Training Camp Dawns; No Rookies Signed

The first day for rookies to practice will be less crowded than the team or fans want, with no rookies signed as of Tuesday morning. Keep your eyes on BerniesInsiders.com, as we'll be providing any signing updates as they occur.

What if they gave a rookie training camp, but nobody came?

That won't be the issue in Berea, as there are plenty of undrafted free agents and some injured vets who will show up to practice, but as of 9AM on Tuesday, it doesn't appear that they will be joined by any of the team's draft choices.

The Browns are victims both of their aggressiveness in scheduling one of the first camps to open, as well as the increasing paranoia among agents about signing players early in the process. Since agents are mostly measured on bottom-line contract results, the tendency is to wait as long as possible to ensure that their client's salary is in line with their draft position.

Although NFL clubs are undoubtedly anxious to get new talent onto the practice field, they are constrained by the salary cap and will also take great care not to overpay at any position.

I've gotten several emails recently where visitors have suggested that the Browns should just add 5%-10% over what was paid at a draft position last year, and get their players on the field. I think both the financial concerns of player agents and NFL clubs make this a risky approach. Both are waiting to see how the market develops, and aren't likely to be swayed by such a common-sense approach until deadlines approach.

While everyone is watching, no one is signing. With no one signing, everyone keeps watching.

Catch-22. Joseph Heller would appreciate this.

The good news is that it does appear that the logjam is close to breaking. As our Rumor Wranglers reported over the weekend, the Browns are getting closer to agreements with their middle-to-late round picks. In addition, the Patriots have signed their entire draft class, including first-round pick Ty Warren. Gaps have developed in the signing blockade, with five first-round picks inking contracts.

Pressure will mount as the week goes on, both locally from the media as they pay more attention to the issue, and externally as more NFL clubs get closer to the opening day of their training camps. The Browns have selected one of the earliest dates to start camp in the NFL, and are at a bit of a disadvantage as other clubs wait until closer to the opening of their camps to complete deals.

As indicated by conversations with the team and agents over the weekend, it would be unsurprising if the Browns did sign several of their picks prior to camp opening at 3:30PM today. Keep close to BerniesInsiders.com for news as soon as it breaks.

- AB


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