The Washington Redskins were in the final stages of negotiations with fourth-round draft pick Manuel White last night, league sources said, and are expected to have the fullback signed by today.
The Redskins, who will hold their first training camp practice Monday, will then focus exclusively on signing their two first-round picks -- cornerback Carlos Rogers (ninth overall) and quarterback Jason Campbell (25th overall), both from Auburn.
The market for first-round picks is just taking shape with the first four signings occurring Monday, and the top 10 -- which include the selection of three cornerbacks -- remain particularly unsettled, slowing negotiations. Teams and agents are treading cautiously given uncertainty about the future of the collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players, as the sides negotiate an extension.
Concerns about a potential uncapped season in 2007 are affecting negotiations across the first round, several NFL team executives and agents said. The Redskins are considered a proactive club, and owner Dan Snyder is known as a dealmaker, but the lack of comparable contracts can be a significant obstacle in these cases.
One prominent agent noted that a change in the proration of signing bonuses from six years to five has complicated negotiations, placing a greater emphasis on option bonuses, and the overall climate has not been conducive to reaching agreements. Several NFL team executives said they have detected an unusual air of caution among agents representing players in the first round.
"I think agents are more paranoid than ever about making deals," said an agent who represents clients in the top two rounds.
-- Jason La Canfora