Chargers have three to sign

Why is it that every year draft picks wait until the last minute to sign their deals and often miss training camp? The Chargers have two first round picks to contend with – but why the hold up that says a team must wait until the last week before signing?

Is it the urgency of camp starting that dictates the progress of talks?

Not necessarily.

Some of the stalled progress has to do with money and not the compensation being bandied about in negotiations.

Games are in session between August and January and the money drought could be a direct correlation between when season ticket renewals go out and the money actually comes in. If ticket renewal notices are sent out in May and the money is arriving in early July – that would be one constant that cannot be circumvented.

Bonuses are payable immediately. While no franchise is in dire straits concerning revenue, there is fiscal responsibility that plays a role and given that no team even begins talking contract until July with their top picks it carries some weight. Why pay out money when there is no action or even camp going on?

Seventy of the seventy-five picks initially signed have been taken in the second day. And that makes sense given the large allocation given to players taken on day one, specifically in the first round.

Another reason for the delay, no market has been set. The floodgates have yet to crack. No agent wants to step on the brown paper bag on their doorstep and find it is filled with poop.

And don't forget about the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement. Contracts with large signing bonuses are being spread across five years instead of six and that has caused a number crunch at the top of the draft and more creative thinking.

Generally there is one player signing and agents have a barometer to go by to sign the subsequent pick. That has not been established this year.

Luis Castillo, the Chargers second of two first rounders, taken 28th overall, should be in camp sometime this week.

But indications from agent Rick Smith don't necessarily bear that out. He acknowledged that discussions were in the beginning stages.

"We just started talking," said Smith.

At the same time he did concede that deals are consummated quickly and stated that Castillo would make every effort to be in camp on time.

With a a few days to go before training camp begins, expect talks to escalate quickly. While one day it may seem there is nothing to report, that tune changes quickly.

The deal for Vincent Jackson is in the final stages and could be announced as soon as Monday. The wide receiver is expected to be the next player to sign.

Shawne Merriman's situation is a little less clear. A.J. Smith has already come out and stated his position which could further shade talks with the Poston's. If anyone will miss camp, it will be Merriman.

In the end, now that camp is almost upon us, there is truly nothing that would prohibit the Chargers from signing their picks. It is just a shame it always has to take this long.


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