Bucs In No Rush To Sign Draft Picks

July 12 – Only 17 days stand in the way of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the start of its training camp, and the Bucs have yet to sign any of its eight 2002 draft picks. Should this be cause for concern or are the Buccaneers simply taking their time? Another two weeks might pass before the Bucs sign all of its draft picks, but Tampa Bay should have no problem getting its draft selections under contract before the Bucs' first training camp practice on July 29.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been one of the busiest, if not the busiest team in the NFL this offseason. But the Bucs are apparently taking their time in signing its 2002 draft selections. Tampa Bay has less than three weeks to get wide receiver Marquise Walker, running Travis Stephens, safety Jermaine Phillips, defensive end John Stamper, cornerback Tim Wansley, tight end Tracey Wistrom, WR Aaron Lockett and center Zack Quaccia signed before the team walks onto the field for its first training camp practice on July 29. But with no first-or-second-round draft pick to sign, Tampa Bay general manager Rich McKay, who is regarded as one of the best general managers in the NFL, should have no problem getting all eight of its draft picks under contract by the time the team reports to training camp on July 28.

"Rich (McKay) is the best," the agent for one of Tampa Bay's 2002 draft picks told Pewter Report. "Rich is a really fair guy. He's the type of guy that can get a deal done quickly. Working on these (lower draft picks) types of deals is not hard. It's working on deals for the first round picks and veteran free agents that you learn to appreciate working with a guy like Rich."

While negotiations with first round draft picks generally start in June or July, McKay typically has waited until a week or two before the start of training camp to sign all of its draft picks, which is why it's not unusual for the team to not have any of its draft picks under contract this late in the offseason.

So, when will McKay and Co. ink its draft picks to contracts? The process could start today, tomorrow, next week or the week after. But one thing is almost certain -- the Bucs will report to training camp with its eight draft picks under contract.

"These type of deals can happen in a matter of minutes," the agent for one of Tampa Bay's 2002 draft picks told Pewter Report. "It's really just a matter of getting on the phone and doing it."

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