Lions, Johnson closing in on deal?

The Detroit Lions signed the remainder of their picks on Thursday -- with the exception of one, rather notable player: First-round pick Calvin Johnson. Johnson, the No. overall 2 pick in April's draft, officially reached "holdout" status after missing Thursday's opening day of training camp. More inside.

The Detroit Lions signed the remainder of their picks on Thursday -- with the exception of one, rather notable player: First-round pick Calvin Johnson.

Despite inking defensive end Ikaika Alama-Francis and safety Gerald Alexander, the team remained in negotiations with Johnson and his agent, Bus Cook.

Johnson, the No. overall 2 pick in April's draft, was officially labeled a "holdout" after missing Thursday's opening day of training camp.

"No, not yet," commented head coach Rod Marinelli on whether or not the two sides had reached an agreement.

While Johnson is one of several first-rounders that remain unsigned, the Lions have a history of getting rookies in on time, primarily because of the negotiating style of chief executive office and chief negotiator Tom Lewand. Lewand, who works closely on player contracts and negotiations with assistant general manager Martin Mayhew, has a league-wide reputation among agents and peers for getting deals done without sacrificing the farm.

Reports last week said Johnson and Cook were looking for a contract that included $30 million in guaranteed money. The Lions, according to sources, have scoffed at the notion, but are willing to lace a deal with incentives -- meanwhile offering a sizeable chunk of guaranteed cash.

It is believed that the two sides are closing in on a deal, but that it might not be completed until after the weekend.

Marinelli considered it "critical" that each player be in camp on time, but did afford Johnson some slack.

"With Calvin, like I said, the one benefit he has is he was here all of our offseason, did a great job."said Marinelli. "He's a quick study in terms of learning. He learns very well, very bright. I know he's a highly conditioned guy. So if that is a guy that has to be out, he should recover very quickly when he gets back in.

"He did really a fine job in the offseason. We're just working and can't wait to get him back.""


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