Rumor Central: It's Signing Time!

The Browns are part of an increasingly small group of NFL teams who haven't signed any draft picks. Are they close? Are the picks going to be signed by Tuesday? Here's the very latest scoopage* you won't get anywhere but here...<BR><BR>* <I>Technical publishing term meaning stuff that you haven't heard from anyone else yet.</I>

The Browns have made offers to all of their 2003 draft selections, with the hopes of getting them into training camp as soon as they can. There has been a moderate level of discussion throughout the negotiation process. Progress has been made with the players selected by the team in the later rounds of the draft.

Information provided to tells us that the signings of defensive backs Chris Crocker and Michael Lehan, long-snapper Ryan Pointbriand, and defensive lineman Antonio Garay are all but a formality. Representatives for the players indicate to that discussions are moving forward and the priority is to get the players into camp, on-time.

Discussions with representatives for second round draft pick linebacker Chaun Thompson have heated up. According to sources close to Thompson, the rookie linebacker could be under contract and ready to compete for a starting position on Tuesday.

News coming to regarding the status of first round draft selection Jeff Faine is not as encouraging. According to sources close to the team, the Browns are not optimistic that Faine will agree to a contract prior to training camp. The issue is not that Faine or the Browns do not want to get a deal completed. Basically, the limited number of first round draft selections that have agreed to terms, and none of the rookies that have signed surround the position in which Faine (#21) was selected, has made the final dollar value of negotiation process difficult.

As the start of training camp approaches, either rookie signings will set the market of slotting rookie player salaries, or look for the Browns to once again, like they did with running back William Green in 2002, to exceed the market price and effectively disrupt the slotting dollar value process to get their player under contract.

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