ALLEN PARK -- With 10 days and counting before the rookies need to report to training camp, the Detroit Lions find themselves among 19 other NFL teams that have yet to reach an agreement with any of their rookie draftees.
Expect that to change by the end of the week.
While the Lions, led by vice president and COO Tom Lewand, have held discussions with each representative of the seven rookies plucked from April's draft, the team is nearing deals with a handful of its later round selections. And agreements with a few of the earlier picks seem to be just around the corner.
Roar Report has learned that fifth round pick Jonathan Scott, the stalwart offensive tackle from Texas, is close to an agreement with the team. Scott's agent, Jordan Woy, told Roar Report that a deal could be reached "by the end of this week."
Because the market has already been established, it should be easy for Woy and the Lions to find common ground. The two players selected above and below Scott's 141st overall plot, San Francisco's Parys Haralson and Arizona's Brandon Johnson, have both been signed already, simplifying (and truncating) the negotiating process.
Haralson's deal spanned four-years and will pay him $1.786 million with a $176,000 signing bonus. Johnson, meanwhile, signed on for three-years at just over a million. Scott's deal will be similar to the latter.
Late round picks Alton "Dee" McCann, a physical cornerback out of West Virginia picked in the sixth round, and former Southern Cal guard Fred Matua, a seventh rounder, could also sign by the end of the week. McCann's agent, Andy Simms, said he has exchanged proposals with the Lions, and that he was confident a deal would be completed before the start of camp.
Like Scott, both McCann and Matua are also in a slot where the market has
been set. Anthony Cannon, Detroit's second (and final) pick in the seventh round
should agree to terms by the weekend.
Because of the complexity of contracts and likeliness of playing time, Detroit's earlier selections -- linebacker Ernie Sims (ninth overall), safety Daniel Bullocks (40th) and running back Brian Calhoun (74th) -- might be more difficult to land.
Lions might struggle to get Sims in before training camp begins.
Detroit would like to get Sims, a projected starter, in camp the moment the first whistle blows. But the former Florida State standout and his representative, Todd France, will likely wait until the first round becomes saturated with deals and a market price becomes apparent. At this point, only one first rounder (Houston's Mario Williams) has signed. If the process continues to move at a snail's pace, Sims might be a 13th hour signing -- if he makes it in time at all.
Bullocks, meanwhile, has a more hopeful case. On Monday, Winston Justice, the
player selected one pick before Bullocks, landed a four-year contract with
Philadelphia, joining the ninth (Taitusi Lutui/Arizona) and 10th (Danieal Manning/Chicago) players with contracts. Bullocks was the eighth player off the board in round
Chicago's deal with Manning, also a safety, might set a precedent for Bullocks and his agents, Hollywood-based Steve Feldman and Josh Luchs. Manning secured a four-year, $3.4 million that included a $1.7 million signing bonus. Because of the Justice signing, Bullocks could also be signed, sealed and delivered by Friday, but the two sides might continue to negotiate through the weekend.
Feldman and Luchs also represent Matua.
Although Calhoun was an earlier round pick, a handful of his third round peers have already signed. Calhoun was the 10th player selected in the third, but Arizona's Leonard Pope (No. 8), Chicago's Dusty Dvoracek (No.9) have already signed. Carolina's James Anderson (No. 24) and Rashad Butler (No. 25) also have contracts.
The Bears gave Dvoracek, a defensive tackle, a four-year, $2.86 million contract along with a signing bonus of $1.25 million. Calhoun's deal will be in that vicinity, but because of his advanced role in Detroit's offense, it will likely have escalators. It should be completed by early-to-mid next week.