Packers wait to sign rookies

With training camp almost a month away, agents and the team in some cases have not started contract negotiations yet. Some agents say talks will heat up after the Fourth.

Contract talks with the Green Bay Packers' 2008 draft class are progressing slowly. In some cases, they haven't even started.

That's the case for the Packers' top pick, receiver Jordy Nelson.

"We've got a whole month before camp," agent Vann McElroy said, saying it's not unusual for talks to have not begun at this stage. "We know (vice present of football operations) Russ (Ball) well. I imagine we'll get going on it very shortly. We've got a long time."

Jason Chayut, the agent for fifth-round pick Breno Giacomini, said, "We agreed to talk after the Fourth," on a deal for the offensive tackle.

Bruce Tollner, the agent for seventh-round pick Brett Swain, also said talks wouldn't start until after the Fourth.

Bill Johnson, the agent for fourth-round pick Jeremy Thompson, said he and the Packers have had "constant dialogue" regarding the defensive end, but wouldn't say whether any of those talks have been substantive.

"Everything is progressing at an appropriate pace," said Johnson, who also is the agent for seventh-round quarterback Matt Flynn.

Agents for the other draft choices have not responded to interview requests. If they do, this story will be updated.

The Packers' approach to signing their nine rookies is hardly unusual. Including Green Bay, 14 of the 32 teams have not signed any of their rookies.

Unofficially through the end of June, 61 of the 252 rookies have signed. That's 24 percent. Five teams account for the majority of the signings, with Philadelphia inking eight of 10, Atlanta eight of 11, Chicago seven of 12, Miami six of nine and the New York Giants four of seven.

The other NFC North teams have followed Green Bay's approach, with neither Detroit and Minnesota signing any of their draft picks. The Lions had nine selections in April's draft while the Vikings had five.

League-wide, three of the 31 first-round picks have signed: No. 1 Jake Long to Miami, No. 3 Matt Ryan to Atlanta and No. 4 Darren McFadden to Oakland.


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