Deals getting close with draft picks

Packers are among seven teams who have not signed any of their 2008 selections

The time is approaching for the Green Bay Packers to start signing their nine draft picks.

That was evident when agent Jack Reale picked up his phone on Monday with the greeting, "Carnac says Russ Ball."

Well, it wasn't the Packers' vice president of football operations and chief negotiator on the line. It was just this reporter, who happens to share the same 920 area code as the Packers.

"I've got nothing to report," said Reale, who represents guard Josh Sitton, the second of the Packers' two fourth-round draft choices. "I'm waiting for Russ Ball to call. I don't think we're far away from getting something done."

That seems to be the refrain from the agents contacted for this story. The Packers haven't signed any of their draft picks, but none of the agents were concerned. Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Indianapolis, Minnesota haven't signed any picks, either.

On the other end of the spectrum, Chicago has signed 11 of its 12 picks and Philadelphia eight of its 10 selections.

Vann McElroy is the agent for receiver Jordy Nelson, a second-round selection and the Packers' top pick. He characterized his talks with the Packers as "nothing major" but wasn't concerned, since players don't report for training camp until July 27.

"There haven't been many deals done in the first or second rounds, anyway," McElroy said.

He's right. According to the latest data, only three first-rounders and two second-rounders have signed contracts.

Bill Johnson represents fourth-round pick Jeremy Thompson, a defensive end, and seventh-round pick Matt Flynn, a quarterback. He sensed deals were close for his clients.

"I've spoken with Russ a couple of times and actually exchanged some numbers," Johnson said on Friday, as news was breaking of Brett Favre's request to be granted his release. "I spoke with him a short while back and a couple days ago. I admire him and respect him, and don't think there will be any difficulties. It's not something that should be held up too much longer."

Bill Huber writes for Packer Report. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com


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