Long holdouts not expected for Hawks' top draft picks
There are no signs of a protracted holdout for either left tackle Russell Okung or safety Earl Thomas, the Seahawks' top draft picks.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The week began with just one of the NFL's 32 first-round draft picks signed, the worry that holdouts would be an epidemic among the league's top incoming rookies.
Five days later, more than half of the league's first-rounders have reached agreements. Eight of those agreements occurred Friday.
And while neither of the Seahawks' two first-round picks were included in that total, there are no signs of a protracted holdout for either left tackle Russell Okung or safety Earl Thomas.
In fact, just the opposite. Friday's slew of signings started with left tackle Trent Williams, who plays the same position as Okung and was chosen two picks earlier. Eric Berry, the safety chosen fifth by Kansas City, one spot ahead of Okung, also signed. That gives the Seahawks and Okung's agent a good idea for establishing the ceiling for Okung's deal.
Similarly, the player picked ahead of Thomas in the draft — defensive end Brandon Graham — reached a five-year agreement with the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday.
Those deals will help set the parameters in negotiations between Seattle and its two remaining unsigned rookies.
That's different from the situation last year with linebacker Aaron Curry, Seattle's first-round pick.
First of all, the player picked after Curry — Mark Sanchez — played quarterback, and signed with the Jets early. Quarterbacks tend to command a premium in terms of contract value so that provided the first sticking point. Did Sanchez's deal constitute the floor for what Curry should expect or should it be thrown out as an exception?
The second difficulty was the length of the contract. The Seahawks sought a six-year contract, one year longer than most rookie deals.
The result was Curry missed the first eight days of training camp, which isn't an eternity — though it was the longest holdout by any Seahawk in nine years.
So how close are Thomas and Okung? It's tough to tell.
The discussion of rookie negotiations has a very specific form.
The teams express the hope that something will get done soon, perhaps mention the difficulties from a holdout. The agents talk about the efforts being made to reach a deal, and the players defer to the agents. Everyone hopes something gets done soon, sometimes it just takes a little time. Of the seven first-round picks Seattle had in the previous eight seasons, only two were on the field for the very first practice: Marcus Trufant in 2003 and Lawrence Jackson in 2008.
But given the trickle of first-round signings that has become a flood, don't expect to wait too long before Thomas and Okung are on the field.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or email@example.com
Read his blog at www.seattletimes.com/Seahawks
|Sign of the times|
|A list of the Seahawks' first-round draft picks since 1999 with the number of days missed before a contract was reached:|
|2009||LB Aaron Curry||8|
|2008||DE Lawrence Jackson||0|
|2006||CB Kelly Jennings||2|
|2005||C Chris Spencer||5|
|2004||DT Marcus Tubbs||8|
|2003||CB Marcus Trufant||0|
|2002||TE Jerramy Stevens||4|
|2001||WR Koren Robinson||0|
|2001||G Steve Hutchinson||0|
|2000||RB Shaun Alexander||0|
|2000||T Chris McIntosh||22|
|1999||DE Lamar King||11|
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