Clock Ticks. Rookie Talks Progress?

With rookie camp starting in three days, will the Browns have a full compliment of, um, rookies? John Taylor brings us the scoop on the likely answer...

Barring an unexpected development in the next 72 hours, the first three picks of the Cleveland Browns in the 2009 draft will not report with their fellow rookies on the 24th.

According to a member of the Browns' front office, no contract offers have been made to either their first-round pick -- Alex Mack -- or their pair of second rounders -- Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi.

One of Mack's agents, Tim Younger, told The OBR over the phone earlier this afternoon that their side is "ready to start talking."  The two sides were scheduled to talk yesterday, but that conversation did not take place.

There have been, according to the team source, "minimal conversations" between the organization -- specifically Dawn Aponte -- and the agents for all three draftees, and certainly no detailed negotiations at this point in time.

The source heavily intimated that both sides are likely viewing the July 31 date as the hard deadline for reporting, as opposed to the "soft" July 24 date for rookies; sources on the player's side have confirmed that fact as well.

Additionally, there's some talk in the agent community that the contracts signed by the draft picks of the New England Patriots are below market. That could play a role in extended and tougher-than-expected negotiations not only for the Browns, but for teams all across the league.

As far as David Veikune is concerned, agent Ken Zuckerman tells The OBR, through an office worker, that discussions with the club "are in a holding pattern right now".

It's believed that Veikune is the only unsigned pick who has received an offer from the club; both Zuckerman and the club source we spoke with would neither confirm nor deny that a deal is on the table for Veikune.

While these developments, or lack thereof, may be alarming to some in the media or fans of the club, all of the parties involved are seemingly unconcerned that the pace of talks have yet to take on a greater sense of urgency.

"They'll get done. They always do," the team source said.


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