friday will be at least a bit reduced if some deals don't start getting done in the next couple of days.

Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:35pm]


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