Quarterback Doug Williams of Grambling is one of five top draft choices in the National Football League who have not yet signed contracts.
He is not permitted to go to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' training camp until reaching an agreement. Nor can the others attend a camp. They are placekicker Steve Little of Arkansas and defensive back Ken Greene of Washington State (both drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals, offensive tackle Gordon King of Stanford (New York Giants) and guard Bob Cryder of Alabama (New England Patriots).
Although 23 first-round picks have been signed, the remaining five may well be contending that they should be accommodated in a season when a new television package is paying each club more than $5 million, averaged out over four seasons.
The rookies of the Buccaneers, Cardinals and Giants are scheduled to report Saturday, those of the Patriots Monday.
The negotiations could become sensitive at Tampa Bay if Williams holds out, particularly if it appears later to affect his chances of making good; he is the first black drafted on the first round in order to play quarterback in the NFL.
Williams is represented by the agent who handled Joe Namath, Jimmy Walsh of New York City.
Walsh did not respond to a telephone call to his office. Dick Beam, director of administration for the Buccaneers, said, "I believe we are getting closer to terms; we were far apart."
He said negotiations are being conducted by Phil Krueger, who handles research and development and coaches the linebackers for Coach John McKay.
Beam said, "Williams' agent is doing him no favor. Some of our other quarterbacks have been working out on their own for two to three months. Some have been working out here (in Tampa Bay) on a regular basis.
"He has fallen behind."
It was mentioned that Williams has first-round bargaining power and Beam said, "But he was the 17th player picked; 16 other teams did not pick him. Walsh and Williams seem to forget that."
Sources in St. Louis have reported that new Coach Bud Wilkinson is unhappy that Little and Greene aren't signed.
Joe Sillivan, director of operations, said, "We're talking. I don't think we're far apart. I expect to have them in camp. We've made them tremendous offers.
"Whether they sign now should have nothing to do with money."
"If you get agents dreaming, sometimes you can't give them what they want in other areas. We think they are not worth as much as Edward Bennett Williams (Washington attorney and president of the Redskins). They do."
Andy Robestelli, director of operations for the Giants, has been saying they are "close" to signing King.
The Patriots reportedly drafted Cryder as insurance against negotiations breaking down again with veteran offensive lineman John Hannah and Leon Gray, who held out in training camp last season. That was blamed for the Patriots' dissappointing start.