Chargers draft pick signing status update

The San Diego Chargers still have to deal with eight unsigned picks. As they accomplish that goal, players will be cut to maintain the training camp roster limit. With eight still unsigned, and camp a week away, we went to the agents to get some answers and it was not pretty.

Nick Hardwick being picked in the third round sure was a stroke of genius! While most were hollering instead of hooting at the selection, the San Diego Chargers may have had an inkling of what was about to happen. Jason Ball is not planning on attending training camp which leaves Hardwick in a battle with David Brandt for the starting job at center.

Even if Jason Ball does make it back in a reasonable time, it no way ensures he would start. It would seem that his signing would be one of the top priorities for the franchise.

"We have had some discussions (concerning Nick), but Ed went to the Caribbean and to New York and just got back this week," agent Craig Domann said. "I know he has some other guys he wants to get in too."

While there is debate over the importance of each, with Ball threatening to sit out camp and more, Hardwick does not have the luxury of being late. You wonder if the Chargers are thinking of offering a little less than normal so they don't further infuriate Jason Ball, an undrafted free agent who made the minimum in each of his first two seasons.

"We are ready and willing," Domann added.

It seems fitting that on the day that Philip Rivers' agent Jimmy Sexton huddles with San Diego officials, the ACC announces its male and female Player of the Year recipients. Rivers won in a landslide. Rivers, the most prolific passing quarterback in ACC history, recorded 38 votes to finish ahead of Wake Forest golfer Bill Haas (17 votes).

For Rivers to have a chance at starting, one would think he needs to make it to camp on time.

That is not necessarily a fact.

"He's such a student of the game, he absorbs the game," NC State offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone told our very own writer, Taylor Brown.

It remains essential for Rivers to come into camp on time. He is still learning the timing with his receivers and needs to get the feel for the game down.

As for second round pick Igor Olshansky and fifth rounder Dave Ball:

"No action," said agent Bruce Tollner. "We met once. We will meet again."

Which of course begged the question, why do they wait so long?

"Cash flow," Tollner shrugged. "They may not want to start handing out signing bonuses right now and there is some pressure with camp coming up."

Although the draft is in April, season tickets sales don't start heating up until July. It is a fact of life. With no revenue coming in for months, the feeling among agents is franchises are restocking their coffers in anticipation of doling out signing bonuses to players. That figure could reach many millions and is due at the start.

While most fans clamor for the signings to begin, there appear to be valid reasons – and some not so valid ones as Nick Hardwick's agent pointed out regarding Ed McGuire timely vacation.

Regardless, the deals are starting to pour in and this week will be a busy one. Eight picks left and only seven days to get them all signed. Truth is rookies are supposed to report early but camp officially begins next Friday, July 30, and when players sit out, not only do they suffer but so do the fans.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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