Status Report: Rookie Contract Talks

With players signing early all around the NFL, things have to be moving along for the Cleveland Browns, right? Right? John Taylor has the exclusive story...

Rookie signings across the National Football League have seemingly been coming in at a daily, almost hourly, clip as we trudge closer and closer to the start of training camp.

Needless to say, fans of the Cleveland Browns are starved for any type of information as it pertains to the progress of talks with their team's stable of rookies.

As it so happens, we have divined a little bit of information on the rate of talks between the agents for the Browns' first four picks in the 2009 and the organization.

And as it also so happens, the 411 we have might finally and completely be the straw that literally breaks mikehey's head and causes it to implode.

Based on conversations with league sources and sources close to all four of the Browns' first-day draft choices -- center Alex Mack, wide receivers Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi, and linebacker David Veikune -- there have been no conversations with any of the picks in regards to a contract.


All of the agents for the players, sources said, were told that talks would commence following the Fourth of July holiday weekend.  As of today, those talks have yet to begin.

"This is not odd, and it doesn't strike me as being odd," said one source when asked if it was, well, odd that no talks have taken place.

"It's not like [the Browns] are the only team out there taking this tack.  Whether it's the CBA or a new regime or a new contract negotiator or whatever, it's not a concern.  There's no animosity or anything like that.  The deals will get done."

Whether or not the deals are done by the time Browns' rookies are scheduled to report is another matter entirely as nearly all of the sources seem resigned to the fact that the picks may not be there as "required".

Sources did not feel it likely that all of the first-day picks would report ahead of the rookie date, while a league source said that Robiskie has been advised by his father -- former Browns assistant and current Atlanta Falcons assistant Terry Robiskie Sr. -- that the rookie reporting date is "meaningless" and that he should ensure he gets the best deal possible as opposed to signing something merely to get himself into camp "on time".

Additionally, let's call a spade a spade and get all of the issues out there on the table...

There's also some concern regarding Dawn Aponte, who's in her first year with the Browns.  Not only does she have a job to do for a new boss with extremely high standards, but she also has to navigate the male-infested waters of NFL rookie contract negotiations.

And yes, right or wrong, that is an issue bubbling just below the surface and is in the conscience of those who will be involved in these talks once they commence.

With all of the above being said, look for all eight of the Browns' 2009 draft picks to be signed, sealed and delivered no later than when the veterans are scheduled to report.

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